Staying positive during Blue Monday

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Health Assured team

09 January 2024

With the cheery festive period behind us and cold January sets in, many people are feeling low and fed up.

The weather is still cold and dark without the glamour of Christmas, there is pressure to set New Year’s resolutions and long stretches before payday. It can be almost impossible to stay positive, especially if your mental health is already suffering.

Blue Monday takes place on the third Monday in January. This year, Blue Monday will fall on Monday 15th January 2024 and is considered to be the most depressing day of the year. Introduced in 2004, the campaign behind the awareness day states that the combination of bad weather, post-Christmas debt and failed New Year’s resolutions all contribute to Blue Monday being the most depressing day of the year.

As a leader, it is important to safeguard your colleague’s mental health in the workplace not just for their mental wellbeing, but for the growth and progression of your organisation.

Looking after your people’s mental health means:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased morale
  • Better staff retention
  • Reduced absenteeism and presentism
  • Improved job satisfaction

5 ways to encourage positivity on Blue Monday

  1. Signpost mental health support

Effective signposting encourages your people to seek professional advice and support.

Consider an Employee Assistance Programme. An EAP provides the necessary support for personal or professional problems and takes steps to support and promote good mental health practices and behaviours.

Check out our EAP which offers vital counselling support, a 24/7 helpline, critical incident management, comprehensive guidance, and much more to prioritise your people’s mental health and wellness.

  1. Encourage breaks from screens

 It is not surprising that there is an unhealthy connection between mental health and extended screen time. According to DataReportal, the average screen time for users around the world is 6 hours 37 minutes, a large portion of the day.

While screen usage is unavoidable in our digital age, we can take steps to limit screen time to safeguard our mental health.

Create a screen time policy and be open to suggestions and feedback from the team. For example, you could make a rule for colleagues to step away from the screens every two hours, even if this is to make a quick cup of tea.

  1. Promote self-care

Promoting self-care is a genuine way to show that you care about your colleague’s mental wellbeing.  Self-care alleviates signs of stress, feeling overwhelmed, and burnout.

Send email reminders to promote self-care, the benefits, and how to partake in self-care at home. Make the emails fun and engaging, ensuring that your people see self-care as something fun, beneficial to them, and relaxing.

Introduce self-care kits full of items and tools to help your people rewind, relax, and switch off from their work responsibilities and focus on themselves.

  1. Encourage going outside

Spending time outside is a great way to support mental health.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 45% of people in the UK said that visiting green spaces, such as parks, helped them to cope throughout the pandemic. They also suggest that people who are more connected with nature are happier overall.

Encourage your people to go outside and leave any screens at their desks (another good way to promote less screen time).

Set up lunches where colleagues have to walk outside to attend and organise team walks throughout out the day, even if this is just around the block.

  1. Organise regular dress-down days

Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable, and a reflection of your identity is proven to produce dopamine in the brain and create feelings of happiness and comfort. This is called the wearer’s psychology.

Dress-down days at the office create a relaxed atmosphere that can calm nerves and anxieties. Your people will feel that they have autonomy in their day by choosing what they want to wear.

People often feel stiff and uncomfortable in smart attire so implementing dress-down days is a great way for your people to feel comfortable and relaxed whilst working.

Support your organisation with an award-winning EAP

Our Employee Assistance Programme provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and in life. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

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