Health: Reasons to be cheerful in the early year slump

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How a simple change in attitude could make this your best year ever.

You spent most of December eating your body weight in chocolate and rang in the New Year with a vat of booze... but now the fun’s over.

It’s the middle of January, and for many, that means a big fat anti-climax, and possibly a large credit card bill, bulging waistline and ongoing hangover too. Here are 10 top tips for getting through the inevitable early year slump...

Appreciate the norm

So you haven’t won the lottery and another year of work is beckoning, so what?

Take a moment to note down all the things you appreciate but take for granted.

You can physically get out of bed. You have people who love you. It’s not really so bad is it?

Fake it ‘til you make it

Even if you feel down in the dumps, try walking tall and slapping on a smile an A-lister would be proud of. Chances are you’re going to feel better straight away as your brain will think you’re happy, release feel-good chemicals, and voila, you do actually feel happier.

Change your aim

“Stop setting your sights on ‘getting through the week’ or ‘surviving until my next holiday’. Raise your game,” advises Andy Cope, co-author of Be Brilliant Everyday and founder of the website www.artofbrilliance.co.uk.

“Set your aim to ‘enjoy the week’ or ‘to inspire people’. And when setbacks occur, ask yourself, ‘Where is this issue on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is death)?’

“If it’s death, you are allowed to feel down. Anything else, get over it.”

Practice the 4-minute rule

That is, be your best self for the first four minutes of arriving at work, being in a meeting, getting home, etc.

You’ll feel amazing and your brilliance will be infectious both to those around you, and to yourself.

Stop unhelpful internal chatter

“Remember it’s ‘How’ not ‘What’ you think that most effects your mood,” says Lisa Turner, an expert in human transformation and evolution and founder of www.psycademy.co.uk.

Pretend the sun’s shining

No-one enjoys getting out of bed in what seems the dead of night.

But if the dark winter mornings are really getting to you, invest in a special light lamp alarm clock, which will ease you into the day by mimicking the light of a beautiful summer’s morning.

Do some exercise

Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins and you don’t have to slog away for hours – a 20-minute blitz will do.

Failing that, treat yourself to a sauna – a great way to feel amazing with little effort.

Get herbal

“If you’re feeling tired it can often make you feel more down than usual,” says Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at NutriCentre. “Magnesium is an excellent mineral to take to increase energy and help us to feel better about ourselves, while St John’s Wort is a licenced herb to support feelings of mild depression.”

Get planning

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, use the dark and miserable days to hatch a plan on how you’re going to spend the rest of the year.

Then whenever you’re feeling down, you can take a look at the list and look forward to everything you’ve planned

Watch out for the 90/10 principle

This states that 10 per cent of your happiness depends on things that happen to you while a whopping 90 per cent depends on how you react to these events. Make a conscious choice to be and think positive – simple.

Looking out towards Arkengarthdale in the Yorkshire Dales. PIC: Simon Hulme

Fighting for the future of communities in the Yorkshire Dales