Our blogger Anisha helps fight the January blues

January. The first month of the year after the fun and festivities. The shop windows are no longer aglow with twinkling fairy lights and the sparkle has vanished. The world seems drearier. Thirty-one cold, dark days stretching out ahead of me, the colour and vibrance of spring a lifetime away. I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m not the biggest fan of January. The phrase ‘January blues’ could’ve been invented for me! 

January is also when I feel the full effects on my body of the change in routine that come with the festivities, as well as the stress that goes with it whilst living with continence issues. The endless planning, organisation and worry involved to make it to that party I really wanted to go to, the fear of not making it to the bathroom in time, checking if I’ve got my emergency supplies should I have an accident. This expends both mental and physical energy. But this is life with continence issues. And now after the festivities, I’m faced with dreary January.

‘Yes!’ I hear you cry. ‘Me too!’

So I’m going to let you in on my top three tips of how I combat the January blues.

  • Get back into a daily routine.

Humans are creatures of habit and I’m no exception. A routine helps my mind and body return to its natural rhythm, which helps me manage my unpredictable symptoms. Routine also helps me to cope with my daily anxieties because it enables me to plan. For a good daily routine, I wake up and go to bed at the same time, stick to regular meal times, limit technology use in the evenings and find ways to unwind before bedtime, like reading or listening to soothing music.

  • Be physically active, even if it’s just a little.

Whilst being active can be challenging with continence issues, there are benefits to even a small amount of activity. Exercise releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemical, so it benefits mind and body. I’m a Zumba instructor and I love restarting my classes in January because it makes me feel great! January is a busy time in the fitness industry and there can be lots of deals around so have a look. I offer new students their first class free in January to encourage them to try it with nothing to lose.

  • Plan things to look forward to.

The power of having something to look forward to and the effect this has on my mind and body is invaluable. These are small things that don’t cause me stress about managing my continence, like having a movie night at home, making time for a relaxing bath or inviting my best friend over for a cuppa. I do things that nourish both my mind and body.

I hope you will try these tips and see if they work for you. All that remains to be said is, ‘January Blues. I’m coming for you!’

About the author:

  • Anisha Gangotra was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008 at the age of 24 and is involved in improving awareness and support for people affected by chronic illnesses and disability. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @zumbawithanisha

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