Blue Monday, which falls on the third Monday of January (this year it’s 17th January), is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.
The theory goes that this is the day where we feel the most down in the dumps because it’s dark and gloomy outside, there’s a long wait until payday, and most of us have already broken our New Year’s resolutions.
And while there’s not much scientific evidence to back this theory up, it is true that January can be pretty tough on a lot of people’s mental wellbeing. In fact, the ONS revealed that happiness levels in the UK were the lowest on record in January 2021.
So, it’s vital that you look after your staff (and yourself) this winter. To help you, we sat down with Andy Reid MBE, an Afghan war veteran and BrightHR Ambassador, to get his top five mental health tips for winter.
Here's what he had to say...
1. Speak up
My first tip would be to communicate any issues that you are facing, whether that’s feelings of anxiety, stress or depression, to someone around you.
You could talk to a work colleague, friend or relative. Or if you’d prefer, you could speak to someone you don’t know through services like the Samaritans.
The key is to speak up and communicate what’s troubling you. That’s the first step.
2. Do what you enjoy
Take some time for yourself and do the things that you enjoy.
For myself, I like to go for a walk around the park and see how nature’s changing with the seasons. It really helps to calm my mind.
Also, being from St Helens, I’m a big Rugby League fan. So, sometimes I like to watch previous games and relive some of our best moments. It takes me back to those happy times.
3. Eat well
It’s easy for us all to overindulge over Christmas—myself included. But it’s so important to look after yourself and get back to eating right once Christmas is over.
What you put into your body really does affect how you feel both physically and mentally. So try and feed yourself the best stuff, if you can.
4. Get enough rest
It’s recommended that you get eight hours of sleep every night to help your body and mind recharge. So try to get as much sleep as you can.
Maybe set a cut off time so you’re not stuck binge-watching the next episode of your favourite Netflix series and exhausting yourself for the next day.
Try and limit your screen time and social media use before bed, too. It’s the best way to help you switch off and rest your eyes.
5. Stay active
After a long day at work, you probably don’t feel like going out again in the dark. So, you could try and incorporate more movement into your working day.
Make sure that you’re taking regular breaks away from the screen, use the stairs instead of the lift, and try to go for a walk on your lunch break.
Staying active is the best way to keep your mind and your body healthy over the winter months.
Want to learn more about supporting your staff’s mental health this winter and beyond? Check out Bright Wellbeing & Counselling.