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Blue Monday is often considered the most depressing day of the year. Whilst there is a bit of science behind it, it was originally dreamed up by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall in 2004. He devised a formula to identify the bleakest day of the year to help a travel company to sell holidays. Whilst Blue Monday may be a marketing ploy, it’s a a stark reminder of the importance of mental health, particularly at this time of year.

So Instead of succumbing to the “potential” gloom it creates, let’s turn the tables on negativity and consider what positive steps our industry can take to enable healthier habits that positively impact our mental well-being throughout the year. Here are 7 steps you could consider with your teams:

1. **Enable Sleep:**
Quality sleep is a cornerstone of mental health. Managing working hours (including commute times) ensures your team can establish an adequate sleep routine. Fatigue management is important from a prevention of workplace injuries perspective as well as ensuring your teams are able to wake up feeling refreshed, fit for work, and ready to face the day.

2. **Encourage Physical Activity:**
Exercise is a powerful mood booster. Whilst a lot of construction workers are active, consider adding a stretch and flex class to the start of shift briefings. Physical activity releases endorphins, which contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being. Stretching before physical work, will also help prevent muscular skeletal disorders on those cold winter mornings.

3. **Provide Mindful Moments:**
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, encourage your workforce to take moments to practice mindfulness. This could mean providing a quiet space for people to go to away from site, or sharing resources on meditation and deep breathing exercises. Encouraging them to be present in the moment, can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

4. **Encourage Healthy Eating:**
A balanced diet not only benefits our physical health but also has a profound impact on your mental well-being. What welfare/catering facilities do you provide? Ensure they have access to a variety of nutrient-rich foods, access to water to stay hydrated, and encourage them to limit the intake of processed sugars and caffeine to maintain stable energy levels.

5. **Encourage Social Connection:**
Human connection is crucial for mental health. Engage in meaningful conversations with your staff, spend time together and talk about things other than work, and encourage them to reach out for support when needed.

6. **Host a ‘Healthy Habits Goal Setting Workshop’**
A key to improving wellbeing is setting achievable wellbeing goals to help provide a sense of accomplishment, to boost confidence and motivation. It encourages them to celebrate successes, no matter how small, and be compassionate with themselves during setbacks. At Construction Health and Wellbeing we can provide this service for you and your team. Get in touch with us here to find out more:

7. **Help your teams Unplug and Recharge:**
Constant digital connectivity can contribute to stress and anxiety. Ensure they can switch off at the end of the working day, by avoiding late at night emails and encouraging them to use this time to engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

As we navigate the challenges of life, it’s crucial to enable our industry to prioritise their mental health. Whilst we have a responsibility to improve our culture, working conditions and reduce work-related stress, we can also help support our workforce take personal responsibility for healthier habits. Working together we can proactively combat the blues, not just on Blue Monday but throughout the entire year. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in mental well-being, fostering a happier and more fulfilling life.

If you are interested in finding out more about how construction health and wellbeing can support you with a healthy habits goal setting workshop, or occupational health services please get in touch by clicking here 

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