Beat the Blue Monday Blues

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips

Monday January 15, 2024 (or the third Monday of January), is known as the saddest day of the year. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians will experience mental illness in any given year, and an estimated two to three per cent of Canadians are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD).   

What is Blue Monday?  

Blue Monday was first coined by Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005 and was published as part of a press release by Sky Travel. The third Monday of January was selected as the date due to the cold weather, dark nights, debts accumulated over the holidays, and failed New Year’s resolutions. While Blue Monday was originally used to get people to book a post-holiday vacation, it has since become a commonly used and recognized term.  

How can you combat feeling blue?  

There are a few things you can do to help mitigate the symptoms of Blue Monday, and other blue days, and we would like to discuss some today.  

Use your network  

Often, when experiencing sadness, being alone can make those feelings worse. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of your network and talk about your struggles. Reach out to family, friends, a trusted colleague, and use the resources available if you require immediate assistance or professional help.  

Get outside  

Again, when isolated, you may feel more alone, which intensifies your emotions. As the weather permits safe outdoor activities, take advantage of the fresh air and sunlight. While it isn’t the same as enjoying the sun during the warmer weather, a change of scenery and moving your body can do wonders for your mind. According to Healthline, sunlight can often help ease symptoms like low mood and fatigue. Light therapy can also help with improving your emotional health. Incorporating more vitamin D into your routine may also help regulate your mood and benefit your overall mental well-being. 

Ditch resolutions  

With the new year arriving, you are likely bombarded with images and talk of new year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions, often bombarding us with images of self-improvement, can sometimes be unrealistic, leading to frustration. Instead, set achievable goals, such as decluttering a space or saving for a vacation. 

Giving yourself something to work toward will help with motivation and feeling accomplished.  

For employers it is important to have mental health programs and resources available to your employees who may be struggling. Some individuals may feel comfortable seeking help from management, while others may not. Therefore, watch for those who may be exhibiting stress or exhaustion, or changes in behaviour or work performance. Maintaining and encouraging mental health support in the workplace is an important aspect to any business.

Regarding mental health, whether it’s Blue Monday or an ordinary day, prioritizing your well-being in both your personal and professional life is crucial to your overall health. Remember that there are resources available, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support when needed.