Beating the January Blues

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    • 8th January 2018

    Happy New Year! We hope you've had a great winter break and you're ready for the year ahead. However, the winter months aren't just a time of feasting and merriment.

    They’re also responsible for an unpleasant phenomenon called the January Blues. This affects several people around this time of year, impacting your personal happiness, self esteem and- of course- your career development. Read on to learn more about it, and what you can do to alleviate it.

    What are the January Blues?

    The term refers to a period of low mood in the first few weeks of January. It actually peaks on a specific day referred to as Blue Monday, which is always the third Monday of January and happens to fall on the 15th January this year. 

    There are many different causes of these negative feelings. A key one is the cold, wet weather and dark days that winter brings. This means we get less exposure to sunlight than usual, and our bodies produce less vitamin D as a result.

    The Christmas period brings lots of pleasure, but also plenty of stress. We feel obligated to spend lots of money on food and presents, many people also consume more alcohol than usual (which is a depressant) and our sleep patterns may change. These can all have a negative impact on our mood once Christmas has ended.

    Indeed, the Christmas period highlights our actual-ideal discrepancies. This refers to the gap we perceive between how things are and how we want things to be. New Year resolutions often trigger this even further.

    What can I do to beat the January Blues?

    Make a new role more than a resolution 

    But while it’s tough feeling blue, putting a plan of action together can help. Especially when it comes to your career. Rather than waiting for a promotion or new challenge to come up, January is a great time to start taking control of your next career steps. The majority of New Year resolutions fail due to not being specific.

    SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals are more likely to be successful, so set-up some practical SMART goals for your career.

    The first thing you can do is to sit down and consider your own strengths. Formalise all your skills and positives in a list. If you’ve been speaking to us as a candidate, the work we do with you on your CV should make this process much easier. We’re all about dialogue, so if in doubt – talk to us. The Gloss team is here to help you decide what role is right for you, which employer best matches your style and how you can make the most of your key strengths.

    We’re firm believers of Mark Twain’s sentiment:

    “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

    Make the most of now 

    Even with a good plan in place and Gloss on your side, getting a new role can take time.

    There’s no need to stay blue while this is happening though. While not always easy, it’s good to try to make the most out of your current situation.

    Here are some ideas as to what could help you lift your overall mood:

    Eat yourself happy 

    Try raising your vitamin D levels. You can use an off-the-shelf supplement (taken in moderation) or you can introduce more vitamin D-rich foods into your diet. Certain fish like sardines and salmon have plenty of vitamin D, as do dairy and eggs. Fortified breakfast cereals such as porridge and shredded whole wheat are an excellent choice as well.

    The BBC has several vitamin D rich recipes on their Good Food website. Try making one of these at your next mealtime; after all, variety is the spice of life!

    A change of diet is a great way to beat the January Blues.

    Be active 

    Another key way to improve your mood is to get more physically active, though you can do this in a variety of ways. The simplest way is to get out of the office for a while each day. Where possible, try eating your lunch outside for a quick mood boost. If you can pair this with a quick walk, that’s all the better!

    Exercise is a proven way to lift your mood; it releases endorphins, which brings about feelings of euphoria. But it doesn’t have to be grueling; you can exercise with friends, or try something unusual such as yoga or dancing. Focus on having a good time rather than losing massive amounts of weight.

    Be mindful 

    Mindfulness is a great meditation technique that has overarching benefits for your overall well-being and can also be key to your career. Luckily it’s not as complex as in-depth meditation and even just 2 minutes a day can have a big effect.

    In the 21st century overstimulation is one of the biggest problems, so practicing mindfulness can do the following:


    Keep you motivated on goals

    Strengthen your resilience

    Stressful situations are common in the workplace. An important pitch or presentation, a tough deadline or job interviews are all normal situations where nerves determine if you make it or break it. The more nervous you are about failure, the more likely you are for this to then become a reality. Mindfulness helps you control these natural and understandable nerves in these situations; thereby enabling you to be successful.

    It’s also perfect for beating the feeling triggered by the January Blues.

    Be an opportunist 

    New opportunities should be a key part of your career plan. There are a lot of online courses (many of them free of charge), which can help you acquire new skills or enhance your existing skillset. New challenges like this are also exciting, so committing to them can be great against the January Blues.

    Another way to be an opportunist is to commit to stepping outside of your comfort zone when you can. This could be a volunteering for a new or different project at your current role that’s relevant to what you want to be able to evidence in a future job interview.

    By now, we hope you can see the January Blues aren’t unbeatable.

    And we at Gloss will do everything we can to help you find you the perfect job. By going through each step of the process in depth (including CVs, portfolios and interview practice) you’ll be well equipped with both the skills and confidence you need to succeed throughout the year.

    Visit our Contact page to get in touch. If you’re still feeling low and want somebody to talk to, you can call the Samaritans for free 24 hours a day on 116 123. Visit their website for more details.