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Blue Monday, the third Monday of January, is the so-called most depressing day of the year. It’s cold and dark, the credit card bill of Christmas is due, and we feel guilty for abandoning our New Year’s resolutions already. And it’s Monday.

Blue Monday and workplace mental health

According to the news it’s when we’re at our least productive and lowest of mood. There is at least a positive side to this. It’s actually in the news! The discussion around mental health in the workplace is gathering momentum, and rightfully so.

Removing the taboos which, for many people, have sent suffering minds into hiding is important and necessary. It can help erase some of the guilt that we put upon ourselves when asking for help.

Asking for mental health help at work

We all seem to have an unfortunate habit of thinking we’re the only ones struggling to hold it together. It’s a problem which gets worse the longer we wait for someone else to go first in admitting more support is needed.

Mental health issues can strike anyone, at any time, regardless of who you are, or what you do. Despite that knowledge, 1 in 4 senior workers admitted that they feel less support for their mental health, suggesting there is an unspoken expectation to set a ‘good example’ of getting on with it. But as a very wise man once pointed out, you don’t need an adultier adult, one who you think is better at adulting than you. We’re all just winging it. There is power in acknowledging that.

Mental health actions for employers

Being an approachable, understanding employer is a good starting point. Employees and colleagues are likely to speak up if they feel listened to, especially if there will be a useful outcome in doing so. This might include being flexible on working hours or from home or, where practical, making changes to the work environment and culture.

When someone hits a wall, it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. Undertaking mental health first aid training is available alongside other training courses. It can give you the practical skills needed to support someone in the workplace.

Self-employed mental health matters too

It’s not just for employers to support their employees. Self-employed workers also have a responsibility to look after themselves! Freelancers, contractors, sole traders, directors – though you’re the one running the show, try not to put yourself under pressure to be a hero.

If you work alone you might feel particularly isolated, and your thoughts may become more difficult to ignore without any outside context. Co-working spaces, or even popping out for a coffee, can ease some of the pressure.

Feel productive on Blue Monday and beyond

According to research from University of Exeter, Blue Monday has been behind as much as £93 billion in lost productivity. It might be worth getting ahead of the curve, and writing up a quick to do list to help stay focused. There are plenty of online tools which can help track tasks and productivity, and break them down into manageable sections. It will maybe ease some of the blind panic that comes with the pressure to perform when not at your best.

Taking aim at Blue Monday

Free staff lunches are part of the scenery here at TAP, so our Blue Monday is already a bit more cheerful. To help share some of that cheer, head over to our Facebook page for the chance to win a free hamper. Yippee!

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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