CPFT expert’s top 10 tips to beat the January blues

Psychotherapist Ushma Patel and colleagues from CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service can help

CPFT expert’s top 10 tips to beat the January blues
05 January 2017

A brisk walk in the fresh air, having fun with friends or taking up a new hobby are some of the many ways to lift your mood and beat the ‘January blues’.

Ushma Patel (pictured), psychotherapist and team lead with the Psychological Wellbeing Service which is run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) says there are some simple and quick ways to blow away the winter blues.

The first few weeks after the Christmas period can be particularly difficult with the end of the festivities, cold and dark days ahead and a depleted bank balance.

For about one in 15 people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the condition can impact on their energy, sleep patterns, appetite and mental health.

CPFT’s Psychological Wellbeing Service is available to anyone who is suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. Anyone registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can self-refer to the service by visiting www.cpft.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 300 0055.

Ushma’s top 10 tips are:

  1. Keep moving – exercise is important for your body and your mind, spending time in the crisp fresh air with some vitamin D from the sun is what your body needs during these colder months. Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression - a light box gives out 10 times stronger light than ordinary home and office lighting
  2. Get enough sleep – stick to a good sleep routine to ensure that you are rested as well as energised. Those dark mornings can be difficult to break through but it’s important that you stay motivated
  3. Keep warm - it's been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half so curl up with a good book, get a cosy jumper on and enjoy a warm drink and perhaps create your own little house of ‘hygge’ – the Danish way of enjoying the moment and making the ordinary special or beautiful
  4. Balance food and drink – try to keep hydrated especially if you have had a tipple or two over the festive period. Eating a healthy diet at regular intervals is important in managing your energy and mood
  5. Think positive and let go of your worries - it’s the start of a new year so try to think of positive, achievable goals; how would you like 2017 to be different and better
  6. Have fun – go to that party or social event, even if you don’t feel like it. People often feel more lonely at this time of year so it’s important to be around those that appreciate you and want to be with you
  7. Plan something everyday – try to do something small everyday, an activity you enjoy - do something makes you smile
  8. Talk it through – talking therapies such as those offered by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) can help you cope with symptoms of SAD
  9. Take up a new hobby or rekindle your interest in an old one - keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of the winter blues. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on
  10. If you think you might have SAD and you're struggling to cope, consider seeing your GP. They can carry out an assessment to check your mental health.

Ushma said: “It’s quite common to feel down during the winter months and especially after the Christmas period. Symptoms such as low mood, oversleeping, increased appetite and loss of motivation during winter time may mean you are suffering from the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is something we can help with alongside the range of support we can offer for those suffering from stress, anxiety and depression.”

Treatments available via the Psychological Wellbeing Service include personal therapy, guided self-help, and group sessions. Phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.

Ends

For more information please contact:

Adrian Ient
Communications Manager
E adrian.ient@cpft.nhs.uk
T 01223 219470

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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