The 17th January will soon be upon us and it has been given the name ‘Blue Monday’ because it is said to be the most depressing day of the year. However, this concept was originally devised as a PR stunt to sell holidays and there are no actual statistics to support this claim. We know that everyone is unique, our good and bad days aren’t dictated by a calendar.
Having said that - yes, January is cold, wet, perhaps a bit miserable and maybe an anti-climax following on from the holidays. So, today I’d like to share a few ideas for actions that can help improve mood.
Increase your hug intake – yes, it may seem like an odd one, but hugs raise your levels of oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with a reduction in blood pressure and the stress hormone norepinephrine.
Watch something funny – laughter is wonderful for your health. It can help you ease out of a stress response and soothe tension.
Get outside – I know you’ll have heard this one before, but I think at this time of year, when it’s tempting to stay indoors, it’s worth reminding ourselves that being outside in nature has numerous health benefits including, reducing feelings of stress, and increasing feelings of relaxation.
Connect – the Samaritans have brilliantly chosen to debunk the blue Monday myth and encourage ‘Brew Monday’ instead, a time to reach out and connect with others. “So we say it's time to stop this myth about Monday being 'blue' and instead start a conversation over a brew! Reach out and connect with family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.”
Connection is a great way to support our mental wellbeing so why not support Brew Monday by inviting your colleagues to a virtual cuppa! You can read more here.
Raise awareness – build awareness of your own unique signs that your (or others) mental health may be deteriorating so you can recognise when you may need extra support or professional help. The signs and symptoms of stress and mental health conditions is something we talk a lot about in our mental health awareness training to help build that knowledge base.
This month to raise awareness and highlight the topic of suicide (1 in 15 will attempt suicide in their lifetime) on Monday 17th January at 12:30pm my colleagues Mark O’Grady and Richard Martin will be hosting a webinar where they will explore the importance of Suicide First Aid and what you can do to help support those in crisis. You can sign up here.