January can be a tricky month for our mental health, with many of us struggling with the wintry weather, dark evenings and post-Christmas come down. Combine all of this with ‘that Monday feeling’ and you get Blue Monday; the name given to the third Monday in January and thought to be the most depressing day of the year.

Blue Monday 2022 falls on Monday 17th January.   

At Hable, employee wellbeing is a huge priority for us, and we are dedicated to ensuring every single member of #TeamHable feels that their mental health is looked after at work. As part of this, we started an internal conversation about the best ways to combat these ‘blue’ feelings: 

Our top 10 tips to beat the January blues this Blue Monday

1. Get outside during the day

We all know getting outside has huge benefits for our mental health and wellbeing, but, with daylight only lasting until around 4pm during winter, it’s harder to reap the benefits. 
 
Making some time during your day to get outside, even if it’s only for a short while, can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve concentration. 

2. Try to eat well

What we put into our bodies can dramatically impact our physical health, but it has a huge effect on our mental health too. This 2017 study, for example, found that diets high in saturated fat can dramatically impact our cognitive functionImproving your diet through eating nutritious foods can improve your overall wellbeing by lifting mood, boosting your energy, and helping to improve your self-esteem. 

3. Stay active

Keeping physically active is one of the best ways to look after mental health, with studies showing that some form of physical activity can boost your mood, improve sleep and manage stress.  
 
It doesn’t have to be a heavy gym session or daily marathon, but some form of exercise is a great way to keep your mental health on track. 

4. Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a proven way to look after your mental health, helping to improve your mood, improve your optimism, and make you feel happier overall.  
 
It helps you appreciate the smaller things in life, and is something you can start doing right away. You might start a gratitude journal to note down things you’re grateful for that day, spend some time each evening reflecting on the day, or make more of a conscious effort to really pay attention to the little things

5. Talk about how you’re feeling

We all know the feeling of relief after getting something off our chests. If you’re struggling, opening up and talking about how you’re feeling can be a great way to help you cope, and feel less alone.

Blue Monday 2022: Beat the blues

6. Stay on top of your to-do list

It’s always a satisfying moment to cross something off of your to-do list, but what happens when it becomes overwhelming and the tasks pile up? It can become the source of anxiety.  
 
Keeping on top of your tasks and staying productive is a great way to manage these feelings. In this study by professors Baumeister and Masicampo, they found that despite tasks we haven’t done distracting us, just making a plan to get them done can free us from this anxiety. 

7. Brighten up your environment 

Your environment can have a huge effect on your mental health, whether that’s the clutter in your bedroom, the mess on your desk, or even the area you live in.  
 
One of the major factors effecting our mood is light, something that is especially important to recognise in the darker winter months. Studies show that rooms with bright light, even if that’s artificial, can improve depression and anxiety.  

8. Make time for your hobbies

Having hobbies and dedicating time to things you enjoy is a great way to improve your mood and reduce stress, with research showing that people with hobbies being much less likely to suffer from low mood and depression.  

9. Stay connected with loved ones

Having a strong support group is crucial when you’re feeling low, as it helps to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Staying in touch with your loved ones is great for your mental health, but also probably theirs too!

If you feel like you might struggle to meet up with someone face-to-face, something as simple as sending a “hi, how are you?” message can go a long way.  

10. Accept that it’s okay to not be okay

Finally, it’s important to accept that it’s okay to not be okay. We all have bad days and there is absolutely no shame in that. This quote from our Senior Learning Consultant, Lisa Henderson-Clark, sums it up perfectly: 
 
“It’s ok to feel down and blue – we don’t always have to fix it. And remember, this too shall pass.” 

Top tips from #TeamHable

Each of these tips has come from someone within #TeamHable, shared during an open, honest, company-wide conversation about our mental health and how we cope. 

Below you can scroll through the tips, and read about who benefits from the tip and how:

Blue Monday 2022: Mental health resources

Here are some fantastic organisations that you can reach out to if you’re struggling with your mental health, both during Blue Monday 2022 and beyond:

More from #TeamHable