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Brightening Blue Monday

If you’re feeling a little down today, you’re not alone.

A combination of shorter days, post-holiday credit card bills, and failed New Year’s resolutions is enough to give most people a case of the blues. 

In fact, it even has a name: Blue Monday.

Blue Monday Origins

Blue Monday, which typically falls on the third Monday of January, is supposedly the saddest, gloomiest, most depressing day of the year. Add to that the ongoing global pandemic and you can see why this year’s Blue Monday in particular may not feel full of light and promise.

The date was originally calculated in 2005 using a special equation, which includes weather conditions, debt level, the time into the new year and low motivational levels, among other factors. 

There’s little doubt many of us struggle with feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness, but Blue Monday does shed much-needed light on the larger, year-round challenge of mental health.

Focusing on Wellness

At Xpan, mental wellness features high on our list of priorities, not only in the work we do for our clients, but also among our team of Xpaners. We know that mental health is a vital component of total health. 

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of poor mental health in ourselves, as well as in our colleagues and family, is an important part of achieving mental wellness, while understanding that mental health falls on an ever-shifting continuum can help you stay well.

In partnership with our friends at Hatch, Xpan had the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the development of a mental wellness tool that allows users to practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques to build resilience. 

The tool includes five separate mindfulness exercises to help you get through today – or any day – if you’re feeling a little down, overwhelmed or anxious. One of the exercises we’d like to share with you aims to lift your mood, change your outlook and build your resilience, simply by breathing.

Breathing to Reduce Stress

Taking a moment to breathe purposefully is a simple and effective way to reduce stress. Breathe in and out normally. Do a mental scan of your body. Be aware of any areas of tension.

  • Inhale through your nose with a slow, deep breath.
  • Notice as your upper body expands.
  • Exhale. Be aware of your breath as it leaves your body.
  • Repeat this deep and thoughtful breathing for several minutes. Pay attention as air enters and leaves your body. 
  • You may wish to choose a word to focus on as you exhale. Words like “relax”, “calm”, “present” can even be said out loud.
  • Think of your inhaled breath as a gentle wave that washes over you.
  • Imagine that your exhaled breath is taking upsetting energy and thoughts away from you.
  • If you become distracted, be kind to yourself. This will happen. Bring your thoughts back to your breathing.

When you are ready, try using this video as a guide.

Want to know more about how we can deploy mindfulness knowledge solutions? See more about our services or talk with one of our experts today.

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