Each year, a Monday around the middle of January is now known as Blue Monday. I always read with interest the posts and chatter in relation to this day - generally, opinion seems to fall in to two camps:
1. Blue Monday is a chance to try to be positive and reach out to those around us.
2.Blue Monday is a man-made fad, and that therefore it should be ignored, as every day can be blue, and therefore we should always be trying to look after our mental health.
I agree that it is important that we think about our mental health and the mental health of others as a permanent thing. We all have mental health, and this can fluctuate - we can have good mental health, poor mental health, average mental health, and this can vary from day to day, week to week and so on. I don't think there is any doubt that January can be a challenging month, with the cold weather, dark nights and the post Christmas lull. However, there are other triggers in life, or no obvious triggers at all, that can result in someone feeling blue at any time of year - we are all different.
It won't be a surprise given my passion and experiences, that I am a huge advocate of focussing on our health and wellbeing as a way of life. On the flip side, if we do feel down, blue or depressed, then it is absolutely crucial that we do not ignore that feeling, and feel comfortable to open up and seek help from others.
It is that last line above, why I don't mind things like Blue Monday, or Mental Health Awareness days...as it gets people talking about mental health, and that can only be a good thing. So, when our social media feeds are full of things like Blue Monday content, whilst for some the urge could be to roll their eyes, just remember that for some people, this might give someone just the nudge to seek out the help they need. Stigma is the biggest challenge we face in people seeking support for poor mental health - anything which can reduce that stigma, can only be a good thing.
When working with organisations looking at mental health in the workplace, one of the questions I often get asked is about whether they should do something as an organisation for their colleagues, on mental health awareness days. My response is always 'yes'. Again, even if just for a day, mental health is top of the agenda and is 'at front of mind', which is a huge positive. These conversations might then continue into other days and weeks etc. Of course, the work I do with organisations encourages proactive behaviours and strategies which promotes open conversation, reduced stigma and has colleague wellbeing and experience at the heart of everything they do, every day.
So, whilst things like Blue Monday don't provide all of the answers, they can help in moving us a little bit closer.
Blue Monday - friend or foe? For me, friend. With that in mind, why not check in with a friend today?
Take care - until next time...