Blue Monday: Our top tips for dealing with stress at work

If you’ve been feeling a little down recently, then it’s probably because Blue Monday has reared its head again.

Blue Monday is here. But how can you make it less “blue”? In this guide, we share a few tips which may help a hard day to become more bearable.

What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is on the third Monday of January every year and is commonly known as the most depressing day of the calendar.

It encompasses all those Monday morning feelings with the whole week ahead of you, and we realise that work can be very stressful at the best of times. We’ve come up with eight tips you can use to try to make work a more comfortable and stress-free place to be on this year’s Blue Monday.

Tip One: Define Your Priorities
We all have a lot on our plates at work, and sometimes it becomes overwhelming. If you have too many tasks, your productivity may suffer, making it difficult for you to concentrate. It can be challenging to complete the more significant tasks (which never seem to move forward) whilst you have many smaller adhoc tasks to finish. This is why it’s vital to take a step back and prioritise your tasks in order of importance and size. Break your tasks into manageable chunks and set yourself realistic deadlines. Ensure that you allow time to chip away at the more significant projects but also to complete the high priority, more minor tasks. Avoid procrastinating as this will worsen the situation; consider delegating tasks to team members who can pick them up (if possible).

Procrastination. We all do it, but it will only increase your stress levels in the long term.

Tip Two: Get A Good Sleep
Sleep is imperative for our brains to function correctly. A lack of sleep can make you tired, weak and altogether not yourself physically and mentally. It is also essential to get your body into a good sleep cycle, as sometimes just sleeping for a long time every once in a while isn’t enough; this is because your body will be shocked by the change in sleep pattern. So try to get into a healthy sleep schedule and stick to it.

Tip Three: Eat Right At The Right Times
It is essential to get the right food at the right time, just like sleep, it has both physical and mental effects on your body. Although a fair portion of us skip it, research has shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is because the name ‘breakfast’ breaks the overnight fasting period. It also boosts your energy levels and alertness, preparing you for the day ahead.

Tip Four: Take A Deep Breath
Cliche, but breathing exercises are one of the best ways to relieve stress in your body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. This has been proven to make your body feel similar to the way it does when you are generally in a relaxed situation.

Tip Five: Take Away Your Perspective
Often the stressful events inside the office are a subjective interpretation of the fact, seen through the filter of your doubt. However, it is beneficial to take a step back and remove your perspective from the situation and view it from a strictly factual standpoint. This will mean you’re less likely to take things personally and understand that issues are often not as significant and targeted towards you as you think they are.

Tip Six: Cool Down Fast
When we are angry or stressed, it can severely reduce our decision-making abilities and often cause us to say something wrong or act poorly. You can use the deep breathing technique, counting, or simply taking a break and removing yourself physically from the place of contention. Often, you will find that once that heated moment has passed, you’re able to look at the situation from a different, more positive perspective.

Tip Seven: Take Less Value In What Others Think Of You
Building your self-confidence and stopping seeking others’ approval is a great way to reduce self-imposed stress. If you become caught up with others perceptions of you, it will inevitably induce stress. As soon as you shift your focus to work rather than other people’s perception of your work, you will find you’re more likely to produce something awe-inspiring.

Tip Eight: Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated
It’s important to understand that you’re not the only person in the office, and you’re not the only one who gets stressed out in the workplace. Remember, if you treat others well and respectfully, they are more likely to treat you the same way, reducing your stress. Perhaps if you notice someone may be stressed or heated, do your best to take the upper hand in the situation and help out if you can, as it will become a more positive working environment.

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel
We hope these eight tips will help you hold your head a little higher and beat Blue Monday this year because sometimes all we need is a fresh perspective with a few pointers, and I can assure you we will be using these too.

And don’t forget, as each day comes to an end, we get a few minutes of extra sunlight. We are not that far away from the day when you see daffodils in bloom and a sense of Spring in the air.

January isn’t all doom and gloom, Spring is just around the corner, and soon, the dark evenings will be no more.

And if you’re an employer, then take a look at our 360-Assessment Feedback Survey Tool to find out exactly how your employees are feeling this Blue Monday; the results may surprise you.