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Banish Those Blue Monday Blues

Author: Emma Allison
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What's your favourite day of the week? I can bet it's not a Monday. We all know the feeling: you've had an amazing weekend and then those niggling feelings start to creep into the back of your mind, late on Sunday afternoon. We’ve all been there and it’s common to struggle to get into the swing of things on a Monday morning. But what about on the Monday-ist Monday of the year?

Today (Monday 20th January 2020) has been singled out and named Blue Monday by Psychologist and life coach Dr Cliff Arnall, for being the most depressing day of the year. According to Dr Arnall, Blue Monday, the third Monday of each New Year, is the most miserable day of the year due to people’s general discomfort in the middle of January, when struggling with things like the cold weather, low motivation and facing failed New Year’s resolutions.

This year however, Blue Monday has been called out by experts who say that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this Monday is worse than any other and that its very existence trivialises depression and mental illness.

Whether you believe in the Blue Monday hype or not, sometimes we all need a little help to get motivated and here are some things you can do to have a happy and productive day, any day of the week.

Start off by getting yourself into a positive mindset before you arrive at work, so that you can breeze in and make a difference to the mood of your colleagues, as well as your own. Your bosses will appreciate the raising of spirits too, given that the mental wellbeing of their employees can make a huge difference to the quantity of work achieved - your bubbly mood might even rub off on them too.

Preparation is the key to wellbeing at work

The key to taking the stress out of your mornings, is prepping as much as possible. Anything that can remove some of the inevitable tension will help, even if it's only making your lunch the night before. If you can do something in advance, without it taking over your weekend, then add it to the list to boost your wellbeing at work.

Take time out the evening before to relax: have a bath, listen to your favourite chill-out music, or read a few chapters of that new novel you got in the Secret Santa and be sure you get an early night.  Limiting your screen time can also help you to drift off to sleep.

Taking the time to focus on your breathing can help you to remain calm and present; so it might be worth investing in a mindfulness app that can guide you through meditation and exercises that aim to bring your mind into the moment. When you get up ditch the head banging rock songs and play your most motivating, feel good playlist to inspire you for a challenging week ahead.

Make the most of your commute

This idea can be a little bit tougher, but on your commute into the office, resist the urge to dive straight into your social media feeds. It’s hard to not give in to having a quick swipe through your Insta stories, but reading just one bad post in amongst everything you see, can leave you feeling seriously deflated. The same goes for watching, reading or listening to news reports, instead load up your phone or tablet with novels or inspiring podcasts for some serious morning motivation, and take yourself to a place where you control the mood.

Another thing that might work is to make contact with the friend or relative you've been meaning to get in touch with. It doesn't matter who is the first to break the silence: if no one does, it will never happen. But once you’ve reached out, you can then look forward to their reply.

To keep that positive mental attitude fuelled, take a few minutes before you start work to list, in your mind, all the things you’re grateful for. Don't worry if you struggle to come up with anything at first, it can be something as simple as you’re grateful for a new week.

You've made it in, now what?

Try and find something to make you smile: you’ll feel better and smiling is contagious. Try to also find small ways to share your positivity, maybe offer to make the first brew round of the week? That’s sure to make everyone smile!

Incorporating exercise into your day can really give your physical and mental wellbeing a boost. The middle of January is not the best time to be soaking up the sun, but get yourself outside for a brisk walk round the block at lunchtime. Even if there is no sun you will still absorb some energising vitamin D from the natural light, all helping towards wellbeing at work.

Dodge The Post-Lunch Downturn

Post-lunchtime drowsiness might kick in as you digest your perfect meal prep, so if your positive resolve is failing you in the afternoon, make a list of things you’ve got lined up to look forward to. If there’s nothing on the horizon then get group conversations going and organise something. Having a weekend adventure, a catch up over coffee, or a drink with friends locked down in the diary can help to maximise your motivation.

Hopefully, adopting a couple of these suggestions will give you a new sense of motivation and help if you’re struggling to make the best of a miserable Monday. You can also find lots more hints and tips for achieving wellbeing at work on our LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

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