Stay healthy after Blue Monday
Dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ it is claimed that the third Monday of January is when people feel the most down every year. In 2022 this fell on January 17.
It is the day of the year when many experts say people’s will is rock bottom and many break their New Year resolutions, including ignoring their promised health targets.
This year was no different as January 17 was the day that 47 per cent of us were expected to break health resolutions.
As many of us continue to work from home health food company Good4U has commissioned new research revealing that 46 per cent of us are eating more and 55 per cent are exercising less, with 38 per cent attributing this to boredom.
However, certain foods like sprouts can improve our mood and help people stick to healthier food goals.
Good4U along with registered dietitian Juliette Kellow and leading nutritionist Fiona Hunter, have highlighted the importance of looking after one’s physical and mental health.
Avoid the junk
Around 38 per cent of us admit that between 8-11pm is the key period we’re likely to reach for those unhealthy snacks at home, with 55 per cent spending less time exercising or taking part in physical activity while being stuck indoors.
Specifically, a staggering 47 per cent of us fall off the wagon and break our health resolutions on Blue Monday, just a few weeks after setting them at the start of the New Year.
Blue Monday is hailed as the most depressing day of the year, with our bank accounts feeling lighter after the Christmas period, the darker nights continuing to drag on, and summer still feeling a long way off.
Yet, 27 per cent, in fact, see the day after Blue Monday as the perfect time to adjust our mindsets and start setting positive goals for the year ahead. And it seems that health experts agree.
Healthy living advice
Juliette Kellow said: “Instinctively, the beginning of January seems the worse time of year to try and make major changes to our lifestyle – trying to exercise outside when it’s freezing cold, spending more on gym memberships and healthy foods when our bank balances are looking less than healthy.
"And this is only being worsened by the prolonged working from home guidance.”
Fiona Hunter added: “There are plenty of foods that may help to boost our mood with sprouted seeds and seeds themselves being key examples.
"Seeds and sprouted seeds are high in fibre and protein, important for helping us to feel fuller for longer and keeping hunger at bay.
"That’s important because ‘hanger’ – when being hungry makes us angry – is a sure-fire way to leave us in a bad mood.”
To help stay on track in the new year, Kellow and Hunter have developed five New Year/Blue Monday resolutions to avoid…and five essential resolutions to make:
Resolutions to avoid:
1. Giving up all your favourite foods:
Cutting out our favourite foods means we’re more likely to give in to temptation when we’re faced with them – when we are feeling tired or stressed, especially with more time spent working from home.
2. Merging your office and kitchen:
Working from home means instant and constant access to food, making it easy eat when we’re bored, frustrated or want a break from our screens. This can lead to overeating in turn. It’s important to stick to avoid merging your ‘working office’ and your kitchen, by creating a specific area in your home for work.
3. Setting unrealistic goals:
Setting goals is important to help mental and physical growth, but for success you need to make them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific.
4. Making too many resolutions:
Trying to make multiple changes to our lifestyle can be a recipe for disaster.
5. Making the same resolutions as my friends/family:
Don’t focus on what others around you are setting out to achieve in the new year; focus on your own goals and what you want to achieve.
Resolutions to make:
1. Sleep more:
It’s vital to get enough sleep each night, ideally between seven to nine hours, as this plays a large part in our physical and mental health.
2. Increase physical activity:
Get more active in the new year, whether it’s by reaching 10,000 steps each day, setting a long-term exercise goal, or simply walking up the stairs in the train station rather than taking the escalator.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week such as brisk walking, dancing or cycling, as well as strengthening exercises that work the major muscle groups at least twice a week.
3. Practice mindfulness:
Mindfulness has been shown to help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain and improve sleep, while also improving mental health.
Eating mindfully also helps us slow down at mealtimes so we more easily recognise when we’re starting to feel full and are less likely to overeat as a result.
4. Plan ahead of time:
Being organised can clear our heads and reduce stress. This also lets us take control over how decisions will be made in the future.
Invest a little time at the weekend planning your menu for the week ahead and shopping online for convenience and speed.
5. Establish regular eating habits:
Not opting for set mealtimes and eating more erratically may occur when we are out of our normal routines, particularly with more of us now working from home, leading to less healthy eating as a result.
eatTry setting regular mealtimes in order to add structure to your day, sticking to three meals and two snacks, ideally at usual eating times.
To help stay on the healthy path in the new year, visit good4u.co website.