Where has this month gone? Can you believe its February next week?

How has January been for you? Being back at work, with the festive season over, gloomy mornings, Christmas debts and failed detox regimes – it’s no surprise that everyone’s feeling miserable and low.

Why not try lifting the mood with the following suggestions:

1 Mood foods: Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids block chemicals called cytokines that can cause low mood. Oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna), flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds are all good sources. Some studies also link diets low in folate to low mood. Cabbage, broccoli and sprouts are good sources of folate.

2 Foiling the norovirus: The health protection agency says levels of infection of the “winter vomiting bug” are at their highest since 2002 in England and Wales, and that around 100,000 of us every week will go down with this horrid, though rarely dangerous, bug. The Royal College of GPs says we can do much to prevent the spread: improved hygiene (rigorous hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and loos – anything that has been in contact with an infected person) and keeping infected people away from others for at least 48 hours after symptoms end are your best bet. Looking after your gut health may also help with increasing the strength of your immune system.

3 Probiotics/Prebiotics: Probiotics and Prebiotics – Taking a daily probiotic will increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut. This will reduce the chances of the “bad” bacteria from affecting the host. Why not also have choose foods containing prebiotics in your diet? Prebiotics are foods that will stimulate the growth of your own beneficial bacteria in the gut; foods include bananas, onions and leeks.

4 Eating breakfast: Attempts to reverse festive weight gain often involve meal-skipping. However, low blood sugar can affect energy and mood.  So why not have a bowl of porridge, its low-fat and filling, the warmth provides mood-friendly B vitamins, iron and zinc, and keeps blood glucose levels steady.

5 Exercise and sleep: Regular exercise will make you feel more energetic, especially during these gloomy days, your body’s defences will also benefit. You may be tempted to eat more during the colder months. Exercising will help you manage your weight better and keep your body in shape, especially if you want to tackle the January bulge. 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.

Give the above a go and see what changes you may feel!