winter blues

Early January a struggle?

There are two camps of people that get hit with January blues.

Those affected early January and those more likely to be affected end of January. Here’s why you may find yourself in either camp and 5 things that help:

Early January

It’s all about dopamine, weather, and change of pace.


Coming off the 6 week manic high of the holiday sprint filled with sugary boozy bliss (and possibly an intense end of year sales quarter), the brain is revved up and used to more dopamine and depletion than normal. It’s largely in survival mode, distracted by purpose and hustle.

Holiday travel, parties to attend, cards to put out, deals to close, events to host, presents to wrap, and booze to cheers elevates brain reward chemicals and stress hormones for an inevitable crash.

Come January, the weather has been cold and Vitamin D deficient for almost 2 months, but the time sensitive distractions have now waned. Overnight, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ celebrations turn to ‘New Year, New You’ extreme discipline- but the weather is still uninspiring and cold.

Dance on tables New Years night, hit the ground running (literally) New Year’s day. It’s quite the bipolar turn around. Consequently, some of us struggle with this brain chemistry pivot.

End of January

If your industry conference schedule includes the JP Morgan conference in SF, CES in Vegas, or DAVOS in Switzerland, you likely won’t feel the dopamine pull back until late January as you’re still in the chaotic throws of non stop happy hours and needing to be ‘ON.’

No matter when the gray fog of January hits with its judgy drill sergeant sidekick, you’re not alone, and these can help:

  1. Pick a 2 week buffer

Whenever your sprint is scheduled to slow, pencil in 1 week of no social obligations to catch your breath and re-acclimate.

Organize the office, plan your quarter, look at exercise class schedules, and get more sleep. If you’re an over achiever, possibly dip your toes in a mild exercise and meditation attempt and slow the recent fun crutches the body has gotten used to imbibing (sugar & booze).

2. keep self compassion top of mind

Think of the first 2 weeks of your New Year as a detox, slow down period. Add in more veggies, stretch, take a moment to reflect on what you did right last year. Lots of kudos, celebration, and gratitude for the blessings and accomplishments. Chocolate chip cookies & wine can still be on the menu as your body adjusts but more veggies take center stage.

Hold space for the brain to withdraw from the manic pace it’s grown accustomed. It’s a good time to consider more sleep, massages, bone broth, and setting up the body for a detox or fast - just not abruptly.

Doubling the lemon water gets bonus points.

This is not the time for a slammed to do list or unrealistic, punishing fitness goals. It’s cold outside, the body is in hibernation mode, and it’s dry. An hour involving the jacuzzi/sauna with some stretching/dancing, ending with a blanket by the fire is perfect.

No need to dust off the running shoes quite yet if they’ve been sleeping for 2 months. Re-stabilize your core and joints and stretch before hitting the sprints.

3. Double the Vitamin D & B and consider happy lights.

If you struggle during the winter with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), head to vitamin D -ASAP. I take medical grade 50,000 IU of Vitamin D per week during the winter. You’ll notice more tanning beds in Seattle and Portland - and there’s a reason. They also sell bright happy lights for your desk or bedside table to mimic warmer months.


With the downshift in daylight and sunshine, SAD symptoms may require more fun cardio movement for endorphins, long hugs with friends for oxytocin, and gratitude lists for perspective to keep happy chemicals flowing

4. Have the reboot plan -and permission slip for it- ready.

When Dopamine pulls back and immediate purpose isn’t forcing us to show up, downshifting to a new pace can be literally painful. Knowing it’s coming helps, but having the permission slip in your pocket may be necessary.

Something like, “Even though this feels weird and lacks the exuberance of the holiday grind, this is the right way to spend my time and sets me up for a happy year and healthy mind/body. I have permission to transition.”

Anyone with early trauma, anxiety, depression, or addiction tendencies will especially benefit from this external permission reminding the brain it’s ok to rest and recalibrate as it inevitably searches for stimulation.

5. Keep perspective

People really don’t expect much of each other during January and even February. However you spend it is the right way. No one is keeping track of whether you’re perfect with your resolutions or ‘hit the ground running’ in “your best year yet.”

In fact many are right there with you recalibrating. Dry January, detox, and Whole30 attempts often affect social schedules. SAD affects many moods and energy levels. People disappear to focus on work or escape to snowy destinations to ski.

It’s the perfect time to take care of you and celebrate what’s already been accomplished.

how to ditch the Holiday Blues

This holiday is magical for many with stockings, snow ball fights, santa's lap shots, and classic Chevy Chase movies. But there's a dark side to the season that some of the GetHSH community may be struggling with.

If you've been boozing and indulging in holiday treats the last three weeks you might be finding yourself with a hint of apathy masking as depression mixed with fatigue that heightens end of year anxiety. So here's a few steps that help me snap out of a cold weather, sugar binge, holiday party marathon coma and start to get back on track and hit the New Year energized & inspired.

1. Realize it's the food and the weather.

The sugar of the holiday season really throws our system off. We're already craving more fatty sugary foods with the colder weather trying to pack on our pounds to insulate from the weather. Add the abundance of treats and we can quickly find ourselves addicted to the insulin cycle which induces depression making us literally a victim of the SUGAR BLUES.


2. Focus on your body when your head starts to run amok.

Start your morning connecting to your body. A couple morning moves make a big difference in starting the day right.

A)Grab your 3" massage balls, lay on your back, and roll out your glutes, sacrum, and spine. Sends blood flow to waking muscles, creates presence and perspective.

B) Hamstring Stretch into spinal twist. Lying on our back grabbing each calf. Then, grab one knee at a time and twist across the body to wake the spine and internal organs.

C) Ab Stabilizers: Lying on your back with your hands over your head pressing palms into the wall, lift one bent knee to 90 degrees slowly dropping it down to a toe tap on the floor and gently repeating on the other side. It wakes up the abs and reminds the brain of all the miraculous ways the body moves and stabilizes. It's the one move that gets me out of my head & appreciating my body.

3. Get back on the lemon water > Vitamins > Protein Shake > Greens train... Especially if you really don't want to

A two day cleanse of sugar and alcohol + 30 minutes of cardio & a little stretching do wonders for mood and jump start the will to power through the last of December.  .

If you're like me and feel like a little waddling sausage thanks to past poor party food choices, email me at to be added to our accountability cleanse group through the end of the year. I need a reason greater than myself to put down the 10th bite of Christmas chocolate.

BREATH WORK is an energy booster the yogis use to increase life force / pranayama. Try breathing through one nostril at a time by closing the other creating a cycle of focused oxygen. Start with 10 breaths on each side for an invigorating reset. 

4. Don't overthink the New Years Resolutions thing.

A New Year does not need to equal a new you. You have complete permission to be just as unique and awesome as you currently are while slowly working toward meaningful goals. Let's get through December together, realize the winter blues are a fleeting thing and connected motivation will return, rock the holiday parties in sequined fabulousness, embrace the cheer of traditions, and get back on the sleep, nutrition, exercise, breath work train.

Because we deserve to feel good... damn it!



GETHSH is a wellness blog dedicated to researching the variables in the formula to feeling good. All suggestions should be reviewed with your licensed practitioner and taken on your own free will.