The term ‘Blue Monday’ refers to the third Monday of January, identified as the most depressing day of the year. This year, it falls on January 15th.
The concept originated from various factors such as the post-holiday blues, financial strains following Christmas, the dreary winter weather, and the return to normal work routine. These elements collectively contribute to a gloomy mood among many individuals. However, experts have provided valuable advice for overcoming these challenges and maintaining a positive mindset.
Embracing Meditation for Stress Relief
Rachael Rothwell, People and Culture Manager at digital PR agency JBH, emphasises the importance of self-care and proactive measures. She suggests practising meditation and mindfulness to reduce stress and improve focus. Simple meditation techniques, like dedicating 15 minutes to mindfulness, can significantly enhance one’s ability to handle stressful situations.
The Power of Reading and Social Engagement
Additionally, Rothwell encourages reading more to stimulate the brain, especially after long hours of screen time. Engaging in literature or industry-related content can enhance creativity and problem-solving skills. Social interaction is also crucial for mental stimulation. Engaging in conversations with colleagues, friends, and family can offer new perspectives and coping methods for the January blues.
The Role of Physical Activity in Mental Wellness
Physical exercise, another key suggestion, has immediate and long-term mental health benefits. Activities like walking, running, or yoga can improve mood and concentration. Rothwell also recommends beneficial breathing techniques like deep breathing and the 4-7-8 method to maintain focus and energy.
Establishing a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Georgina Sturmer, a BACP registered Counsellor, interviewed by Officeology, offers additional advice. She stresses the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries between work and home life. Setting specific times for work-related activities and emotional boundaries can prevent work stress from encroaching on personal time.
Booking time off throughout the year is also essential. Anticipating breaks can uplift spirits and improve productivity and creativity. Sturmer advises taking breaks from screens and getting outside, as fresh air and physical movement can calm the nervous system and reduce stress.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Learning to say ‘no’ is crucial in managing workload and stress. Sturmer suggests being realistic about one’s capacity and not hesitating to ask for support or additional training if needed. Being proactive about personal development, seeking opportunities for skill enhancement, and setting career milestones can lead to a more fulfilling professional life.
Supporting Employee Well-Being
Adam Butler, CEO of Officeology, highlights ways businesses can support employee wellbeing. He suggests regular check-ins with employees to discuss career goals, encouraging breaks from screens through fitness challenges, and providing options for outdoor activities near the office. Reviewing and updating the employee rewards program to align with current wellbeing needs is also vital.
Strategies for Overcoming Blue Monday
Overcoming Blue Monday requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating personal care routines, setting boundaries, and proactive career management. Both individuals and employers play a crucial role in fostering a positive environment that combats the challenges associated with this time of the year. With these expert tips, individuals can navigate Blue Monday with a healthier, more balanced approach.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.