Dealing with the “January blues”

A Darwin psychologist has some timely advice on to help minimise the post-holiday doldrums.

Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Charles Darwin University, Dr Peter Forster said that people often set themselves up for disappointment by having expectations of the Christmas and New Years period that were too high.

Dr Forster said if the holiday period doesn’t live up to those expectations, there can be a sense of let down after it’s over.

“Many people feel a bit down when they go back to work after a holiday and there can be a distinct air of gloom over an organisation that is contagious,” he said.

“Obviously, quite a few families have financial worries at this time of year. Some families expect everyone to give expensive presents and when that is added to all the other expenses it can be a real problem when the post-Christmas bills arrive.”

High on Dr Forster’s list of how we can deal with the “January blues” is to try to forget about ourselves for a while and help others.

“Contribute to your local community, for example. It helps you, it builds communities and it helps create resources that you can draw on in the future if times get hard. Being part of a strong, supportive community is one of the best ‘anti-stress pills’ you can have.”

Dr Forster’s tips for dealing with the January blues include:

• Take regular exercise in a form that you enjoy
• Don’t try to cope by drinking alcohol, you’ll give yourself more problems to deal with
• Despite all the temptations of the season, try to eat a healthy and balanced diet
• Take time to relax, if only for a few minutes a day
• Make sure you get enough sleep
• Prioritise your tasks by importance.