january blues crying

Does anyone feel a bit down through January?

It can be a hard month for people, cyclists and non-cyclists alike. The short hours of daylight, the low temperature and the miserable weather (wind/rain/snow) all add up. Holidays are over and the excitement of Christmas and New Year is but a memory. Not to mention the long gap between Dec and Jan paydays!

This has lead to the labeling of a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It affects people in different ways from feeling a little down in some to full blown depression in others. According to the NHS it is quite common and can affect people of any age:

“Symptoms of SAD can include persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability and feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness.”

There are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood or impact of SAD, and the good news is that cycle commuting contributes to lots of these!


Firstly, it is recommended to take exercise and in particular to do so outside. Science has repeatedly proven that exercise releases endorphins and lifts your mood, especially after completion.

The good news for me and many other cycle commuters is that it is free exercise and has to be performed outside!

Not only does exercise naturally lift your mood, you also get to feel less guilty about any Christmas gluttony you may have indulged in!

cycle complete


Exposure to daylight is good for us, and we often become depressed in darker months due to our limited sunlight exposure. Our brains love to be in sunlight, and it helps to regulate our sleep cycles properly.

Depending on your working hours you might always be able to do the commute in sunlight but if it is possible go for it. It’s good for you (and will also make you more productive)!

sunset cycle


Eating a healthy, well balanced diet provides you with the energy needed to keep active during the day and improves your mood no end. By cycle commuting your appetite and metabolism will be working on overtime, and you will find yourself looking forward to the next snacking interval or mealtime. Guilt free snacking, what could be better than that?!

mackerel salad


Stress can raise anxiety levels and lead to an increase of the the Jan Blues. Facing long queues stuck in traffic at the start of a working day, or after and long busy day in the office is not anyone’s idea of fun. I’m not sure what it’s like anywhere else, but the start of a year always has the worst traffic jams here.

One of the best feelings when cycle commuting is to zip through the jams with virtually no difference in journey times. It’s awesome and I would totally hate to be stuck in that traffic now! I appreciate that riding through traffic might be stressful in itself for some people, but there are lots of alternative routes around. Quiet roads, cycle paths, canals: it just takes a bit of planning and small amount of confidence to get going.

morning cottage

January Blues Summary

Cycle commuting through the January just past was actually one of the hardest months I have ever done. I had to face monster headwinds, side-winds and cold starts on what seemed like countless days. However, by just knuckling down, taking care and being prepared I managed to get through the month. It left me feeling an even greater sense of achievement that normal and I’m certain contributes to a reduction in the feeling of any January Blues.

We are already starting to see an increase in daylight hours here so with January complete I started to feel optimistic for the months ahead. Unfortunately, things have not proved to be all that straight forward. Not just the weather this time, but I will leave it to another post to describe my recent troubles.

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