Monday 15th January 2018 is ‘Blue Monday.’ If you’re not familiar with it, the date is supposedly calculated from a range of factors – the weather, post-holiday blues, Christmas debts and lack of motivation. The term was coined back in 2005, though it was apparently originally intended to inspire change and motivate people at the beginning of the year.
January may be a genuinely difficult time for some. The Mental Health Foundation states that Blue Monday is a myth, with no scientific basis – we know, of course, that people experience mental health problems all year round.
With this in mind, we’ve collated five ideas that’ll help you reclaim the day – and focus on the good.
- Be kind
Our work at People Lab is driven by positive psychology. We know that helping others with random acts of kindness can significantly improve the happiness of everyone involved.
The Mental Health Foundation has listed 50 random acts of kindness ideas to help you get started – from walking a friend’s dog, to baking a cake for your colleagues. Simply click on the number generator to reveal your random act of kindness – then perform it to share some positivity! You can also download the poster to display in your office, to give your colleagues a few ideas.
- Spread some joy
You’ve probably been seeing Blue Monday themed posts all day online, so why not spread a little joy to brighten up your social streams? People everywhere are now sharing their favourite summer garden photos (using #summergarden), to combat the grey and fill Twitter with colour. A quick browse was enough to make me smile – summer is on the way!
- Count your blessings
It’s important for all of us to take time to think about the good things in our lives, though it’s not something we always remember to actively do. Happiness jars can be a great way to do this – simply write a short note about a positive experience, every day, and add it to a jar. This not only helps with daily positivity, but provides a fantastic record of the best moments throughout the year to reflect on. You could have one at home, or one at work – or both!
Writing down our positive experiences has been shown to increase happiness. Shawn Achor’s 21 Day Challenge recommends journaling one positive experience every day, as well as writing down three things you’re grateful for. Why not take the challenge yourself, and reclaim Blue Monday as the first day? Find out more in this short Ted Talk.
- Offer to help
We all have days when we feel less-than-motivated – and support from friends, family or colleagues can often help significantly. If one of your colleagues is feeling snowed under, offer to help where you can. Is there something you could take off their hands, that’d make their day much better?
Alternatively, the simple offer of a cup of tea and a chat could make a difference. What are they struggling with, and is there something you could do that’d help? Working through a problem together could relieve some of the stress they may be feeling.
- Turn the day around
This time of year is a great period to reflect on what you’ve achieved as an organisation over the last twelve months – and it’s an especially great time to think ahead. What exciting plans have you got for the coming year? Take some time out to share this with your colleagues, to help inspire and motivate them.
As well as focusing on the positive things you have (or will) achieve at work, you could also consider reclaiming the day for giving in your organisation. Brew Monday, a campaign from The Samaritans, encourages people to get together with friends, family or colleagues to reflect on the good – whilst also raising money for those in need. You can follow the campaign on Twitter (#brewmonday), or sign up to fundraise for the charity.
These ideas aren’t restricted to Blue Monday, of course – in fact, we think it’s important to focus on the positive all year round. Taking care of yourself, and those around you, is important every day.