4 Things To Know About the January Blues

Wellness

4 Things To Know About the January Blues

Anxiety.Major Depressive Disorder
Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Dec 05, 2019 - Updated Jan 13, 2021
Dr. Amy Kearney
Medically Reviewed ByDr. Amy Kearney
Woman looking out at the ocean while dealing with her depression in January

Immediately following the New Year, millions of Americans experience what is commonly called the January blues. In fact, January 24th has been found to be the most depressing day of the year by one U.K. psychologist.

January is known for being depressing due to a perfect storm of factors colliding. These factors include:

  • Post-holiday let down
  • Holiday bills coming due
  • Less daylight
  • Cold, wet weather

This year, the pandemic has already taken an extreme toll on the mental health of the majority of Americans. As we enter the most depressing month of the year, the continuing surge in coronavirus cases, job losses, business shutdowns, children remaining out of school, and deaths from the disease are likely to contribute to January blues as well.

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What are the January blues?

The blues are a common form of temporary sadness, (or even just feeling a bit down) that settles in after an occasion or big event. In this case, the January blues tend to settle in after the holidays. You may feel sad because you won’t see your family again for a while. You may have put on holiday weight or failed to meet the goals you set for the holiday season.

In addition, the weather in January for millions of Americans is cold, rainy, or snowy. There are fewer daylight hours, and many people have to return to work after a long break during the holiday season. Others may feel saddened by bills from holiday shopping coming due or may feel stress about the long, colder, months ahead.

In other words, the blues or depressed feelings that millions of Americans experience in January can have multiple causes.

January blues should resolve within a few days, and many people are still able to function perfectly normally, even if they feel a bit down.

Symptoms of January Blues

Symptoms of January blues include mild sadness or feeling bummed out. If you’re experiencing January blues you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Change in appetite
  • Sadness
  • Decrease in energy level
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

January Blues and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the numbers of individuals dealing with mental health issues. Although the first COVID-19 vaccines are already being distributed, it will take time for most Americans to receive the vaccine. This may result in more Americans experiencing the January blues than in previous years.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, free mental health resources are available.

How to Get Through the January Blues

Coping with the January blues can be challenging. You may need to change your habits or adopt new lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Increasing exercise
  • Adopting a healthier diet
  • Practicing self-care

People experiencing the blues will feel sad, or melancholy temporarily. If sad feelings persist beyond a week or are beginning to interfere with your normal activities and quality of life, speak with your health care provider. If left untreated, persistent blues may lead to depression. Depression is marked by ongoing feelings of sadness or hopelessness and may require therapy or medication to treat.

8 Commonly Prescribed Antidepressant Medications

If your symptoms of January blues are occurring most days, and/or your depression is worsening, your health care provider may prescribe antidepressant medication. Antidepressants including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, (SNRIs) are frequently prescribed to treat depression.

Medication Lowest Price for Common Dosages*
Bupropion (generic for Wellbutrin) $6.50
Citalopram (generic for Celexa) $4.00
Duloxetine (generic for Cymbalta) $11.87
Escitalopram (generic for Lexapro) $7.19
Fluoxetine (generic for Prozac) $4.00
Paroxetine (generic for Paxil) $82.78
Sertraline (generic for Zoloft) $8.95
Venlafaxine (generic for Effexor) $7.50

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When to Ask For Help Feeling sad or blue on occasion is not cause for alarm. However, a persistent, depressed mood is a sign that you need to seek help. If you’re struggling with January blues that won’t subside, contact your health care provider.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Bupropion: 75 mg / 30 tablets

Citalopram: 20 mg / 30 tablets

Duloxetine: 60 mg / 30 capsule drs

Escitalopram: 10 mg / 30 tablets

Fluoxetine: 20 mg / 30 capsules

Paroxetine: 7.5 mg / 30 capsules

Sertraline: 100 mg / 30 tablets

Venlafaxine: 75 mg / 30 tablets

*Lowest online price at national pharmacy chains Costco, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, and Walmart as of 1/13/2021. Prices vary by location and pharmacy, see RxSaver.com for actual pricing in your area.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Dr. Amy Kearney

Dr. Amy Kearney

Amy Kearney earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in the Los Angeles area. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked for one of the nation’s largest HMOs since 2002. She currently specializes in pain management and gets great joy from helping individuals maximize their quality of life and functioning while living with chronic conditions.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

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