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Brighter Mondays: Self-care Hacks for January and Beyond

Written by Katie Buckingham

January tends to be a tough time of year, hence the birth of ‘Blue Monday’, coined as the most depressing day of the year in 2005 by a UK travel company.

But while the start of the new year can sometimes be a slow and tricky one, we’re hoping to help people enjoy some brighter mondays with a few simple and easy ideas to promote positive mental health. 

We asked our team to share some of their tips, strategies and hacks to keep the January blues at bay. If you’re working remotely, we’ve also covered a few ideas for breaking up the days at home. 

 

What are some of the ways you take care of yourself and your mental health, particularly at this time of year? 

 

1. Recognising stress & Communicating effectively 

Acknowledging stress is an important stage in ensuring you get the support you need. Whether you’re at home or at work, it’s important to keep open channels of communication with the people you’re close to.

A few of the Crucible team noted how important it is for them to recognise periods of stress and communicate how they’re feeling with their families, housemates or colleagues. When everyone is aware that some time and space is needed, you can do the things which help you to de-stress.

One of the Crucible team said that putting together a list of activities that help him to relax and unwind, has been a valuable aid to refer to during difficult periods. 

 

2. Separating work and relaxation 

In times of remote working, it’s become difficult to separate work and play. But for some of the Crucible team this is an important boundary to try and establish.

Without that separation, both work and relaxation can become less effective. So it might be beneficial for you to try and keep these areas separate if you can. 

 

 

3. Exercising & Being in nature 

It can be tough to venture out, particularly in wintry weather. But blowing out the cobwebs and getting some fresh air can be a positive way to lift your mood and promote good mental health.

One tactic a few of the Crucible team have tried is booking a race or sports event in the Spring to help get them outside in the winter, even when it’s a bit bleak. 

 

4. Eating well and preparing good meals 

In the midst of winter it’s important to try and ignore the January pressure to take up fad diets and instead, stock up on all the nutritious food you can.

Eating well is such an important way to take care of yourself and ensure you’re nourished and healthy throughout the winter months. 

 

5. Connecting with friends and family 

Particularly in recent times, staying connected to friends and family is more important than ever. Seeing or speaking to them whenever possible, is one of the main ways which some of the Crucible team are keeping up their mental health. 

 

If you find remote working challenging, do you have any tips which help you break up the day?  

 

1. Exercising before work & Getting outside 

Doing a quick online workout or going for a run, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, really helps a few of the team to feel energised and ready for the day. Another member of the team said he tries to use his whole lunch hour to get out of the house, rather than sitting indoors.

Breaking up the day and getting time away from your screen is so important for positive mental and physical health, as well as being helpful for keeping productivity levels up throughout the day. 

 

2. Pets & Cups of tea

One of the Crucible team finds the Pomodoro technique useful for breaking up the day. This consists of 25 minute work stints and 5 minute breaks – a useful pocket of time to make a fuss of your cat or dog (if you’re fortunate enough to have one).

Otherwise, getting cups of tea, going on short walks, and even doing a few little tasks, can all help to break up the day a bit.

 

Do you have any self-care tips/strategies which have helped you get through the past few years?  

 

1. Prioritisation & Rest 

Prioritising what’s really important, being realistic about productivity and being aware of when downtime is needed, has been a useful strategy for many of the team. It’s important to ensure you’re allowing yourself to rest and make space and time to do very little when that’s needed. 

 

 

2. Making short-term goals 

Having short term goals has helped some of the team to feel as though they’re working towards something while the pandemic has made it difficult to make plans. For example, learning to cook a variety of recipes has been a goal for one of the Crucible team. 

 

3. Pandemic style exploration 

Trying to do things that are outside the home, which aren’t just appointments or shopping, can be one way to try and elevate mental health.

Making occasions like little picnics and exploring new places (as much as is possible within pandemic conditions) can help to break repetition and make evenings and weekends more special and enjoyable. 

 

Wishing you a brighter January

 

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, it’s so important to make sure we’re all taking care of ourselves and trying to do the small things each day that bring us some joy. 

Here at Crucible, the mental health of our employees is paramount, which is why we offer 3 mental health days a year to each of our team. 

Although we’re not currently hiring, we always love to hear from talented and enthusiastic developers, designers and project managers. So if we sound like the agency for you, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

 

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