21st January 2020
The third Monday of January has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Christmas is long gone, it’s cold and dark outside, we’ve broken our new year’s resolutions, and our bank balances aren’t looking healthy. ‘Blue Monday’ is over for another year, but we shouldn’t stop focussing on our mental health.
The term was devised by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004 when a holiday company asked him for a scientific formula for the January blues to encourage people to book holidays abroad. However, there’s nothing scientific about it and its inventor has tried to retire it.
Employers are implementing positive changes when it comes to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. There are simple ways an organisation can improve its HR to benefit its employees. Using cloud -based HR software to support mental health initiatives benefits both the employer and employee. Managers can manage absences through the system and upload documents, like mental health tips. Businesses can use analysis of absence information to better understand the stresses on their workforce.
The best HR software makes it easier for employees to book holidays, and with a cloud-based app, they can do it from anywhere at any time. Looking forward to a holiday can boost your mental health. Planning for it at home and away from the stresses of work allows an employee to better liaise with family and friends to do that.
Here are five tips for managing your mental health:
Exercise releases happy endorphins and chemicals as well as giving you some ‘me time’. The NHS recommends adults should complete 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Or a combination of both.
There are many great ways you can get more exercise into the workday such as using the stairs instead of the lift and getting off your bus home a stop earlier and walking the remainder of the journey.
Other ways to get some ‘me time’ are to do things that you enjoy. Maybe it’s a hobby, reading a book, or having a hot bubble bath. Laughter is a great medicine too. Taking some time to recharge can benefit you in the long term and help you destress. It also provides time for you to look at the new year’s resolutions you set and check how you’re getting on and if they’re realistic or not. There’s no harm in refocusing and aiming for something more achievable. This can provide a boost to your mental health.
Connect with Others
Grabbing a cuppa in the office kitchen. Going for a walk with a colleague on your lunch break. It’s important to chat to others and check in. Generally, we find it’s much easier to advise other people than it is to advise ourselves. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.
What and how we eat can have an impact on our mental health. It’s important to eat breakfast to kick start the day and fit in lunch and dinner. Sweet foods can make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly which can make you feel tired, irritable, and depressed. Instead, focus on slow-release energy foods to keep you going. Examples include pasta, rice, oats, nuts, and wholegrain bread and cereals.
A good night’s sleep can make us feel much better and prepared for the day ahead. Most adults need between six and nine hours a night. Sleeping at regular times gets your body clock into a routine. It’s important to wind down before bed and make sure your bedroom is sleep-friendly.
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