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A positive mindset for the new year: Blue and Brew Monday 2024

Known as Blue Monday, the third Monday in January is considered to be the most depressing day of the year due to a post-holiday slump as well as harsh winter weather with fewer hours of daylight and colder temperatures.

However, Blue Monday is just a myth. What is considered a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ day can vary from person to person depending on their circumstances. It’s also important to distinguish the difference between ‘feeling down’ and experiencing depression. While Blue Monday isn’t scientifically proven, it serves as a reminder of the real impact seasonal changes can have on mental health.

Here’s our suggestions on how to beat the blues, not only on the 15th January 2024, but all year round:

  1. Foster a positive mindset by challenging negative thoughts and focusing on positive aspects of your life. Also, practice gratitude by reflecting on things you’re thankful for.
  2. Embrace your personal time with relaxing self-care by getting a massage, taking a warm bath or engaging in activities you enjoy.
  3. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, as lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of restlessness and low mood.
  4. Prioritise regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Even a short walk can make a significant difference. Consider trying a new form of exercise or joining a fitness class to make it more enjoyable.
  5. Spend time with your friends and loved ones. Social support is crucial for emotional wellbeing.
  6. Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. Certain foods, such as fruit and occasional sweet treats can positively impact your mood and energy levels. It is also important to stay hydrated as dehydration can affect mood and cognitive function.
  7. If you do have prolonged, intense feelings of sadness, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support and guidance.

When it comes to feelings of sadness and depression, it is important not to bottle things up. Try to tell people who are close to you how you feel. It is not weak to admit that you are struggling. Having ‘a good cry’ and talking things through is part of the mind’s natural healing mechanism.

Depression is extremely common, but so many people struggle to seek support. They feel there is a stigma attached and people will think they are weak. In reality however, some of the greatest people of our time have suffered with severe depression, including Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Dwayne Johnson and Katy Perry.

Some of the factors that cause major depression include a family history and an imbalance in your natural brain chemistry. Antidepressant medication is designed to correct this imbalance and is sometimes required. Over 70% of people respond rapidly to treatment and their lives return to normal within a few months. Modern antidepressants do not cause any physical dependency and are not addictive, however it is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the dosage and the length of time you take any medication prescribed.

One positive event on the same day is Brew Monday 2024. In response to Blue Monday, Samaritans “instead [want to] start a conversation over a brew!” Their suggestion is to “​Reach out and connect with family, friends, colleagues and loved ones” on Monday 15th January. The aim of the occasion is to raise awareness of mental health challenges and to support those struggling with thoughts of self-harming and even suicide.

Managers and employers have an opportunity on Brew Monday to connect their staff and foster a friendly, supportive network. This can be achieved by hosting a Brew Monday event by gathering teams together as an opportunity to catch up socially and to share valuable time together. Brew Monday events can run in person or virtually and can be especially beneficial for colleagues who don’t or can’t get into an office regularly.

Teams might want to turn Brew Monday into an event that helps to raise funds for charities, like Samaritans, the benefit of which being two-fold, firstly as an opportunity for participants to socialise and connect while they can also feel good about making a donation to a worthy cause.

What’s more, other worthy calendar events next month includes Dry January and ‘Walk Your Dog Month’, both of which will also help to improve your physical and mental wellbeing to kickstart your year.

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