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Top tips to avoid back-to-work blues...

Oh, the joys of January! Tight waistbands, echoing bank accounts, failed detox regimes and back-to-work blues. No wonder depression is at its peak around now.

Some psychologists have even declared January 24th to be the most depressing day of the year.

What we all need is a little travel and inspiration to take the edge off those back-to-work blues. Here are The Guardian's top tips for perking yourself up:

Eating breakfast:

Attempts to reverse festive weight-gain often involve meal-skipping. However, low blood sugar can affect energy and mood. Dietician Lyndel Costain suggests porridge - it's low-fat, filling and warm, provides mood-friendly B vitamins, iron and zinc, and keeps blood glucose levels steady.

Exercise and sleep:

Studies show that exercise is an effective treatment for mild-to-moderate depression. Thirty minutes of daily activity (e.g. brisk walking) could tackle the January bulge too. Weekend post-Christmas sleep "catch-ups", meanwhile, will make you even more lethargic and discombobulated. Sleep experts advise establishing a regular pattern of seven to eight hours per night: keep your bedtime and waking times consistent to reset your body clock.

Mood foods:

Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids block some chemicals that trigger low mood. Oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna), flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds are all good sources of aid. Some studies also link low moods to diets low in folate. Cabbage, broccoli and sprouts are good sources of this.


Countless studies have linked psychological wellbeing to social networks but at this time of year many are too bloated and depressed to go out. Buck the trend: organise social dates, join a club, or become a volunteer for a charity.


Spend time planning your holidays for the year ahead. Booking an early spring break (city breaks are great for this), a mid-summer beach holiday or an autumn mini-break could just be the perfect tonic for the year ahead!

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!