Monday 15th January is known as Blue Monday, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year.
Whilst the theory behind this greatly spoken-about annual event is questionable, we know January can feel like a long, hard slog for many. So, we thought we’d share some tips on how to support each other.
How Blue Is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday was first coined in 2005, when it appeared in a travel company’s press release aiming to tempt people to book holidays. A university tutor supposedly determined the date using a complex calculation of factors such as the time since Christmas, the amount of debt people were in, and the time since they had failed to keep their newly set resolutions.
The formula and the authenticity of the day have repeatedly been debunked since then, but there’s no denying that this time of year can be hard for many. In addition to our usual stressors we face added factors, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder and spending less time in nature, as well as experiencing hormone changes in winter that can impact our eating and sleeping habits.
How Can We Help Ourselves at This Time Of Year?
If you’re feeling a bit down at the moment there are a number of things that you can do to help yourself, including:
- Reach out to someone.. If you’re really struggling then it’s important to seek help from a professional. There’s no shame in this. But, even if you’re just feeling a bit meh, spending time with other people or even speaking to them on the phone can help lift your spirits.
- Reframe how you view January. A shift in your mindset can make all the difference to how you feel. Why not try to look at the positives this month can bring? Take some time to think about the new starts and opportunities the new year brings, and how beautiful nature can look in winter. The man who came up with the formula for Blue Monday said that he hadn’t intended for the occasion to be used in a way that emphasised how depressing things can be, but rather to highlight how it is a great time to make things better so you can see how easy it is to change the context of something!
- Treat yourself. Practicing self-care often feels like an indulgent, but ideally we’d see it as a necessity. An easy way to practice self-care is by treating yourself to the things you enjoy. This can be activities as small as enjoying a cup of your favourite coffee while reading a book on your lunch break, or as significant as booking a day off to enjoy a long weekend away. Plan a selection of treats throughout the month to give you something to look forward to and brighten up your days.
How Can We Help Others?
When we deliver our Create an Inclusive and Supportive Workplace training course we often find that people are hesitant about how they can help and support their colleagues, especially if they do not have particularly personal relationships with them. In the course we show them how they can do so, whilst maintaining their sense of professionalism. This includes:
- Check in on people. If you notice that your colleague seems quieter than usual, or a bit down, ask them if they are OK. They may not feel comfortable telling you what they have going on in their personal life, and that’s OK, but knowing that someone cares about how they are can make all the difference.
- Listen. Sometimes all someone needs is to feel heard. You don’t have to offer advice or solve their problems, just be a caring listener.
- Don’t worry if you can’t relate. One of the main reasons people give about why they sometimes struggle to support their colleagues is that they are afraid that they won’t be able to relate to the other person and what they are going through. Workplaces often bring together people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and religions, so you can find yourself spending time with people you wouldn’t in your everyday life. That doesn’t mean you can’t support them through their life’s troubles though.
If you’d like to find out more about the training we can deliver to help you and your colleagues be inclusive and supportive, get in touch today.
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