Try these easy everyday activities to tackle any symptoms of the January blues — all lockdown-friendly and easy to do.
It is always important to look after your mental health but with restrictions still in place, it is more important than ever. And remember to check in on loved ones, too – you never know who may be feeling a little run down with the January blues.
We paired up with Forest Healthcare to give you some tips on how to stay occupied and keep your mind active as national lockdowns continue.
Spoken language snaps neurons in our brain to attention, transmitting information in the cerebrum — the large outer part of the brain — which controls thinking, learning, speech and emotions.
Processing written language adds a layer of focus to this process. Respite is at the heart of this activity. You have time to think; to pause and comprehend, letting your imagination distract you from any slightly negative feelings you may have in reality.
What you eat now will affect your brain later — this includes your ability to problem solve, compartmentalise and retain information.
Omega-3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells. Oily fish is a great source of omega-3 — think salmon tuna, sardines, mackerel and herring.
Antioxidants reduce cellular stress; this is linked to brain aging. Dark chocolate contains cacao, which contains antioxidant flavonoids. Other brain foods include berries, nuts, peanuts and eggs.
Sleep is an important part of your daily routine. Lack of sleep can cause clumsiness and focus — something that most of us have experienced.
Sleep allows the neurons that you’ve been using daily to rest and repair themselves before the next day. Your brain and body stay active whilst your sleep, so it’s important to get the right amount.
Resident sleep expert at Naturalmat, Christabel Majendie, shares how your brain can be affected by lack of sleep.
“During sleep, waste products are removed from the brain by a system called the glymphatic system which is ten times more active than during wakefulness. To allow this to happen, brain cells shrink during sleep to increase the space between them so toxins can be flushed away more easily. This system removes a toxic protein called amyloid-beta.”
Monitor your alcohol intake
We all know that a few drinks per week are harmless, but it can be easy to exceed this during lockdown.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can affect how your brain processes information. Your body’s response to alcohol depends on a variety of factors including age, gender, health and how often your drink.
Excessive amounts will have negative effects on our sleep, meaning brain cells don’t have time to rest and regenerate, which we now know has a huge impact on our daily function. Always keep an eye on your consumption to avoid January blues.
In our digital age, writing has become a lost art. But it benefits both the brain and the body in many ways.
In comparison to typing, writing on paper feels tangible and soothing. A common symptom of depression is closing oneself off from the world and avoiding interaction with others.
When you don’t feel like talking to anyone, writing loudens voice and releases your thoughts — it’s cathartic.
Journaling daily and writing down your affirmations can help tackle January blues by purging any fear and reminding you of your achievements, big or small.
An interesting spin on this is to write with your non-dominant hand. According to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, this can help strengthen your mind as it provides a challenge. Accomplishment and gratification are great mood-boosters.