Mental health | Overcoming the January Blues

Wellbeing consultant of Stress Matters James Capell-Abra says the Danish mentality of 'being in the moment' may be the answer to the January Blues

17 Jan, 22

Wellbeing consultant of Stress Matters James Capell-Abra says the Danish mentality of ‘being in the moment’ may be the answer to the January Blues

Christmas is over and we’re all back to work. The decorations are down, we’re a little bit plumper, have credit card bills that are a little larger, we’ve run out of things to do with the leftover turkey and there’s that  ‘holiday blues’ feeling in the air.

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You can see it in people’s faces, we are all experiencing it. It’s no wonder January is widely regarded as the most depressing month in the UK.

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The days are still short, the weather still bitterly cold and summer feels a million miles away.

The third Monday in January is now known as ‘Blue Monday’ and considered the most depressing day of the year. But here’s the thing… It’s all in your head. In fact, as a nation, it’s all in all of our heads.

Danish mentality

Let’s take a look at Denmark for a second. As far as winter is concerned, this Scandinavian country has it way worse than we do.

Their winter days are shorter by about two and a half hours. It’s on average 6° C colder. The cost of living is circa 17% higher and tax rates are much higher than ours.

And yet, they are one of the happiest countries in the world. Why is that? There are many reasons, but I’d like to introduce you to one of them. The Danish concept of ‘Hygge’.

Hygge kind of translates as an atmosphere of warmth, wellbeing and cosiness. When you feel at ease and are able to enjoy simple pleasures and being in the moment.

You see, if we are feeling blue in January (or any other time for that matter) very often it’s because we’re focussing on what we don’t have.

Positive focus

We might be sad about not being able to spend as much time with our family anymore. Or we might be worried about what’s coming up in the future.

We could be excited about future plans but they just seem so far away. Our energy is focussed on things that we can’t change and things that we can’t have.

Where the Danes have got this right is they’ve learnt how to make the best of the situation, and in fact make it something that others envy and attempt to learn and replicate.

They are focussed on being in the moment and enjoying simple pleasures.

If you’re feeling the January blues, try channeling the viking in you and think about how you can embrace the concept of Hygge in your life more.

Focus on what you can do, what you can appreciate, the simple things that perhaps you’ve taken for granted recently.

Read a book, light a candle, play a board game, wrap up warm and enjoy the cold weather. Before you know it spring will be here, then summer.

And who knows… maybe you’ll even start to look forward to experiencing Hygge again in January next year.

Read more and find out why it’s important to raise mental health awareness at work.