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insight

Whatever myths or theories you hear about ‘Blue Monday’ today, these top tips for supporting your mental wellbeing from Kubrick’s Mental Health First Aiders are applicable any day of the year.

The third Monday of January may have gained the title of ‘Blue Monday’ from a 2005 press release by a travel company seeking to boost sales[1], but its notoriety remains. Whilst the ‘formula’ which pinpointed it as ‘the saddest of the year’ is widely recognized as pseudoscience, it nonetheless provides an opportunity to reflect on mental health and its associations at this time of year – links to seasonal depression, pressures of new year’s resolutions, and so on.

We sat down with Kubrick’s own team of certified Mental Health First Aiders to collect their tips and insights to support mental wellbeing any day of the year. The team, who are available to every member of Kubrick staff for confidential support, share some of the simple actions you can take to help your mental wellbeing.

Founder of Kubrick's Mental Wellbeing Initiative and Consultant Relationship Manager Victoria Baark suggests: "Make sure to do one thing in the day just for you - something that makes you smile, something that makes you feel content or calm. This might be exercise, it might be getting some fresh air, it might be following your indifferent cat around until you get a stroke or even taking the time to just make yourself an extra nice coffee! But make sure to prioritize yourself, even if it is just for 10 or 15 minutes. It can help to re-center yourself and put the rest of the day into perspective."

"January can be a month of setting goals and trying to take on too much; new exercise regime, healthy eating, new hobby. All of these things can sometimes feel overwhelming and unrealistic", added John Coughlan, Principal Consultant in Data Analytics. "Setting small targets and managing your workload with bite-sized tasks each day can actually make you happier. Something as simple as sending an email or completing a piece of work can release dopamine in our brain, which generates feelings of happiness and satisfaction. So break down your time into manageable parts that you can achieve regularly and get your daily dopamine fix!"

Peter Sobamiwa
, Systems Administrator at Kubrick, shared some of his findings from his own practices: "We tend to talk down and mentally punish ourselves for the littlest mistakes. “I’m so stupid/useless/ lazy/etc” is so easy to say but this negative self-talk has detrimental effects to our mental health and self-image. The next time you think about making such a remark, ask yourself if you would say the same to a child, perhaps even a mini version of you! Try and replace these words with constructive criticism - “I need to make sure I do this X next time” - and practise kindness towards yourself with positive and inspirational words. When I reflect on my day, I think of things I accomplished and pat myself on the back (sometimes literally), but also what I didn’t accomplish and I can try again tomorrow. Give it a go!"

For Chiara Liquori, HR Manager, an important aspect of mental wellbeing lies within nurturing our personal relationships: "Stay connected – we all lead busy lives and sometimes it is hard to stop and think about the world outside of your day job but it is important to schedule time outside your working day to keep in touch with others. Whether that’s with colleagues, friends, family or someone you haven’t spoken to in while, take the time to send that text, give them a call or meet for a well-overdue coffee! Maintaining our social relationships helps us and others feel less isolated, alone, and stressed."

Office Manager and HR team member Rebecca Gunner followed up with a reminder on the importance of sleep: "Make sure you have some proper downtime before bed. That means at least an hour that doesn’t involve cell phones or TV - this way you will be nice and relaxed before you switch off the lights and are more likely to have a better night's sleep to be ready to tackle those little goals you have set yourself for the next day."


Many thanks to all our Mental Health Aiders for their advice and continued support for our Kubrick colleagues. For more resources or to find support, visit https://www.mind.org.uk/



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)