We have all heard of the dreaded Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. But what is it exactly, and how can we manage it in a positive way? This article will explain what Blue Monday really is, and provide some tips on how to make this day as cheerful as possible.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is a term that was first coined by UK psychologist Cliff Arnall to describe the third Monday of January, which has been identified as the most depressing day of the year. The date was originally calculated using a formula that factored in weather conditions, debt levels, time since Christmas, failed resolutions, and motivation levels. Although the formula has since been altered, this gloomy period still looms large in our collective minds due to its association with winter blues.
Blue Monday 2023
This year Monday 16th January is Blue Monday. When the term was first used in 2005, mental health was not discussed as openly as it is today. Now, we are much better at normalising conversations around mental health and de-stigmatising feelings of sadness or depression. It’s still important to be aware of Blue Monday though so that you can look after your own well-being in the lead-up to and on the day itself.
How to Manage Blue Monday in the Workplace
When you are in an office environment then Blue Monday can be even more difficult to manage. It is important to stay positive, despite the added pressures that come with being in n office environement. Here are some tips to help you get through Blue Monday in the workplace:
1. Take a break
Blue Monday can be a tough day for many people, so it’s important to give yourself extra time and space to relax and recharge. Take regular breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just five minutes of meditation or mindfulness. This will help you stay focused and productive.
2. Engage in meaningful work
It’s important to find meaning and purpose in the work that you do, especially on days when morale is low. Focus on tasks that will help you make a real difference, such as problem-solving or creative projects. This will help motivate and inspire you throughout the day.
3. Connect with colleagues
Being socially connected helps us to stay mentally healthy and motivated. Reach out to your co-workers for support, or organize a team activity that everyone can enjoy together. This will help lift the mood in the office and make Blue Monday more bearable.
4. Practice self-care
Take some time for yourself on Blue Monday; it is important to look after your own mental health first and foremost. Spend time doing activities that bring you joy and restore your energy levels, such as going for a walk in nature or listening to calming music.
Managing Blue Monday within your private life
The best way to manage Blue Monday is to focus on activities that bring joy into your life. Here are some tips for doing just that:
1. Take a break from social media
Spend some time away from your phone or laptop to help clear your mind and reset. This can help you stay focused and productive.
2. Get creative
Explore your creative side by drawing or writing. Often as adults, we forget to engage in activities that bring us joy, such as painting or crafting.
3. Reach out
Connect with friends or family members who may also be feeling down. Caring about others close to you helps to strengthen and keep your (and their) support network strong.
4. Give back
Find ways to volunteer in your community or donate items you no longer need. When helping others, we often forget our own problems, and it can be very rewarding.
5. Move your body
Take a yoga class, go for a run, dance around to your favourite song or go outside and walk. Being outside (no matter what the weather) can help to lift your mood and reduce stress.
6. Be kind to yourself
Practice self-care through meditation or journaling. There are an array of self-care practices it can be as simple as following some Hygge practices such as lighting some candles and listening to calming music that can help reduce stress and lift your mood.
No matter what tips you follow, remember that everyone experiences their own version of Blue Monday differently. The most important thing is to be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions come up during this time of year. With these strategies in hand, you can make sure that this Blue Monday passes without too much difficulty!
It’s also important to recognise your inner feeling throughout the year, and these can apply to any time you need support. There is a range of different support avenues now, from listening to podcasts, talking to friends and family, or speaking to a professional. It’s important that you look after yourself and reach out for support when needed – Blue Monday is just one day in the year, but your mental health should be taken care of throughout the year.
If you need additional help supporting your team or colleagues with mental health, reach out to a qualified professional such as your occupational health provider, or Su and her team are ready to offer assistance. You can contact us here. With the right help and support, you can make this day one to look forward to instead of dreading it.
Blue Monday inevitably comes around every year, but there are plenty of ways we can turn it into something positive rather than letting it drag us down. Take regular breaks, engage in meaningful work, connect with colleagues, and practice self-care, these are just a few of the strategies that can help you to manage Blue Monday and make sure it passes without too much difficulty. It’s also important to come back to the basics: be kind to yourself and reach out for support if needed. And as always we are here to help.