The reasons why I'm not buying into the 'Blue Monday' narrative this year

Every year in January, the third Monday is labelled as ‘Blue Monday’. And there’s plenty of reasons it seems for us to feel ‘blue’ at this time – as the credit card bills roll in, many of us are feeling the pinch from being paid a bit earlier in December, it feels like an eternity until payday again, it’s cold and the days are short, the excess pounds we gained over Christmas are still clinging on, we’re feeling the effects of the ‘new year, new you’ pressure to set lofty goals and give something up… and the list just goes on!

But just because the media says it is Blue Monday, should we feel ‘blue’? I don’t know about you, but the credit card bills come in monthly for me at the moment, and there are always other challenges, no matter what the month or day of the week.

The Reality of ‘Blue Monday’  

Interestingly, following a quick Google search, according to various articles Blue Monday was a concept based on a mathematical calculation which took lots of factors into account and determined the 3rd Monday in January was the most depressing of the year. It turned out to be a PR stunt by a travel company, and the person who was alleged to have developed the calculation, now tries to distance himself from it.

There is no denying it has been a really tough few years for everyone in some way, and there seems little respite. Current news reports around the ever-increasing cost of living, ongoing conflict and disaster around the globe which is going to further exacerbate the cost of living and that we are in a climate crisis can make it all feel a bit overwhelming and makes grim reading and watching. But I didn’t feel particularly ‘blue’ on Monday and I don’t want to be persuaded that I should have done either, just because it was ‘Blue Monday’, if anything it snuck up on me this year and passed relatively unnoticed.

What I have actually realised, and I am happy to share this with you, but I just find January a hard month. All the fun and frivolity from Christmas has passed by, I have had some downtime to switch off and so find it hard to get back into the swing of it, the Christmas party or secret santa complaints land on my desk (one of each so far), it’s cold, it’s dark and everyone is on a health kick swinging from overindulgence to deprivation.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Our Wellbeing 

Rather than buying into Blue Monday, I like to take a more holistic and general approach to my personal wellbeing preferring to focus my energies on looking back over the last year and looking forward to the year ahead. I take time to reflect on what’s gone well, what’s been challenging and why, what have I enjoyed doing and what has been hard to get enthused about, what feels like unfinished business and think about where do I want to go from here. I am considering my learnings, my achievements, the amazing people I have worked with and met and the support I have provided. I have an amazing support network around me enabling me to run my business my way and I am mindful and so grateful for that.

Personal Wellbeing Strategies for Blue Monday and Beyond… 

Rather than think of it as Blue Monday, perhaps we should take a bit of advice from the Samaritans who have suggested it should be ‘Brew Monday’ or ‘Brew anyday’ instead. Rather than be blue because we are told to, start a conversation and be a good friend and listener. But for now, here are a few of my tips for looking after yourself.

Take a moment to check-in with yourself: 

  • Take a break, right now, put the kettle on, grab a biscuit, yes, a nice chocolatey one and call or message a friend or colleague to check in on them. 
  • Think about how you are really feeling? 
  • What do you need right now and what can you put in place to get the support you need? Or what support can you offer someone else if you are feeling good? 
  • When was the last time you took a bit of time out for yourself? – doing something you love or with people you love – take some time out for your self-care, crafting, cooking, baking, walking, reading, listening to music, watching a movie, meditation or a candlelit soak in the bath. We have all heard it time and time again, exercise makes you feel better, and its annoyingly true, I am very reliant on a need for a walk and some fresh air each day, and Maisiemoomoochops (the schnoodle) helps with that. 
  • Reflect and try and focus on the positives, what has gone well, what has helped you cope, what have you achieved – however big or small, what support and love do you have around you. 
  • Perhaps reduce newsfeed content for a couple of days to give yourself space if it feels like it is getting too much. 
  • Set daily goals and objectives to give a bit of structure, particularly if working from home, maybe try journaling or bullet journaling. 
  • Don’t set too many goals or objectives if it makes them unrealistic, keep it real and achievable. 

Wellbeing Strategies at Work  

You might feel it’s easy for me to make suggestions on self-care and focus on positives if you aren’t feeling that way right now, and today for me is clearly an up day, and I am running with it.  But if the reality for you is different and you are feeling low, you are struggling but this has been going on for a while and feels a bit more than having an off day or week, that’s OK too, but please try not to cope alone or let things drag on too long, early intervention is key to recovery.

As a Qualified Mental Health First Aider, I would urge you to take the following actions: 

  • Speak to someone, don’t leave things to become more and more consuming, you need to let go of some of the stress or worry you are feeling; 
  • Speak to your line manager if you are struggling at work, they may be able to help with workload, priorities or working hours and help take some of the pressure off, they may be able to make a referral to an Occupational Health Advisor; 
  • Your workplace may have a Mental Health First Aider, if so ask to have a chat with them, they are trained to know how to work with you to assess the situation and assist you, they will offer support and give information as needed and appropriate; 
  • Do you have access to an Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) helpline through your workplace? If so, they will be available and able to help, and may even be able to provide free counselling, this may even include financial management or debt management advice (if needed); 
  • Think about whether a discussion with your GP or other health professional might be beneficial – it doesn’t automatically mean you will be placed on medication, labelled with a condition or signed off, which is what many people fear. They will be able to provide appropriate medical support and/or point you in the direction of some self-help groups and services, or they may refer you to a counsellor or therapist – these types of support can be very successful; 
  • Have a chat with friends or family and let them know how you are feeling, they will want to know and help, you won’t be a burden to them, in most cases they would be more upset that they weren’t aware or couldn’t help to give the support needed; 
  • You could approach a support organisation yourself, there are many I could mention but as a starting point the Samaritans, Mind, Calm, Saneline to name a few, a quick internet search would bring up lots of ideas. 

Further Support With Your Organisational Wellbeing Strategy  

At Metro HR we help employers take care of their people so their people take care of their business, we also provide peer support to other HR Professionals in standalone HR roles. If you think we can help you with your organisational wellbeing strategy or if you are an HR professional in a standalone/independent role that would like to find out more about our Peer Support and Mentoring, we would love to hear from you.  You can be in touch by filling out the contact form here or email us at

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