What a year 2022 has been! And as it draws to a close, the blues may be just around the corner.
Blue Monday is traditionally the name given to the third Monday of January (16th), which is seen as the saddest, most depressing day of the year. Combining the post-Christmas downer of getting back to reality and back to work, with worries about our Christmas spending.
The term ‘Blue Monday’ may be fiction, but the post-Christmas blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder is very real. The dark evenings drawing in and energy-sapping grey days that barely dawn can be a catalyst for many struggling with their mental health already.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
SAD is a type of depression that tends to come and go seasonally. It’s often known as the “winter depression” because symptoms tend to be more apparent and severe during the winter months.
Symptoms can include:
- A persistently low mood.
- Irritability and a lack of motivation.
- The desire to sleep a lot more than usual, with feelings of lethargy and worthlessness
- Low self-esteem.
- A general feeling of emptiness.
What can we do to make ourselves feel better?
The most straightforward steps can make even the most minor difference to our wellbeing and how we feel daily. Here are a few tips from HR Revolution:
- Although SAD does make people want to hibernate like a bear, getting enough sleep is one of the best things we can do. Regular sleep patterns are also key.
- If you do tend to suffer from SAD and post-Christmas blues, try to give yourself the gift of enjoying the festive season in the way you’d like–and not how others think you should. And if that’s a bit tricky – set some boundaries!
- Wrap yourself up warm and toasty and get out in nature. Try to get outside for a good brisk winter walk as often as you can each day! Fresh air, the sun on your face (no matter how weak) and the feeling of nature around you is one of the best therapies.
- Many people find cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or light therapy can alleviate symptoms.
- Cut right back on social media and the news. Take a break over Christmas and see how little you’ll have missed and how much lighter you’ll feel.
- Watch some of your favourite television or listen to music. Indulge yourself in some fun on the box and absorb yourself in another world.
- Exercise in whatever way you enjoy (see walking above). Moving naturally increases serotonin levels and will boost your energy levels too.
- Read (or listen to) some inspiring books. There are some fantastic self-development and self-help books out there – real gems – so go and do some research.
- Talk to people. You won’t be alone in feeling like you’ve lost your mojo, are dreading going back to work or fear what might happen to your business in 2023. Sharing a worry is valuable for feeling better. Start conversations which will inspire you about how to put a spring back into your step.
- If you are a business owner, take time out to brainstorm ideas. Write out your goals for 2023 and then get a plan in place. If you want things to change, change starts with you – and that’s for a whole other blog!
Try to keep a mini diary of how you feel over a couple of weeks to see what has made a difference and what you might incorporate into your everyday routines to help you feel positive all year round. Mental health has taken a battering after a roller coaster few years. It’s down to us as individuals to ensure that we are happier, healthier and pursue a life that gives us balance in 2023. Employers also have a role to play, and HR Revolution knows how vital wellbeing is in a workforce. A healthy, happy workforce is a more productive workforce.
Download our free ‘Guide To Employee Wellbeing and Team Resilience’ and speak to our team if you need any direct help with policies, procedures or any wellbeing issues in your organisation.
We can be an extra HR resource to supplement your in-house team or run any aspect of your HR for you. Our services are available on a one-off, on account basis or as a regular package. Contact our friendly and experienced team to discuss your requirements: firstname.lastname@example.org.