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Beyond ‘Blue Monday’ – your winter wellbeing reminders

Much will be made of today being the “most depressing day of the year”. ‘Blue Monday’ has developed into an infamous annual event which many of us are able to identify with in some way; it often does feel somewhat low.

But lots has also been made of how ‘Blue Monday’ was simply created as a marketing tool for a holiday company back in 2005; quite possibly an example of gloominess laid upon dubiousness. Given our all-consuming interest in wellbeing at Robertson Cooper, we decided to investigate – what is the truth behind seasonality and wellbeing?

We sent our analyst, Daniel Foote, off to investigate, interrogating the publicly available ONS data on wellbeing and we found that seasonality most certainly does play into our levels of wellbeing – there is something ‘chilling’ going on.

If we take winter as being January to March, and Summer being July to September, here is what he found in the data:

  • Our average happiness is lower in winter than it is in summer – a decrease of 1.2%
  • The percentage of people reporting ‘very high happiness’ is lower in winter than in summer too (34.14% down to 31.85%)
  • Our average anxiety levels are higher in winter than in summer – an increase of 1.73%
  • Our average life satisfaction is lower in winter than in summer

In summary, we are less happy, more anxious and less satisfied with our lot between January and March than we are between July and September. We don’t know exactly why, but perhaps there is some reflection that the event of ‘Blue Monday’ can bring to the table.

Winter is more hard work than summer when it comes to our wellbeing; there is an extra mountain to climb. We can acknowledge that fact first, and then we can choose to make a concerted effort to ensure our wellbeing habits really are on top of their game. Winter is the time for us to put into practice what we know is good for us – and it is not just a one day event like ‘Blue Monday’ would have you believe. It is about sustaining good habits throughout the dark, dreary days and beyond.

Your winter wellbeing reminders

1. Pay extra attention to the foundations of your energy

This means ensuring you have good habits around sleep, nutrition, movement and how you manage your everyday stresses. How are your habits in these areas? We have a free workbook to support you here.

2. Have a clear goal front and centre

Our ancestors may have had it right knowing that to get through the winter we needed goals, and New Year’s Resolutions may have been their solution to that – they date back 4000 years! How are yours going? Maybe instead of framing them as “New Year’s Resolutions”, you should think about setting a winter goal – put yourself forward to achieve something before the daffodils are in bloom in March. Any goal, large or small, will support your wellbeing right now – tick something off a list!

3. Stay connected

Given the last two years, it is more tempting than ever to go into hibernation mode and not see friends and family right now, but it doesn’t do you any good (but you probably already know this!). Whatever your personality type, all humans thrive with companionship and company so do the walk, make the call, and get going with that hobby.

It won’t be long until this winter too has passed, and we are complaining that it is too hot, but in the meantime, do be kind to yourself in remembering that winter really is a bit harder on our wellbeing, and just that slight extra effort might make all the difference to a fulfilling winter 2022.

If you’d like to explore how you use your natural resilience and what you might do to strengthen it further, get your free iResilience report today