10 Ways To Cope With Blue Monday In The Workplace
January brings many resolutions and plans, whether getting into shape, staying fit, or starting anew. Unfortunately, January also brings its slump. Have you ever heard of Blue Mondays? It is the 3rd Monday of January, considered the most depressing day!
Monday jokes never get old, and with the seasonal affective disorder to add to the sting, Monday blues get even real and worse.
Although January is a dark month because of the harsh weather, lack of sunlight, your body struggles to cope with festive calories and Christmas hangover. It is already making it difficult for you to get out of your bed, let alone head to work.
And, any other year dealing with Monday would have just been another one of those mood slumps due to having to go back to work after the holidays. However, since the pandemic hit and work-from-home culture took hold, it has only gotten worse.
Mondays on the calendar have taken on new meaning in 2022 due to the pandemic and the stress and uncertainty that comes along with them.
This article provides some simple tips on making any day feel more positive, whether it's Blue Monday or any other day.
What Is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of January every year. And this year it is on the 17th of January. The true meaning of this term varies around different perspectives. While it is considered the most depressing or saddest day of the entire year, there is no logical reason.
The idea of Blue Monday was first coined by a U.K. travel company, sky travel, in a P.R. stunt in the year 2005. And this theory was supported by Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist who devised it for a travel firm.
He says that many factors contribute to it being the gloomiest day of the year, especially in the northern hemisphere, and not just another marketing tool for travel agencies to sell holiday bookings.
The weather is the worst during this time of the year
Financial debts due to Christmas and other festivities
Low motivation levels
Failed new year resolutions
Having to return to work after the holiday season
While it used to be marketed as the saddest day of the year, things are changing and shifting focus. January should be viewed as a month to start anew and fresh with positive awareness and encouragement instead of negative connotations.
Suggested read: 20 Fun Social Wellness Activities for the Workplace
How Can It Affect Your Mental Health?
Mental health is as important as physical health nowadays, and there is no difference between them both. And keeping a routine check of your mental health should be the first of your top ten list of new year resolutions.
With seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) taking its toll on everyone, especially post-holiday season, returning to the monotonous routine seems particularly depressing, thus adding a mood slump.
Winter blues are terrible to cope with, and going back to work on Monday can be challenging for you if you are already suffering from S.A.D. You might feel sluggish, sad, and demotivated to do the most basic chores. And with the pandemic, the line between work and home becomes thinner, making it impossible to escape.
It is possible to use this day as an opportunity to increase awareness of mental health issues. As self-care programs at work have become increasingly necessary over the past year, it should be a priority for 'Blue Monday' and beyond this January.
How Do You Deal With January Blues At Work?
Mondays are tiring and dreadful in general for everyone who's working. Waking up to another week-long work, meetings, and deadlines can be pretty stressful. But that doesn't change the reality. It would be best to have those extra doses of Monday motivation to deal with the blues, especially during winters when everything is already gloomy and cold.
If you're an employer, you need to cut some slack for your employees to deal with workplace stress and be more mindful during the most depressing day of the year.
It would help if you created an effective solution for your employees to deal with their burnout in a less complicated way.
Ten Effective Ways To Deal With Blue Monday At Work
Falling on the third Monday of January, blue Monday is considered the saddest day of the year. It's the time when your emotional levels are dipping along with the temperature outside.
And with the pandemic still being a reality around the globe, blue Monday or not, people are struggling more than ever now with their mental health.
So, if you're feeling low or sad, then here are some simple strategies for you to use to cope with and bounce back at your game.
1. Promoting Corporate Wellness And Mindfulness
It would help if you promoted workplace wellness and employee engagement at your Workplace by coming up with activities for them to participate in. The more active and engaged they are, the more they'll feel energized and productive. You can also introduce workplace mindfulness sessions to take a break and process the transition period more composedly.
Online desk yoga sessions or real desk yoga sessions are very effective in impacting employees' mental well-being, and it hardly takes up to 10 mins at the max.
Suggested read: 14 Fantastic Benefits Of Yoga In The Workplace
2. Introducing Group Walking Or Group Exercise Sessions
You can beat those winter blues by engaging yourself or your employees with some brisk exercises and winter walks. Taking a little detour and making a habit of group walking post-lunch breaks instead of solo can help lift your mood from a slump.
You can even opt for a quick jogging session post-work and make your work commute more fun and healthier.
Suggested read: The Positive Aspects Of Taking A Winter Walk
3. Hosting A Free Lunch Or Potluck At Work
Since everyone is still hungover with the festivities and all the fun they had, hosting a team lunch or providing a free lunch for your employees could motivate them to look forward to coming to work with a better outlook. Who doesn't love food, right? And free food is always the right bait for everyone. It's the way to every employee's heart, and it also helps break the ice between workers.
Make sure everyone takes time to have lunch together away from their desk. It will further help your employees to engage in a talk other than work and encourage them to build new friendships.
