Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January, alleged to be the most depressing day of the year. The name was first coined in 2005 as a PR exercise, and mental health charities do not support the concept of a specific date being ‘depressing’ as it belittles the reality of depression for millions of sufferers*.
Nevertheless, the date was “Calculated” by the following equation:
[W + (D - d)] x TQ
M x Na
where W=weather, D=debt, d=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing our new year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels, and Na=the feeling of a need to take action
Whether you agree with the equation or not, this time of the year can feel like a hard slog. The partying is over, our wallets are lighter, our bodies are heavier and it feels like a long time until the days get longer, providing us with our required levels of Vitamin D.
To reclaim ‘Blue Monday’’, here are some suggestions for getting your working year off to a positive start:
- When you write your To Do List this year, tick things on the list rather than removing them altogether
Keeping lists that are never complete can feel like a constant uphill struggle. The reality is that you achieve a lot, but when you remove the completed tasks from the list you forget how much you have already achieved. Keeping the completed items visible is a simple way to remind yourself how much you have done, rather than focusing on what’s yet to be completed.
- Invest time in the relationships you have at work
We are naturally social beings - we have evolved to coexist in social structures that are mutually beneficial to the members of the group and the continuation of the species. Work is no different! We cannot run a company alone. We are dependent on our colleagues and clients in order to remain operational. But, just being in the presence of people is not enough. We invest extraneous effort for people we have a connection with. Whether it is friendship, respect or a shared experience, we would rather work with/for people we share some degree of personal connection with than people we have no personal or professional affiliation with.
This year, take time to ask your team about their evening / weekend / holiday and really listen to their answer - learn something about your colleagues outside of work and share something of yourself. When you understand each other beyond the superficial, your work will be more purposeful and enjoyable too.
- Learn something new
Personal Growth is one of the key drivers for engagement according to Best Companies. Whether you aspire to Professional or Personal growth, it doesn't matter. But set yourself one new thing to learn this year and grow as a person.
- Stop and appreciate the small things
If you’re having a tough day at the office, remember not to put happiness off until you achieve X,Y or Z. Learn to find happiness in all the small things around you. A sunny day. A smile from a stranger. A meeting that went well. A colleague demonstrating new skills. Allow yourself to savour these small things, and over time you will realise you're not waiting for the big things to make you happy anymore, but you can find happiness all around you.
- Allow yourself to fail and be honest about it
Creating a culture where it's ok to try and fail encourages creative thinking and openness. Fear of humiliation at work closes down creativity and risk taking, ultimately limiting what the business can achieve.
Find an opportunity to share with your colleagues something that went wrong last year and identify what you’ve learned from it and how you know to avoid the same pitfall now. Encourage them to do the same so you can grow together as a team and build trust in the power of authenticity in the workplace.
*Message from Mind:
“Depression can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
There is no credible evidence to suggest that one day in particular can increase the risk of people feeling depressed. There are of course certain things that may make people feel down at this time of year, such as post-Christmas financial strains, broken New Year’s resolutions, bad weather and short daylight hours. However, depression is not just a one day event.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one then it is important to seek support. Our website has lots of information on depression including tips for helping yourself and guidance for friends and family.” https://www.mind.org.uk/
Written by Debbie Martin, Chief Happiness Officer at AND Digital