I often read about, or hear from sufferers of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia who report that their symptoms are always so much worse in December, January and even into February, and they have various opinions as to why this is.
Mostly they put it down to the cold, damp weather and the lack of sunlight or long dark days, saying it plays havoc with their immune system.
On top of that, they’re surrounded by people with colds, flu or other viruses and often pick up something from someone or other.
Interestingly, it’s not only sufferers of ME/CFS/Fibro that feel worse at this time of year.
The majority of normally healthy people feel low and lethargic, have aches and pains, and some even suffer complete burnout. They too are even more prone to picking up viruses or catching flu in January or February.
So is this really entirely down to the cold, damp and dark or is there something else at play here?
Could it be that people tend to get into unhealthy habits during the winter months and the lead up to Christmas, and the results of this are just exacerbated by the cold and damp?
Many people become less active and ‘comfort eat’ during the winter months, and most take things to the extreme during the Christmas period.
The bulk of their daily diet is taken up with sweets, chocolate and other unhealthy snacks; they drink more alcohol than normal, and partake in too many unhealthy ‘beige buffets’ at Christmas parties.
On top of that, they’re burning the candle at both ends by trying to wrap up work projects before the end of the year and traipsing around the shops for Christmas presents, at the same time as partying into the wee small hours.
It’s no wonder that come January just about everyone is burnt-out before the year even gets going!
Since recovering from ME over 10 years ago, I’m generally very healthy and thankfully, my immune system appears to be quite robust because I never seem to pick up any of the usual colds or bugs, which are doing the rounds.
This I believe is down to the way I live my life on a day-to-day basis as well as the natural health supplements I take everyday.
I’m mostly always happy, positive and upbeat and I have all the energy I need, but, in January, after the Christmas period, I do notice a slight downturn in my mood and I become slightly lethargic.
However, I know exactly why that is! And it isn’t totally down to the dark, damp and cold. It’s because I got into bad habits over the Christmas period!
Of course, we can’t help the fact that it’s dark, damp and cold but we can control what we consume, how well we rest and how we nurture our mind and body
So, do I sit around blaming my mood, lethargy and aches and pains on elements that are out of my control, waiting in the hope that when January or February passes I’ll suddenly feel better?
No, I not only get back to my normal healthy habits but I take them to the extreme!
Years ago, I had a light box, which I would sit in front of for half an hour each day as I wasn’t always able to get outside to get sufficient day light, but now, I start everyday with an hour walk in the countryside, which is not only good for my physical health but also my mental wellbeing. My mood is significantly raised after a walk in the fresh air and daylight.
I up my intake of water, cut out caffeine and alcohol completely, and I do a juice cleanse for 7, 14 or even 21 days, to give my digestive system a rest from all the abuse it received over Christmas.
This also has the effect of cutting the addictions to things like sugar, gluten, caffeine and alcohol. And when I’ve finished my cleanse, I find it so much easier to stick to a healthy diet.
I make sure I meditate, listen to positive affirmations or Hypnotherapy audios and write in a gratitude journal every single day, to keep me positive and raise my mood.
This also puts me in the right frame of mind to be able to stick to the juice cleanse and healthy eating.
Within just one week of doing ALL these things, with no cheating, I feel amazing!
My mood is good, I feel positive, creative, on the ball and full of energy. Like I could take on the world! And the bonus is, I even lose the excess pounds I put on over Christmas!
So, in just one week, I turn it all around from feeling low, lethargic and stiff to bouncing off all four walls. Rather than wasting a month or two of my life just sitting around complaining about how bad I feel.
So what are you going to do from now on every January?
Are you going to go into a dark hole, blame the way you’re feeling on the weather, the long hours of darkness, the flu epidemic or being surrounded by people with colds?
Or are you going to take steps to improve the way you feel? By being rigid with your lifestyle choices, healthy eating and working on your mindset every single day?