Although not scientifically proven, Blue Monday is often seen as the most depressing day of the year. It takes place on the third Monday of January each year and is associated with mental health challenges including, lack of energy, low motivation and feelings of sadness.
For some, the relatively long festive season with its fun and indulgence takes its toll both physically and mentally leading to challenges in resetting the balance. And then of course, the New Year’s resolutions are either going well or we find ourselves faltering or giving up. The intention of ‘New Year, New Me’ falters and can set a mood that impacts our mental health. Let’s not forget that many struggle through the festive season and are relieved to see it done and dusted for another year.
For others, life’s challenges can be constant and overwhelming and can include coping with, ill health impacted by seasonal changes, debt and money worries, bereavement, worries about family, friends and relationships and work related issues and isolation, the list is endless.
It could be that the winter months are more challenging for some, with the lack of sunshine and warm weather and let’s be honest, there is much complaining about the cold damp weather, short days with their dark mornings and afternoons.
In nature, winter months signify a time of rest and rejuvenation for much of our flora and fauna and indeed in many cultures across the globe these months are seen as a time for rest, self-care, self love and generally focusing on well-being. This restores and refreshes people ready for the new beginnings of the spring season. This is when life all around us is waking up, with beautiful early sun rises, the joy of the dawn chorus, trees and spring flowers blossoming and blooming and the sight and sounds of new life in our countryside, towns and cities.
How to cope with Blue Monday
It’s important to acknowledge that you need time to rest to help you manage feelings of sadness, feeling low or if you’re tackling the challenges of depression. These feelings require self care and in many cases support. Here’s some strategies that can help:
- Acknowledge your emotions – it’s completely normal to feel low, sad or depressed. Try to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and seek help and support if you need it.
- Connections – social interactions really make a difference. Reach out to friends and family they are there to help you and more often than not they have some of the same feelings that you are experiencing. Reach out to a mental health professional for support.
- Self care – Engaging in activities that promote self compassion, self-awareness and well-being such as hobbies, exercise, mindfulness and meditation.
- Goal setting – If you find yourself overwhelmed by what you need to do, break it down to smaller more manageable steps.
- Limit the stress triggers – Reduce your exposure to stress triggers, this can include exploring and prioritising self compassion and self love.
How can employers help?
Many people work throughout the festive period, especially in industries like hospitality and health care. So how can employers help?
- Check in regularly with staff – Lone working can be emotionally draining particularly at times of traditional and cultural celebration
- Organise seasonal events where employees can come together – Festive parties such as mocktails and nibbles
- Connections – Encourage social events throughout the year to establish a positive culture within your teams. Create a buddy system where loan workers have a mentor and colleague that they can turn to when they need support
- Well-being – Provide professional support which actively supports staff health and wellbeing
You are not alone!
Remember, you’re not alone in facing challenges. Reach out, take care, and embrace the journey toward well-being!