BlueMondaymay already be fading in memory but for many the seasonal doldrums do not loosen their grip on happiness until April.
It’s a case of being struck by SAD or seasonal affective disorder, to give it its clinical name. Any seasonal sluggishness that reaches its pinnacle on a single day would seem a nonsensical simplification of the winter doldrums for SAD sufferers.
In fact, despite the numerous tabloid articles and online posts devoted to BlueMonday, ‘the most depressing day of the year’ tag is no more than a myth. The third Monday in January was selected due to its calendar distance from Christmas, money scarcity after the festive season, the likelihood of inclement winter weather and the fact that a majority of people don’t like Mondays. The term BlueMondaywas apparently concocted after the research was published by a psychologist commissioned by a travel company which sought to boost holiday bookings in mid to late January.
However, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Due to the general down in the dumps feelings winter can generate the Blue Monday myth has slotted in nicely with society’s general outlook. That’s because so many of people suffer from SAD which -, unfortunately for 7% of people in Ireland (according to the Health Service Executive) – is no such myth.
The condition, with its very apt acronym, is related to changes in the seasons which wreak havoc with the natural rhythm of our biological clocks.
Clinically it is usually diagnosed after at least two consecutive winters of unrelenting symptoms. Researchers have found that the most likely cause of SAD is the affect that the lack of daylight hours and sunlight in winter has on the hormones (melatonin and serotonin) in the part of the brain which controls mood, sleep and appetite.
That may explain why so many of us suffer in the long winter months from that mild sluggishness, a longing to stay beneath the covers and the insatiable craving for the foods we know we should be avoiding.
The bad news for us in Ireland is that the further away from the equator, the more prevalent the condition becomes.
However, when we get the feeling that we just can’t wait for the winter to end – whether we suffer from clinically diagnosed SAD or feel just a little under the weather generally – there are simple steps to take in order to offset the winter doldrums.
Most notably these steps involve good nutrition, increased outdoor activity, social interaction and proper planning.
Eat well, feel well
Ditch the doughnuts! Foods that are high in starch and sugar may well be what you crave and can provide an instant buzz but they will make you feel more lethargic afterwards. Good quality fruits, vegetables and pulses which are high in vitamins and minerals, and foods which are good sources of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats will boost energy levels, mood and overall wellbeing. Exercise regularly to beat the blues
Whether walking, running, cycling, hopping, skipping or jumping – outdoor activity will lift even the lowest of winter moods. Daylight exercise is preferable to allow your body to soak up some sunlight. If it’s not possible to go outdoors then at least get active inside for a minimum of 20 minutes. The most important thing is to get moving on a regular basis.
It’s good to talk
Isolation is certainly not the answer when you’re feeling down. Make time to talk with family and friends. Avoid getting caught up in the work zone and spend some time on social interaction. It’s good to talk and it will give you a lift.
Plan for success If winter really gets you down it can be beneficial to focus on the brighter months ahead. Set some goals for spring and summer and plan on how to achieve them. They may be family goals such as finding more time to spend with loved ones; life goals such as securing new employment or self-employment opportunities; or health and fitness goals such as completing a sporting challenge. Whatever you seek in life set clear objectives, work out how to achieve them and set about doing just that.
For more information on improving your nutrition, making more time for family life, changing your lifestyle or boosting general health and fitness simply get in touch.
Emerging with a fresh outlook from the most testing period of my life unleashed an inner entrepreneur I never knew existed.
Entrepreneurship is a spirit we all have but so many suppress. I too suppressed it. I never had any intention of going into business nor had I any inclination as to what it would involve.
I could barely spell entrepreneurship let alone embody its characteristics. Yet, once unleashed within, it flourished without. I quickly realised the potential to achieve a life lived on my terms by being my own boss. I quickly became aware that I need not live by the rules and constraints of others but could set my own goals, achieve my own targets, live my own life.
My primary goals were: create more family time and improve health, fitness and well-being. To achieve these I targeted financial security – something I gained after happening upon entrepreneurship somewhat unexpectedly.
Overcoming a very challenging period in my life opened my eyes to entrepreneurship. It need not take such a challenge to spark it in others. It may only be a matter of taking a step back, analysing your desires and making a firm decision to make them happen. However, for all but the very few that will mean escaping the comfort zone.
It may seem daunting but nobody else can do it for you and later you’ll look back and wonder why you hadn’t made the leap earlier.
When I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug it was quite extraordinary – yet I am far from extraordinary. I was a school teacher. I had no specialist business or marketing training and certainly no sales experience.
I was simply a mum who loved a product because of how it made me feel. It played a crucial role in improving my lifestyle so I decided to help others discover how it could help them too. At first I thought it could make me a little extra cash as well as helping to improve my health but I soon discovered that it was the game changer I had dreamed of. I have a real belief in what I do and as a direct result I have brought a balance to my life which several years ago I could never have imagined except in the infinitely unlikely event of becoming a lottery millionaire.
It’s far from impossible. In fact your turning point can be today. Clearly plan what you want to achieve then piece together the components needed to make it a reality. Success won’t happen overnight but work at it now and you will find that the dividends will provide the commodities most sought after in life – time and health.
