This month can be a bit of a slump in the workplace after the excesses and frivolities – not to mention that lovely time off work – over Christmas and New Year. But the January Blues, as your GPs may well testify, is a very real affliction that can need more than the arrival of February and the long-awaited January pay check to work itself out. As a Practice Manager in a healthcare context, it’s worth knowing a bit more about what can make people feel down in the dumps at this time of year – and what you can do to help your staff feel perkier.
Get your Vitamins
It’s thought that we’re not getting enough of the mood-boosting Vitamin D during the winter months, when the sunshine isn’t doing its bit to keep us topped up. We can up our intake through making a few smart dietary choices, though. Fortified cereals as well as dairy products, eggs and oily fish are all good sources of Vitamin D, and oily fish is also full of Omeaga-3 which is also great for blitzing lethargy.
Watch the Carbs
Winter is often about warming, comfort food – and for many of us this means overdoing the carbs. Craving stodgy food can also be a symptom of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which affects around 7% of Brits during the bleaker winter months. Urge anyone you think may be suffering from SAD to speak to a GP, and be aware that complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are far better for steady, slow-release energy than high-GI carbs like white bread and white pasta, which gives us short bursts followed by sluggish lows.
Many of us hibernate socially in January due to exhaustion (mental, physical or financial) post-December. But this could be the worst thing for us, given that face-to-face human contact triggers responses in the brain that benefit our mental health. This works in a way that technology-based contact doesn’t, so perhaps suggest a lunchtime get-together or walk in the park this month. The gentle exercise is great for the mood, too!
Asking one of your GPs to give a brief talk about energy and diet at this time of year might be a useful way to give your staff a helping hand or a bit of extra motivation during this difficult month. Alternatively, a simple poster in the office with suggestions for diet tips for maintaining energy and mood levels could be handy.