How to Overcome Those New Year Blues

January 16th is the day our ‘New Year’ optimism starts to fade, a study has found. Millions of Britons claim to start the New Year feeling positive and full of hope for the year ahead, but see their upbeat thoughts take a downturn after just two weeks.

By 16th January, we become gloomy and fed up thanks to a struggle to stick with New Year’s resolutions, the cold, wet weather and trying to keep bank balances afloat until the next payday.

The study, of 2,000 adults by Thomas Cook, found 77 per cent start January with a positive mind-set, looking forward to the year ahead and making plans to make it a good 12 months. But 85 per cent of those have already given up on their hopeful outlook before the end of January, with one in twenty admitting their happy mood is over before they’ve even got through the first week.

Almost half blame the drop in their mood on the cold, wet and dreary weather getting the better of them, while 31 per cent struggle once any leftover Christmas cheer is forgotten. Around one in six find it difficult to stay positive as their money starts to run-out, with payday still weeks away.

But to try and perk themselves up, 31 per cent book a holiday for the year ahead, with nine in ten saying this helps them to get through the long first month of the year.

Chris Mottershead, Managing Director, Thomas Cook UK, who commissioned the research said “Everyone starts out with the best of intentions to make this year the best yet, full of positivity and optimism that the 12 months ahead will be great. But unfortunately, once life gets back to normal over the Christmas break and we go back to our day-to-day routines, it doesn’t take long for our happy mood to fade. The weekend before ‘Blue Monday’ is our busiest of the year. Named ‘Jet Set Saturday’, we saw bookings reach their peak as the Great British public fight back against the winter blues”

 Chris added, “January is a long month, but doing little things, such as making sure you have something to look forward to during the year ahead such as booking a holiday, can really help to keep your good intentions and positivity going.”

Twenty-seven per cent also blame their fading optimism on a failure to stick at New Year’s resolutions, with more than one in ten of the three quarter who make them, lasting less than a day. Almost four in ten have gone back on their resolution within the first week of January. Seven in ten admit they have even had years where they had every intention of making a New Year’s resolution, but have given up before they even started trying.

It also emerged 57 per cent of Brits reckon they suffer from the January blues and another six in ten would also like to try to avoid the January blues by seeing in the New Year abroad if money was no issue, with New York, Australia, Barbados, Las Vegas and the Canary Islands the most popular destinations.

Thomas Cook asked Anna Williamson, a qualified counsellor, life coach and NLP Practitioner to provide tips on how to stay positive in the new year and stay on track with your resolutions.

1 – Set yourself a Goal
It’s important you keep the goal realistic and achievable, don’t make your goal too unobtainable as it’ll only serve to de-motivate you should you veer off it slightly. Start small, then increase your goals each time you’ve completed one. It’s best to start with a series of short term ‘mini-goals’, and then have a think about setting a more long term one when you’re getting the hang of it. This is proven to help resolutions stick.

2 – Take some ‘Me’ Time
We often spend so much time making sure everything and everyone is ok, that we can accidentally neglect our own needs and mental health. Have a think about what you can do, just for you, and make a ‘deal’ with yourself to dedicate some time each week for yourself. So, maybe it’s reading a favourite book or trashy magazine, it could be having a leisurely browse online at your favourite destinations and planning your next holiday. Go on, you deserve it.

3 – Get up and get Active
At this time of the year, the last thing we often feel like doing is to jump around in the cold or sweat it out in a gym. However, exercise is proven to boost your feel good hormones and brain chemicals, and really can make all the difference to our mood and motivation. So, if sweating it out in a gym class isn’t for you, that’s ok, have a think about what you’d enjoy, maybe it’s swimming (with a nice hot sauna afterwards) or a calming yoga class…boosting our physical health really can help with our overall happy and positive vibes.

4 – Plan something Fun
When we’re juggling work, family and keeping New Year’s resolutions, we can sometimes hit a wall and feel a little overwhelmed. Making plans for the near future is a great way to lift your mood and look forward to something fun. A holiday is an obvious and a great tried and tested way to boost your outlook and keep you on track with the job in hand. You can use it as a reward for achieving a goal or motivation to keep fit and show off that bikini body. So go on, have think about some Summer sun or a cosy winter chalet – a short break, or a long holiday.

5 – Have a chat and cuppa
We’re all so used to checking our smart phones and social media umpteen times a day that it can be really easy to forget the importance and benefits of having a proper face to face chat with someone. Have a think about who you could have a cuppa and natter with, maybe it’s a family member, or that friend you keep putting off – the positive benefits of having a chat with someone and offloading any worries, and in turn listening to theirs, can have such a brilliant and positive effect on your wellbeing. So go on, ditch the mobile and put the kettle on!

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