Don't let the January blues ruin your relationship this 2013

Nicola McCafferty
Yahoo Lifestyle
4 January 2013

The January blues wreak havoc on our emotions every year, as the effect of the gloomy weather, financial woes and diet talk all get on top of us.

Yet it seems the New Year depression isn't just having a negative effect on how we feel about ourselves, as it could also be sabotaging our love lives too.

We spoke to body language expert Judi James about safeguarding our love lives from the January slump and she reckons our contagious bad mood could be polluting our relationships.

She told us: "The kind of low emotions we tend to suffer from in January are rarely based on anything more than a post-Christmas/New year hangover plus a dab of SAD - with the short, bleak-looking days and a return to work adding to the mix.

[Related: Change your body AND your attitude this New Year with our inspirational tips]

"It's good to think of this mood as hugely contagious. We send it out and we get it back again, having polluted a few of our closest friends and colleagues in the process."

So when we take that bad mood home with us, it affects how our partners perceive us - meaning many of our loved ones pick up on the detectable misery.

"Because we feel low we allow it to affect our body language 'state,'" Judi told us.

"This means we can easily look hunched and miserable, using self-comfort or self-protective gestures like folded arms or self-hugging.

"These gestures might feel as though they're helping - as will moaning to other people - but in fact they're only adding to the pain rather than allowing the mood to heal and lift."

And with all this negative energy in and around the bedroom, naturally it can lead to rows.

She explained: "Once your partner manages to catch your mood you can feel you're not getting enough support and this can lead to bickering and rows.

"[And] although they're based on nothing can turn into real conflict with suppressed problems with the relationship coming up as weaponry.

"This is the time that all those bitchy comments about in-laws or relatives or even naff presents can bubble to the surface, just because our January diet isn't working or our late nights are taking their toll."

[Related: Revamp your love life and your beauty regime by ditching these bad habits]

But luckily for anyone battling the blues, the body language guru reveals how to let all this tension out - without it winding up in an unnecessary break-up.

She advises: "Rather than sharing your pain in a bid to feel better, you should work on letting it out alone.

"Think of a kid throwing a tantrum. Bottling it up can allow it to fester dangerously but throwing yourself onto your bed and thumping the pillows until you're exhausted or over-exaggerating your mood for a while, screaming, ranting and pulling miserable faces will allow it to pass through your body and out.

"The other thing that will help is to do a mood diary, writing down all your nasty, toxic thoughts and feelings or even drawing them if you enjoy sketching."

And finally, it's important to change the vibe your body language is giving off.

"Changing your state means applying a positive look to your posture, expressions and gestures.," she told Yahoo! Lifestyle.

"At first it will feel like acting, but it will end up changing your mood.

"Pull up to full height and then breathe out slowly via your mouth. Breathe in through your nose and stand as tall as possible.

"[Then} roll your shoulders back and down which will release tension, especially around your neck and face. Shake your hands to relax them  and push your bottom in and under slightly.

"Relax your facial expression and look in the mirror to apply and eye-smile, which is a friendly, softened eye expression. Work on a few mouth smiles while you're there. At first they will look fake but even this should make you laugh and cheer you up."
Judi added: "Greet people using eye contact and your eye-smile rather than your dour January expression.

"And make it a new New Year resolution to drop a lot of your self-comfort, anxiety-based fiddling gestures like nail-biting or playing with your hair!"

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