My time was always spent trying to catch up on myself because work was too long, money was too scarce and nights were too sleepless. In the end (or to put it more appropriately, the new beginning) my overworked, under-slept and run-down body screamed: ‘ENOUGH’. My entrepreneurial adventure was triggered at that moment, however accidentally I stumbled into it.
Two years later I had to pinch myself when I won entrepreneur of the year in my industry. My life was transformed: I achieved the financial security needed to allow me time with my family and the work flexibility I required to improve my health, fitness and overall well-being. I’ve never felt so alive and in love with life.
If I can do it, believe me, anyone can. Just make it happen. Create the plan, set the targets and dedicate to changing one day at a time.
To find out how you too can achieve the balanced life you seek, simply get in touch.
We are pleased to announce that Juice Plus+® Orchard and Garden Blend capsules and Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend® capsules have earned the product quality “seal of approval” from NSF International, “the Public Health and Safety Company.” NSF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to product and ingredient safety. They provide peace of mind to both consumers and industry through their various product certification and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) programs.
“The NSF ‘seal of approval’ demonstrates to the public what we already know: that our Juice Plus+® products meet the highest industry standards,” explains John Blair, Vice President of Product and Research for Juice Plus+®. In this case, that means the very stringent requirements of NSF’s dietary supplements and functional foods certification program. This program independently verifies that what is on the label is in the bottle, and that the product does not contain undeclared ingredients or contaminants.
To showcase the NSF certification, ALL Juice Plus+® Orchard, Garden, and Vineyard Blend capsule cartons and labels will display the NSF seal, which reads “NSF/Contents Tested & Certified.” Based on current inventory levels, products displaying the NSF seal will likely begin to reach your customers in early May.
NSF Certification for sport Separately, we are pleased to announce that select batches of Juice Plus+® Orchard and Garden Blend capsules and Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend® capsules have received an additional certification from NSF’s Certified for SportTM athletic banned substances program. These select batches of Juice Plus+® Orchard, Garden and Vineyard Blend will display both the basic NSF product certification seal and the NSF Certified for Sport™ seal on their labels. See http://www.nsf.org/business/newsroom/pdf/ds-abs_contacts.pdf
NSF’s Certified for SportTM program involves additional screening that ensures that each specific batch of product that is “certified for sport” does not contain any substances that have been banned or prohibited by major U.S. and Canadian sports organizations. Major League Baseball (MLB), the MLB Player’s Association, the National Football League (NFL), the NFL Player’s Association, the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA), the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) have all chosen NSF’s Certified for Sport™ program to help verify that the products their athletes use are safe and free of banned substances.
“Both the ‘regular’ NSF-certified product and the ‘special’ Certified for SportTM product are identical in every way,” Blair emphasizes. “The Certified for SportTM product is simply put through an even more stringent, batch-specific testing and screening process.”
Many of us simply accept the sinking feeling of post-holiday distress but why should we and how do we set about banishing it once and for all.
I know very well that sense of dread. I recall clearly how it takes hold each January for no apparent reason. I remember it swelling ever-greater as the clock ticked towards the first workday of the year after the festive family fun.
It’s a feeling that begins to nibble at happiness as Christmas celebrations recede before finally gobbling up the feel-good factor as the remnants of Auld Lang Syne fade with the 12 bells of New Year.
By the time the holidays end, many wish they had never occurred, such was the disruption to their lives and the steady build of dread at the thought of returning to normal.
And there’s the rub, as the bard would tell us: the norm, the daily routine.
To banish the dread of returning to the daily routine, it would seem we must find a new norm – one which allows us to love the life we live and not just a small slice of it.
For me, banishing the blues of January came with the decision to love life 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
I took a small step which turned out to be a leap of faith. I said ‘yes’, I tried something new and it completely transformed the way I do things. For me it was an unexpected venture into the world of network marketing which triggered a transformation to a better life – creating more time and money.
I was freed from the shackles of post-holiday distress by creating time and financial stability for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my previous career as a school teacher but today I get to spend time with my own children rather than the children of others. I’m the first to admit that I had to stray a little from my comfort zone. I worked harder than ever before but the time and energy invested has yielded a return which far outweighs the value of my initial efforts.
Those of you in the grip of dread this week and who feel the distress of a return to normality in January 2016 should, as I did, heed the message of the famous quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
It’s been attributed to various famous figures including Anthony Robbins , Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and even Mark Twain. Which, if any of them, uttered it is off little importance compared to the point it makes.
Having taken it on board, I took a step back. I thought outside my well established box and acted differently. My actions banished the dread. Yours can too.
A good starting point is to log your January blues today. Once they’re gone the incentive to do something about their return wanes and before you know it you’ll find yourself in the dread incubation stage between next Christmas and New Year 2017.
So get your pen out and scribble down how you feel now. Detail briefly how it affects your outlook.
Make a pledge to yourself to reclaim your time, allowing you to focus on what makes you happy. Outline realistic goals and achievable targets, and then set about realising them.
Implement little changes to make a huge difference and come January 2017 you will have banished the sinking feeling of post-holiday distress by creating a new norm for a new you.