Blue Monday: Five ways to banish Monday Blues
The first day of the third week of January has been labelled Blue Monday; the ‘most depressing day’ of the year, according to many sources.
We take mental health seriously and believe it should be regularly addressed, especially in times of financial strain and societal pressures. This month’s blog is all about banishing the blues and talking about mental and emotional wellbeing, which are just as crucial to address in the workplace, as anywhere else.
So, why today?
Generally speaking, a blue Monday is one that is particularly depressing or one that gives us a low mood. Back in 2005 this day got its name from some heavily debated research that used a ‘formula’ to calculate the ‘most depressing day’ of the year precisely .(1)
It’s thought that the UK weather and temperatures at this time of year, combined with an assumed low credit from the Christmas period and probable failure to uphold those new year’s resolutions, contribute to an overall low mood. Mix this with the routine commute and general work/ life pressures reclaiming the front seat – we can see why the name was coined.
Blues Be Gone!
It doesn’t have to be this way. Monday is just another day, like all six others, after all.
Whether it’s that sinking feeling on a Sunday evening, or you simply don’t want to get back to a boring project or task you left for future you, Monday blues are commonly experienced. As those feelings might be a little more intense, on this day especially, we’re exploring the steps we can all take to make Mondays (in general) more bearable, or even enjoyable!
Let’s break it down – is it really the day we’re unhappy with or is it that the things we do on that day are less enjoyable? For most, Mondays mean back to work after a weekend of leisure – of course we’re going to be a little reluctant to start the day after a couple of days off. Don’t let that ruin your morning or, worse still, spill into your Sunday evening.
Here are a few tips and techniques to make that 7am alarm less snooze-worthy…
1. Make Mondays Merrier
Instead of focussing on the things you dread, set out three things you’re really looking forward to. They don’t have to be big, they could be things like enjoying your favourite coffee on the commute, speaking to a co-worker you haven’t seen in a while or cooking a delicious evening meal when you’re home.
Breaking down your Monday into enjoyable segments, will make the day less scary and take the onus off those mundane tasks.
2. Be More Balanced
Why do we always leave those boring or challenging tasks for Monday? Treat all days equally and spread the workload throughout the week, so you’re not in a finishing frenzy on Friday and end up mopping up on Monday.
If you’ve hit a wall with something on Friday, pick it back up on Tuesday and save some of your enjoyable tasks for Monday, to punctuate your day. It’s all in the planning – be kind to your future-self!
While the workplace is for, well, work it doesn’t mean you can’t strike up a conversation about your weekend or common interests with a colleague or customer. Social interaction is crucial for all of us and building human connections can make us feel happier, give us a sense of purpose and identity.
Even taking a break and retreating to a communal space can boost your mood, if you’re not up for talking. Being in the presence of others can often make you feel more sociable. We were socially isolated for long-enough in the pandemic, its time to re-connect. (2)
4. Rest and be kind to yourself
Feeling fulfilled is just as much about balance as anything else. Are your Monday blues caused by weekend burnout, or generally feeling overwhelmed? Being productive is great, but don’t let this get in the way of taking stock and reflecting on progress.
Take the opportunity over the weekend and set time aside throughout the week to rest and recharge. Try moving bedtime forward on a Sunday, so you feel truly rested and ready to go when Monday rolls round, or swap screen time with a book during the week.
5. Have open discussions
While Monday blues are commonly experienced by most of the working population at some point, depression and mental ill-health are serious conditions and need to be addressed – especially in the workplace. If the way you feel on a Monday is trickling into other days of the week, you may benefit from discussing this with your employer or a medical professional.
Work should provide you with satisfaction and fulfilment on the whole and if this is becoming harder to reach, its important that you are able to have an open discussion with someone you trust so you can get to the root cause.
Building a workplace support network can be beneficial for employees in building relationships and establishing trust among peers, which can actually result in your workplace being nicer place to be.
The Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre is a part of Halifax Opportunities Trust, if you would like to speak to someone regarding mental health, our Community and Wellbeing team may be able to help.