Blue Monday was first coined in 2004 and suggests that the third Monday in January is the ‘gloomiest day of the year’ thanks to a combination of cold weather and the return to work following Christmas and New Year festivities.
The concept was created for a travel company who used it to market their winter holiday deals and is widely regarded as pseudoscience.
However, after a challenging couple of years which has included physical illness, changes to working practices and economic uncertainty for many, it is important that people continue to look after their mental health and wellbeing on Blue Monday and beyond.
Westfield Health provide Chamber members with reduced cost health and wellbeing plans for their employees, as well as resources to support mental health.
Here are some of their useful tips to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing:
Coping with change
1 in 3 of us would avoid change if we could. Change can be scary, and it can seem difficult to adapt to new ways of doing things. As we respond to change, we often follow six distinct phases: shock, denial, doubt, acceptance, problem solving and moving on.
At times of change we need to listen to our needs and meet them. Some helpful options may be staying active, keeping in touch with your support network of family and friends, talking about the situation, practising mindfulness and planning out your day to feel more in control.
Worrying is when we keep going over something in our mind, feeling uneasy about it and not coming to a solution. Worrying affects us mentally and physically, causing headaches, difficulty concentrating, a dry mouth, stomach upsets and a racing heartbeat, which only adds to the worry!
There are many different techniques to control worry including recognising and labelling the worry, writing it out, exercise, meditation and limiting time online.
Controlling stress through breathing
A great (and simple) way of controlling stress is to exercise proper breathing. By filling our lungs properly, we increase the oxygen supply to our brains and move our mind and body out of fight or flight mode and into relaxation.
You can try deep, diaphragmatic and calming breathing techniques to help you.
When and where to seek help
Westfield Health have compiled a list of trustworthy sources for mental health support including guidance, helplines and apps which can be found here.