The worst Monday ever?
The third Monday of January is well known these days as the most depressing day of the year. As if January wasn’t already bad enough: it’s cold, Christmas is over, we’re all a bit skint and reality is back in full swing. And then, in 2004, psychologist coined the term ‘Blue Monday’ as a PR stunt to sell holidays, and it’s been stuck in our heads ever since. Why has it persisted for so long? It’s likely something to do with the fact it taps into something a lot of us are feeling already.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: What is it?
Whilst depression doesn’t just appear overnight, seasonal blues are absolutely real for some of us. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD as it’s more commonly known, is a form of depression that people experience during the autumn and winter months, when the days are shorter and there’s a lot less sunlight. Around 2 million people in the UK experience symptoms similar to depression during this period, including low mood, changes to their sleeping habits and not wanting to socialise or engage in previously enjoyable activities.
The Dangers of Trivialising Depression
The idea that there exists a ‘most depressing day of the year’ makes light of how serious depression can be. Mental health and the issues that come with managing it are the biggest health challenge of our generation, and to continue paying lip service to a made up day like Blue Monday is dangerous, and unacceptable.
There has been some push back; Samaritans run a campaign called Brew Monday each year, encouraging people to take time out, sit down with a cuppa and a catch up with the people around them, whether this be family, friends or colleagues. Checking in with those around you regularly can help people open up and share their feelings, and if there’s something more serious than a case of the January blues at play, can be the first step towards getting effective help from a medical professional.
Look after your mental health – it’s important
If you’re struggling with your mental health during the winter months, there are steps you can take to make life a little lighter. We miss daylight the most, so trying to get outside for some natural light regardless of the weather can help. If you struggle with this, try a SAD lamp, which mimics the light from the sun and has been proven to be effective. Ensuring you keep good sleeping habits, taking some gentle exercise each day, and making sure you stay connected with others will also be beneficial. You can view some more suggestions from Mind here. If you do feel like this is something that’s a more serious problem, please reach out to your GP to discuss it with them.
Mental health is an important topic for us here at Sewell Wallis. As we’ve scaled, we’ve purposely created a culture that’s caring and nurturing. We have Mental Health First Aiders in both offices, offer access to a confidential mental health helpline and we don’t work excessive hours. We’re acutely aware of how stress and life outside of work can affect people’s mental health, and so make a point of checking in with our people and encouraging them to be open.
Because we’ve witnessed first-hand the difference mental health support can make, we’re keen to help our clients in that area too. We can provide advice on getting started with mental health support at work as part of the holistic service we offer. If you’d like some free, friendly, expert advice on taking the first steps to providing mental health support in your organisation, get in touch today, and let’s talk.