Blue Monday refers to the third Monday in January, often considered to be the most ‘depressing’ day of the year. The term was coined back in 2005 and the concept combines factors such as post-holiday blues, the cold weather, failed New Year’s resolutions and financial strain. Whilst Blue Monday is a pseudoscience-driven notion and hasn’t been scientifically proven, it has promoted discussions about mental health awareness during a challenging time of the year. It serves as a reminder to prioritise self-care, seek support and break down the stigma surrounding mental health struggles.
5 strategies for a stress free week ahead
Maintaining a stress-free week involves incorporating various strategies into your routine to promote relaxation and well-being. To help you navigate Blue Monday and other stressful times in your life, here are 5 strategies to help with a stress-free week.
1. Prioritise and plan
One of the best ways you can manage your stress is to create a realistic to-do list or schedule for the week ahead. You could either do this on a Sunday evening or on a Monday morning, and it will help you to prioritise tasks based on their importance and any deadlines you might have. To make larger tasks more manageable, break them down into smaller steps, this can make the overall task seem less overwhelming and more achievable. For example, if you need to plan an event such as a birthday party, split it up into smaller tasks such as organising food, sorting out the entertainment and so on. Make sure you allow some flexibility in your schedule to accommodate for unexpected tasks to be handed your way or any changes.
2. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
Incorporating mindfulness activities into your daily routine can enhance your mental well-being by reducing stress, improving focus and fostering emotional resilience. These activities such as meditation can create a momentary escape from daily pressures, promoting self-awareness and a positive mindset. Consistent practice cultivates a lasting sense of calm and balance in everyday life. If you don’t know where to start with your meditation journey, Morphée has two meditation devices for teenagers and adults to use.
First off we have our original Morphée, which contains over 200 guided meditation sessions which include sessions such as breathing coherence and body scanning and we also have our newest product Morphée Zen, which has been designed to be used on-the-go. Morphée Zen comes with its own set of headphones and will fit into your pocket and has shorter sessions lasting 5-minutes, so you can use it whilst at work for uninterrupted peace, on the bus or in the comfort of your own home.
Practising mindfulness activities for children is just as important. My Little Morphée is our screen-free mindfulness device that has been created by sleep experts specialising in child relaxation. The 192 sessions include meditative journeys such as visualisations and breathing, as well as soothing white noise sounds.
When you take part in mindfulness activities like meditation, it can help to reduce your stress and help to foster a positive mindset, ultimately leading to increased contentment.
3. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
To achieve a healthy work-life balance, you will need to set clear boundaries by defining specific working hours and adhering to them. Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency, incurring efficient time management. You will also need to make sure you’re not overworking yourself, if you feel like you are, you might need to delegate tasks to other people in your team or talk to your manager about your workload. Once you have finished working hours, make sure you try and leave any work thoughts behind. It might help if you turn off your phone or switch off your work notifications to help you fully relax into your own time. During your free time, you can fill it with activities you enjoy whether that’s reading, exercising, socialising with friends and family or watching your favourite TV show. A balanced work-life balance will help to enhance your overall well-being and will leave you feeling more refreshed as well at work.
4. Delegate and ask for help
It’s important to recognise that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Whether it’s in your personal or work life, lean on people you can trust or your managers to help you with things you are struggling with. Being able to communicate effectively with friends, family and colleagues can really help you to feel more relaxed when things feel like they are building up and up and are becoming overwhelming. One thing people often find hard to do is to say no to social plans or no to taking on more work tasks. If you know that you can arrange a time to see your loved ones a week later when things are less stressful, or you have too much on your work plate and someone else could take the task on, then make your feelings heard.
5. Stay positive and practice gratitude
A positive mindset can boost your problem-solving skills, reduce stress, and foster healthier relationships. There are a number of things you can do to help cultivate a positive outlook on life. One being gratitude, which can help you to reframe challenges as opportunities and leave you feeling positive, even when things are getting tough. Here are 5 ways we like to practice gratitude:
- Gratitude journal - Regularly writing down things you’re thankful for.
- Express appreciation - Communicating your gratitude to others, acknowledging their positive impact on your life either in writing or verbally.
- Mindful reflection - Taking moments throughout the day to reflect on the positive aspects, appreciating small joys and achievements.
- Gratitude walk - During a walk, focus on things in your surroundings that evoke gratitude, such as nature, architecture, or the people you encounter.
- Gratitude rituals - You could incorporate gratitude into your daily routine, like expressing thanks before meals or bedtime, cultivating a habit of recognising the positives in your life.
Just remember that everyone’s approach to stress management is different, so it’s essential that you find the right strategy for you. Experiment with the suggestions we have given you, and adjust them to fit your lifestyle. Consistency in practising stress management techniques will contribute to a more relaxed and balanced week.