Mental Health and Wellbeing: Tips for Tackling Blue Monday

Written by Ashley Quinn and Aphrodite Maratheftis

In today’s professional world, stress has become an ever-present companion for many. The workplace, intended to be a space of productivity and growth, often serves as a breeding ground for stressors that can take a toll on mental health and overall well-being. In fact the most common cause of stress is work-related stress with 79% saying they frequently felt it (Statistica).

This article offers insights, strategies, and actionable advice to not only manage the daily grind but also support your mental health and well-being. Moreover, as the daunting “Blue Monday” approaches, we’ll provide tips to tackle this day at work. Although the same can be applied to any day you may find particularly challenging. Helping you foster a healthier, more balanced approach to work and life, ensuring that the workplace becomes a space that nurtures both professional growth and mental well-being.

Understanding Workplace Stress

The factors that contribute to increased stress in the workplace, such as heavy workload, tight deadlines, interpersonal conflicts and even job insecurity can all lead to heightened anxiety and stress. Which in turn can bleed into other areas of your daily life, affecting how you interact with your friends, family or even strangers you meet in passing.

It can also damage one’s productivity and motivation to succeed in their role, as well as damaging their own sense of self. A high-stress work environment can create feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy in an employee. Studies have shown that 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov). And while it is up to the individual to identify and raise these stressors as they present themselves, it is also up to the employer to create an environment that tackles these issues head-on.

Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace

  • Committing to a wellbeing strategy and initiatives that support mental and physical health at work.
  • Ensuring that there are policies in place to manage mental health.
  • Identifying any risks to employees’ health and taking steps to prevent or reduce work related stress that adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • Fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment that promotes open communication regarding mental health and facilitates a healthy work-life balance.
  • Building positive relationships amongst colleagues and having regular wellbeing check ins with line managers.
  • Encouraging the use of employee assistance programs (EAPs) and mental health resources available through the firm.
  • Providing training on mental health and signposting to support services.
  • Providing practical tips for time management, prioritisation, and setting realistic goals to reduce stress.
  • Incorporating mindfulness, meditation, or relaxation techniques into the workday.
  • Communicating the importance of taking breaks, exercising, and engaging in hobbies outside of work to alleviate stress.

Tips for Tackling Blue Monday

Blue Monday is a term that was coined by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004. It took several factors that contribute to a low mood or melancholy, such as weather, debt and time since Christmas, and compiled it into a formula to identify the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. He has since gone on to refute the notion and called it a self-fulfilling prophecy (The Independent, 2022) however, it is still a challenging day for many due to the same reasons listed above and more.

Whether or not you feel the effects of Blue Monday, the following tips will help you tackle any day you find difficult both in and out of the workplace.

  • Having social support from your colleagues is paramount to a welcoming work environment. Particularly with the shift to home working increasing since the pandemic, the day to day can become more isolating. Organising regular socials and group activities is sure to boost camaraderie among co-workers. Why not schedule a group lunch this Blue Monday, to perk up everyone’s day.
  • You should incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine. This should be a common practise but especially if you are feeling low on Blue Monday. Try get out for a walk in the morning, morning sunlight has proven benefits such as increased energy and balancing your circadian rhythm to help you sleep better at night. You can also take regular breaks from the screen and trying some chair stretches while at your desk, to reduce stress and tension on the back neck and shoulders.
  • Small acts of kindness and practising gratitude are easily achievable goals that can improve your mood and overall wellbeing. Something as simple as holding the door for someone, helping a colleague with an IT problem, or taking a few minutes to write down what you are grateful for will help you appreciate your day in a healthy way. Reflective meditation in or outside of the workplace is also a wonderful habit to make.

All these small tweaks to your daily and working life can be made gradually. It is best to choose maybe one or two to start with, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the new changes. Do what feels right for you and your mental health.

Enquiry Form

We'll only use this information to handle your enquiry and we won't share it with any third parties. For more details see our Privacy Policy