With Christmas and New Year festivities behind us, the holidays are officially over. Blue Monday could possibly be the most depressing day of the year. Brainworks Neurotherapy’s brain health experts offer valuable insights on how to combat the blues and press the reset button.
The best and most effective way to snap out of the post-festive-holiday blues is to adopt a holistic approach to your health. The simple and easy-to-implement lifestyle changes outlined below aim to simultaneously address mood, sleep, physical health, and lifestyle factors.
Strategic Sunlight Exposure
No matter how busy work gets, make it a point to step outside for 10-15 minutes every morning before 12noon. To maximise the benefits of this exercise, position yourself to face east, as this aligns you with the direction of the morning sun. It’s also important to repeat this practice in the evening, during sunset. This time, you should face west as the sun sets in that direction.
While it’s crucial to safeguard your skin from the sun, the focus here is on allowing ample sunlight into your eyes. Therefore, consider taking off your shades for this brief exposure.
Exposure to natural light in this way and time frame is essential for supporting your hormonal system. This is because the amount of light that enters your eyes during these times directly influences the production and regulation of hormones in your body, such as serotonin, melatonin, and cortisol, which play a critical role in mood and sleep patterns. This effectiveness extends even to areas with cloudy weather, as the light can penetrate through clouds.
Grounding, also known as earthing, is a practice that involves physically connecting with the earth’s surface to absorb its natural, subtle electrical charge. The idea behind grounding is that in our modern lives, we are often insulated from direct contact with the earth due to the prevalence of rubber-soled shoes, buildings, and other non-conductive materials. Research indicates that grounding can reduce inflammation, help manage stress levels, and improve sleep patterns.
To practise grounding, all you need is to locate a patch of grass, sand, or even mud, and let your bare skin make contact with the natural earth. You can either walk or stand barefoot on the ground to experience its benefits. Aim to spend at least 20 minutes every day practising this to see the benefits. In addition, immersing yourself in hot springs is a fantastic way to practice grounding. Not many are aware that New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to experience the rejuvenating benefits of natural geothermal pools.
Set a fixed bedtime for every night, and as the clock ticks, put away your phone, turn off the lights, and gently close your eyes. This simple lifestyle adjustment is often underrated, yet it stands as one of the most effective anti-stress habits. Going to bed at the same time every day offers multiple benefits: It aids in regulating our circadian rhythms, ensuring our body’s internal clock is in sync. This, in turn, helps stabilise the production of crucial hormones like melatonin and cortisol. Such regularity not only contributes to improved sleep quality but also plays a vital role in stabilising mood and promoting better mental health.
While the natural reaction when experiencing post-holiday blues might be to isolate oneself, it’s essential to try the opposite by nurturing connections with others. Engaging in social activities, whether with friends, family, or support groups, can offer a sense of connection and belonging that acts as a potent antidote to feeling down.