Blue Monday, typically observed on the third Monday of January, is often regarded as the most depressing day of the year. The concept of Blue Monday was first introduced in 2005, when a British psychologist claimed to have formulated an equation considering factors such as weather, financial debt, time since Christmas, and low motivational levels. While the scientific validity of this equation is questionable, the notion of Blue Monday has gained considerable attention.
It is essential to recognise that mental health is a complex issue that cannot simply be reduced to a single day on the calendar. Nevertheless, Blue Monday serves as a reminder that mental health should be actively attended to and highlights the importance of prioritising mental wellbeing, especially on a day typically viewed as challenging.
Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. While everyone's experiences differ, it is crucial to acknowledge that this day may genuinely affect some individuals more than others. The combination of post-holiday letdown, cold weather, shorter days, and failed New Year's resolutions can intensify feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression. As a result, individuals may find it challenging to be productive, motivated, or even maintain a positive outlook.
It is important to note that Blue Monday's influence often extends beyond a single day. People who are already struggling with mental health issues might find it particularly difficult during this period. Taking proactive steps to acknowledge and address these emotions can help alleviate some of the negative effects associated with Blue Monday.
Seek social connection
One of the essential aspects of maintaining good mental health is having a strong support system. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate negative emotions and contribute to a downward spiral in mental well-being. Therefore, reaching out to family, friends, or mental health professionals who can provide support and understanding is vital.
Connecting with others can take various forms. For some, it may involve arranging a meet-up or having a phone call or video chat with a friend or family member. Engaging in conversation and expressing your emotions can help you process and release negative thoughts. It also provides an opportunity for loved ones to offer comfort, advice, and reassurance.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep play a crucial role in overall mental well-being. Pay attention to these factors to enhance your ability to cope with emotions and stress.
Engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation can also be transformative for your mental health. Instead of your usual routine this Blue Monday, consider going for a long walk in the evening or reading a book to stimulate your senses.
Take time for yourself and support those around you
The Lighthouse Club Construction Charity offers a wealth of ways to help you navigate any emotional, physical or financial wellbeing challenges you may be facing. We strongly recommend taking a look at their online learning resources, downloading their free self-support app or contacting their 24/7 helpline if you feel you need someone to talk to about any difficulties you may be facing.
If you’re an employer or you’re someone who manages a team of people, you may also want to consider checking their Wellbeing Academy, which provides free access to a number of online eLearning courses covering a wide range of challenges your colleagues may experience in the workplace and how you can help them solve these issues.
While Blue Monday may be a subjective concept, it serves as a reminder for us all to prioritise mental health throughout the year. Extending compassion and support to others can contribute to a collective effort in promoting positive mental wellbeing, a continuous journey worth investing in every day.