Tips to Manage BLUE MONDAY

How does it feel?

Falling today, the third Monday of the year, Blue Monday is known as the most depressing day of the year. 

But why is this particular Monday so blue? 

It is said that following an extended period of festivities and merriment throughout December, January is usually associated with cold, bleak weather, a tightening of purse strings after the festive overspend, and thoughts of ‘having to’ return to healthy living after a period of overindulgence. January can sometimes feel like a long and difficult month to get through.

In some cases, salaries will have been paid early in December and the seeminglyendless weeks waiting for the next pay day simply adds to the low mood. 

These pressures are said to peak on Blue Monday and can spark feelings of depression,sadness and general low motivation. 

So, how can you avoid feeling blue? Here are some simple ways you can beat thosewinter blues… 

1- Physical activity

Low mood and depression in the winter months can make physical actively less appealing. Although you may feel that any form of exercise is the last thing you want to be doing, exercise and physical activity are known to be very effective in lifting the mood and improving energy levels.

Research shows that exercise is an effective antidepressant because when we exercise, our body releases chemicals called endorphins, (also known as the ‘happy hormone’), giving many positive benefits for people’s mental health.

Lots of gyms have free trial passes and offers running throughout January, but if the gym isn’t your thing, or finances are tight, you can find free exercise and workout videos on platforms like YouTube.

2 – Set a realistic resolution

There’s something about the start of a New Year that gets us thinking about setting ourselves new challenges. Perhaps it’s the sense of January 1st being a clean slate, a chance to ‘start again’, and the opportunity for improvement and growth.

‘New Year, New Me’ is a common thought process, but you should be mindful not to put too much pressure on creating a ‘new you’.

Recognise how great you are already and look at ways to build on that greatness. Think about setting yourself a challenge that is achievable – think about the SMART acronym:

Specific 

Measurable 

Achievable 

Relevant 

Time

This can be much more rewarding than putting on the pressure to complete a massive challenge, which might feel overwhelming.

If your resolution is applying too much pressure on your lifestyle, there’s no shame in adjusting it slightly. Be kind to yourself!

3 – Get creative

Finding activities that help you to switch off for the day-to-day pressures can be particularly therapeutic.

Any feelings of negativity can be switched to more positive thoughts, especially when you see something you have created.

How you decide to be creative is a personal choice. You might like arts and crafts, knitting or painting. In the last few years, colouring books have seen a surge in popularity, with adults returning to the childhood activity as a way of settling the mind.

Perhaps consider signing up to an evening class, to learn a new skill or maybe a new language.

Recent research has highlighted the benefits to both our physical and mental health.

The University of Oxford study followed 135 adults and found that, after they had completed their seven-month courses (including craft, singing and creative writing), the adults felt more confident, motivated to be active and generally happier.

4 – Eat well

They it says takes 21 days to create a habit, so it’s not surprising that following a month of overindulgence, eating lots of food that are high in fat, carbs and sugars, it can be really difficult to break that habit and switch to a more balanced diet, especially when we feel we need cheering up in the bleak winter months.

A healthy, balanced diet is as important for your mental health as your physical health, so it’s best to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fatty oils such as omega-3 and 6.

Try to avoid too many stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

Some people find that taking extra vitamin B12 is helpful. A healthy balanced diet is also crucial for a good night’s sleep, which is vital for your mental health.

5 – Make the most of natural light

This can be tricky, given that January also means going back to work after a holiday period. Taking regular work breaks can help.

This is perhaps more important in winter because people will often travel to work in darkness and then leave in darkness, so try to leave your desk and go for a short walk at lunchtime to get your much needed dose of light and fresh air.

If you are working from home, you might think this is easier to achieve, but in fact, we often just power through our day, without taking any kind of break or recess.

Even at home, it is important to carve time for regular lunch breaks and try to head outside to snap up some fresh air.

6 – Change your environment

With the new year can come the desire the freshen up or change our environment. Doing so can help lift your mood, for example, re-painting your walls to a lighter colour or using one-way blinds

which let the maximum amount of light in without being transparent for those outside

Whether at home or in the office, perhaps you could consider moving desks so you are near a window or away from a dark place. Little things like this can help you feel productive and lift your mood.

7 – Consider a light therapy lamp

Light therapy lamps, also referred to as SAD lamps or light boxes, work by replacing the light from sunshine that you’d normally see in the summer.

With Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affecting around two million people in the UK, these clever mood-boosting lights could be just what you need to help banish the winter blues.

8 – Spend time with others

Spending time with others is one of the few pleasures in life that can cost very little but reward you substantially.

Whether you enjoy a countryside walk with friends or a FaceTime call at lunchtime, being around loved ones is strongly linked to good health.

As well as this, other benefits include feeling less stressed, better motivation levels and an increased sense of belonging and purpose.

Hanoli HR can offer help and support to you and your employees when it comes to positive mental health and wellbeing.  We’d love to hear how we can help – give us a call on 07572 934182, or email us at joanne@missm116.sg-host.com