How the Free Soul team are beating the January Blues…

How the Free Soul team are beating the January Blues…

Combatting the January Blues with Nutrition and Wellness

Today is Blue Monday, labelled the most depressing day of the year, but at Free Soul we’re determined not to let it be that way. Falling on the third Monday of January, after the excitement of Christmas, during a month of cold weather and dark mornings, many will experience the January Blues - which can include feelings of low mood, sadness, lack of motivation, tiredness and low energy.

It is worth remembering that feeling down is a totally normal part of life, but the key is to find healthy and positive balance, along with ways to cope with the more difficult moments.

It's important to remember that whilst it’s named Blue Monday, it doesn't mean it has to be a blue Monday. We asked the Free Soul team how they’ll be turning Blue Monday into Pink Monday instead.

Prioritise nutrition and wellness:

Nutrition and diet can play a significant role in shaping our mood and overall mental well-being. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in nutrient-dense foods can help boost energy levels and provide the nutrients that the brain needs to function properly.

One important nutrient for mental health is omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. These fatty acids are crucial for brain function and have been shown to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety (Free Soul Greens contains flaxseeds and is a great way to start your morning!). Eating more fruits and vegetables can also provide vitamins and minerals that are important for mental health, such as vitamin D and folate.

Another important aspect of diet is maintaining stable blood sugar levels, which can be done by eating regular meals, avoiding skipping meals and not overeating sugary foods or refined carbohydrates (Free Soul Vegan Protein is designed to help balance your blood sugar levels). Consuming a balanced meal, with the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, can help balance your blood sugar levels and keep your energy levels stable and thus positively impacting your mood.

It's also important to pay attention to hydration, making sure you drink enough water and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt sleep and lead to feelings of irritability or anxiety.

Overall, A nutritious and well-balanced breakfast that includes protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates can help to balance blood sugar levels, provide energy and focus for the morning, and reduce cravings later in the day.

Lucy, Creative Lead
I’ll be starting the day with a balanced and nutritious, but super indulgent breakfast. It's definitely one of my favourite meals of the day, and on Blue Monday, I’ll be combating the cold, dark morning with a warming bowl of oats.

I love Oat Pantry’s Gingerbread edition which includes wholegrain oats, crunchy pecans (a great source of healthy fats), ginger and cinnamon which are both great anti-inflammatories, and it's completely gluten-free and a great source of fibre. I always stir in a spoon of my Free Soul Vegan Vanilla Protein, to ensure my bowl is balanced and will last me until lunch - plus it makes it super creamy.

Finally, I’ll top it with Pip and Nut’s smooth almond butter, some frozen blueberries for an added anti-oxidising boost and a scattering of flaxseeds, chia seed and hemp seeds - packed with fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. Seeds are superfoods that contain very few carbohydrates, and don't spike your insulin levels.

Get moving:

Exercise has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and improve overall physical and mental health. Even a short walk or workout can make a big difference.

Nicole, Influencer Marketing Manager
My regular Monday would usually start with spin at 1Rebel or a Barrys Class to get my body moving and endorphins flowing. But this week, I’ll be starting Blue Monday on the slopes where the only blue I’m expecting to see is in the skies.

Get as much daylight as possible:

Lack of daylight is partly why people suffer from ‘The January Blues’. Not getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, has been shown to decrease our happiness and leaves us feeling down in the dumps.

The sunlight can make you feel better and also help to regulate your sleep cycles properly. Exposure to natural light increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood.

Jess, Community Executive
I’m currently injured so I can’t go for my usual long morning walk. Instead, on Blue Monday I will be doing my adapted routine of having my morning coffee on a bench outside, whilst I do 10 minutes meditation.

This is my favourite part of the day and encourages me to get outside into the fresh air. But, it’s hard when the mornings are dark, right? So, I also ensure I take my Vitamin D to help with my happiness!

A few more tips from the team…

Connect with others:

Reach out to friends, family, and loved ones, and make plans to spend time together. Social support is an important buffer against stress and depression.

Plan a trip:

Book a vacation or plan a weekend getaway. Having something to look forward to can boost mood and provide a break from the daily routine. It doesn’t have to be far flung, even staycations can break up the mundane and give you something to look forward to!

Use positive affirmations:

Try to start the day with a positive thought, saying, memory, or quote that sets you up for the best possible start. Don’t forget to keep reminding yourself of it throughout the day too.

Avoid unrealistic resolutions:

If you've been overly ambitious with your resolutions you could be left feeling unhappy when you can’t fulfil them. Making resolutions to better yourself is a good thing, but make sure they are things you’ll stay consistent with.

Avoid difficult and vague resolutions such as ‘save money’ or ‘be more organised’ and make sure it’s something well defined that you can achieve and measure.

**At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.