Suggested read: 5 Team Lunch Ideas To Boost Employee Engagement
4. Being More Flexible And Less Stringent
Being understanding and lenient doesn't equate to being a weak leader but rather a stronger one. Your turnover and productivity will rise when you act based on your employees' needs and consider a more flexible approach.
With winter taking its peak in January and sunlight playing peek-a-boo, there's hardly any energy left to motivate you to get out of your comfort zone, let alone go for work.
With poor access to sunlight and vitamin D, people are more likely to get affected by S.A.D., and hence cutting some slack to your employees and letting them start their day late could increase their mood and productivity in the long run.
According to Public Health England, 29% of adults in the U.K. are more vitamin D deficient from January to march. And that counts as 9.4 million of the working force.
5. Taking Time To Reminisce With Co-Workers
Reminiscing with your co-workers post-holidays is an effective way to cope with the Monday blues. Encouraging more ice-breaking activities and sessions at work for your employees to share with your colleagues about your holiday experiences and engage in conversation with them before work or during a lunch break can be a healthy way to kill the anxiety of coming back to work.
Relieving good experiences and memories is an effective way of holding onto good times, generating positive emotions.
Since half of a problem is solved when shared, promoting a little chat break at work can help your employees to figure out what's bothering them and how to deal with it, as they might end up finding people with similar problems.
Encouraging your employees to spend more time talking without feeling guilty could be a new step in boosting your employees' mental health this blue Monday.
A burst of shared laughter anyway boosts your mood and results in better work efficiency.
6. Investing In A Sun Lamp For Vitamin D or Lightbox
With added Monday blues comes winter blues; with long extended nights and little exposure to sunlight, there is a massive Vitamin D deficiency. And a low Vitamin D accounts for lesser serotonin in your brain, which can adversely affect your mood.
Sitting hours in a confined cubicle with inadequate access to sunlight can affect your mood. So, investing in a sun lamp or lightbox for your desk at work can help you and your employees start the day with a more positive and energized outlook.
Thus, investing in a lightbox could be a wise decision if you or your employees are already suffering from a seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter depression—the effects of using a lightbox in the morning help fight lethargy boost mood immediately.
Stay on the sunny side of life.
7. Practicing Meditation And Exercise
Working out or exercising, or even heading out for a brisk walk, helps to clear the mind. Exercise and working out helps release endorphins which could help to kill that mood slump and turn blue Monday into a more energized, fun one.
However, working out is not everyone's cup of tea, so you can also go for meditation or other mindfulness practices. A lot of healing can be done by sitting down and reflecting on breathing. A handful of mindfulness exercises can soothe anxiety or even cheer up the mood.
Exercise is the most potent and underutilized anti-depressant, and it is free.
8. A Self-Care Day
You're more likely to have tough days when you're hard on yourself.
This year, try to change the pattern by being kind to your employees and promoting a self-care program at work that encourages employees to make themselves a priority.
Start by letting them take a day off and turn it into a self-care day. Share an itinerary of how to pamper oneself with good food, good movies, fun activities, or even a slow relaxing spa day. It can also include wholesome old reading habits or grooving to good music, doing anything that would boost serotonin levels.
Taking care of your employees will indefinitely reward you and the organization.
Self-care is how you take your power back.
Suggested read: This Winter Snack On Food That Boosts Serotonin
9. Eating Healthy
Eating healthy should be practiced more often as the food you consume affects your body physically and mentally. Studies have found that a change in diet can bring a lot of differences in your mental health too. Promoting employees' health and healthy dietary plans at work can benefit those struggling with what to eat for lunch.
Eating junk or processed food can affect emotional health too. According to a study by Molecular Psychiatric, eating junk, processed food, or alcohol can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Therefore, cut on those extra calories and start eating as healthy as possible. When feeling burned out or stressed, enjoying a fresh seasonal vegetable or fruit rich in vitamins and nutrients is always a good choice.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food .
10. Make Manifesting A Habit.
The art of manifesting is real, and if you wish for a positive start to the new year, you can start practicing or holding one session at work now. You attract what you create. Practicing this art might help people feel more empowered and confident if they're low on energy. It is similar to positive affirmations and will only feel more positive about everything if you make it a daily habit.
Manifesting can help to achieve the following -
Getting a better and clear vision of your goals
Embracing gratitude without caveat
Overcoming fear and self-doubts
Turning your negativity into inspirations
A daily dose of motivation
Be the energy you want to attract.
Summing it up
Healing takes time, and asking for help is always a courageous step.
There you have them: ten effective tips to help you combat the extra stress of blue Monday. I hope this article helped you find the right solution that is not complicated but easy to stick to for you and your employees.
Nevertheless, these January slumps can sometimes last longer and be more severe than they should be. And if you feel low or more than blue, you can always seek help since a simple solution cannot always fix some suffering.
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