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January Blues: How to Sail Through the Most Depressing Month of the Year

Thanks to post-Christmas blues, struggling bank accounts and the switch from holiday to work mode, the first few months of the year can be a bit of an anti-climax for most Brits!

Around 44% of adults admit to suffering from the January Blues, while three in 10 say they dread going back to work because of to-do lists and the gap until their next holiday. As one of the coldest months of winter, the weather puts a serious dampener on things too. A mere 5% of Brits admit to being happy during this time of the year. 31 January is also said to be the day people are most likely to quit their jobs and hand in their notice!

Girl reflecting by a lake

Monday: Britain's Most Anxious Day of the Week

The third Monday in January is known as 'Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year'. For many British workers, Mondays are a source of dread. Two out of three people admit they experience 'Sunday night fear' that kicks in as early as 1:20 pm on a Sunday, effectively cutting their last day of the weekend in half as work worries creep in.

At 47%, almost half of people admit their mood is negatively impacted around Blue Monday. Unsurprisingly, Blue Monday is closely followed by "National Sickie Day", the first Monday in February when tired and stressed people are most likely to take a sick day off work.

Woman in bed turning alarm clock off

How Can Brits Beat the Blues?

Fortunately, as a nation we're resilient, and with a bit of self-care and a few small changes, it's easy to sail through the first two months of the year, Monday's included!

1.     Get a Sleep Routine Sorted in January: Only 13% of us maintain a normal bedtime schedule while on holiday, which can really disrupt our sleep patterns. As a result, it takes the average person three days to get back to their normal sleep routine once holidays are over, according to a study by Healthspan. To help combat this, it's key to stick to a strict routine in January to kick a regular sleep rhythm into gear for the upcoming months. Apps like Pzizz or Sleep Cycle can help along the way. 

2.     Fight the Urge to Stay Indoors: The average Briton spends just 52 minutes a day outside in winter due to the cold, wet weather. According to research by Selkie Swim, this time is mostly spent walking to and from a car, train or bus to get to work! Across the UK, 1 in 5 people also has low Vitamin D levels. Health benefits aside, there are loads of great things to do outdoors in winter. It's one of the best times of the year for stargazing and astrophotography due to the longer nights and clear skies. Running in winter can help keep you fit. Even better, running at night can improve your sleep. Spending time outdoors in darker weather enables you to appreciate a whole new group of nocturnal animals like bats and hedgehogs! 

Family walking through the forest at Thorpe Forest, Forest Holidays

3.     Plan Strategic Holidays at the Beginning of the Year

More than half of us are guilty of not using enough annual leave. According to research, 52% of people have leave leftover at the end of the year – and this needs to change in 2020! By booking leave in advance and taking full advantage of weekend breaks and half-term breaks to relax and recharge your batteries, you can sail through January while already looking forward to your next holiday. With two bank holidays in April, if you book five days off work, you can enjoy an 11-day holiday.  

Family enjoying a walk at Forest of Dean, Forest, Holidays

4.     Focus on Wellness

Some of the top trends for 2020 include:

  • Ecotherapy:
  • Ecotherapy is the hottest buzzword in the world of wellness right now. Medical professionals have started to recognise the health-boosting properties of time in nature, and have even started to prescribe gardening as a remedy for anxiety and depression.

    Ecotherapy can refer to any outdoor activity in nature which helps to boost your health or wellbeing. From gardening and walking to hiking and horse-riding, there are many ecotherapy activities you can get into in the New Year. Make it a resolution to start getting outside more often, and unplug from all your devices when you do so.

  • Forest Bathing:
  • This Japanese mindfulness trend, known as shinrin-yoku, involves getting away to the forest and "bathing" in the natural atmosphere, letting it soothe and calm your senses. Find a secluded spot and allow yourself to see, hear, smell and touch the forest environment. You'll soon feel more at peace and connected to nature. You can try Forest Bathing for free at our Forest of Dean and Blackwood Forest locations. 

  • Blue Mindfulness
  • From the green of the forests to the blue of the water, here's another wellness trend that's set to gain traction in the coming year. Water-based activities like swimming, sailing and surfing have a big positive impact on physical and mental health – they have a soothing and refreshing effect.

    Blue mindfulness is also focused on appreciating our planet's precious water, and caring for our oceans and streams. Make it your mission to spend more time in the water this year, and get involved in some eco-initiatives to help improve the Earth's wellness.

Couple Forest Bathing in Blackwood Forest, Hampshire

Plan something to look forward to with weekend breaks or a romantic break in the forest.

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