Blue Monday might be a myth. But supporting wellbeing is definitely real.

Blue Monday is a great dance track from New Order. It’s also claimed to be the saddest day of the year thanks to the post-Christmas blues, lack of money, long, dark nights, cold weather and lower motivation levels.

Or is it? Blue Monday was actually invented back in 2005 by Sky Travel Shop, a television channel devoted exclusively to programmes about travel and travel agencies. With a little help from psychologist, Cliff Arnall, they came up with the idea as a PR stunt to sell more winter holiday deals! Apparently Cliff used a mathematical formula to work out that the third Monday of January is the saddest day of the year. So this year, Blue Monday is the 16th of January.

So there you go, it’s all made up and has just been invented to help sell holidays abroad. But this doesn’t alter the fact that the post-Christmas and New Year period can be difficult for many people. This makes it a good time to take extra care of your own mental health and the people you live and work with. Here are some small tips that can make a big difference to your wellbeing.

1. Use this day to check in on yourself and others

Loneliness and stress are buzzwords when talking about hybrid working. If you’re a hybrid worker, you’re apart from others, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose connection with your co-workers. The truth is, we can still connect with colleagues just like we would in the office – some people like the conversation and banter of the traditional office, while others are content with simple check-ins.

We can do all of this with Microsoft Teams which has made it easier to connect with colleagues virtually. You can do small things like voice memos, so people can hear your tone and expression, open up the conversation to different reactions and even schedule weekly social catch-ups with your team. These will all help you feel connected to others in a remote work environment.

2. Try for a better break

Whatever business you’re in, it’s sometimes hard to establish the right time to take a break. Your company should give you guidance on when you can do this. When you do take your break, it’s important that you give your body time to rest and recharge ready for work again. Here are some great ways to do this:

Leave the room

If you have the luxury of a home office, make sure you take regular breaks – and that means removing yourself from that room. Go downstairs, make a drink and enjoy it looking out of the window or actually sitting in the garden (hopefully it will start getting warmer soon). Do a little tidying up, wash some dishes or potter around the garden. Leaving your workspace means that you’ll definitely get that much-needed break – and won’t accidentally work through it.

Tired? Yeah, go for a nap

Believe it or not, having a nap on your break can help you feel better. It may seem counter-productive to have a nap when you’re at work, but companies like Uber and Google have designated rooms in their offices to allow staff to have a quick 40 winks on their break. Even Leonardo Da Vinci had 20-minute naps every four hours and he did OK. A quick 20-minute nap has been proven to help you feel refreshed and energetic.

Green is go

We all know about the benefits of going outside, even in January. Having daily time outside away from computer screens has been scientifically proven to boost your mental health and well-being. Better still, as it’s January, it will be dark and cold by the time you finish work. So using your break during the day gives you chance to go for a walk or to the park while it’s still light outside.

3. Know your boundaries and be open about them

Everyone’s life is unique, with different responsibilities, cultures, personal commitments and workloads. But remote working can sometimes make it difficult to separate your personal life from your work life.

Some people might assume that you or other team members are happy to commit to late-night workloads, or are always free to take a phone call. This can cause stress, anxiety and friction for you and your team. Being open and honest about what you can and can’t do will really help you create a good work-life balance and contribute to better overall team well-being. And don’t forget about the many useful features within Viva Insights in Microsoft Teams that help with this:

  • Respect the status! Use your status in Teams to indicate when you are available or busy, and stick to it.
  • Turn on your quiet hours on your mobile devices to stop unwanted notifications coming through in your personal time.
  • Keep a check of how many days you’re working outside of your hours using the wellbeing section in Insights.

More resources

Of course, wellbeing is subjective so some of these tips might not work for you, and that’s OK. If you’d like a little more support or advice, here are some resources that could help: