How to build resilience and beat that Blue Monday feeling

How to build resilience and beat that Blue Monday feeling

Throughout 2021 JET will be publishing a series of blogs covering topics related to JET’s core pillars:  Inspiration, Teamwork, Leadership and Employability.

In our first 2021 blog we have teamed up with one of our corporate partners, NATS, the UK’s leading air navigation services provider.

JET CEO DR Emma Egging and Allie Hack, JET’S Southern Area Director caught up with Katie Fisher, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist in the NATS Human Performance team and Marie Chandler, Director of Quality, Health&Safety and Wellbeing at NATS. The meet-up took the form of a virtual  Q & A talking about building a resilient mindset.

During the conversation, Katie and Marie were able to share insights on how the training NAT’S training programmes for air traffic controllers have unique parallels with JET’s work with young people across schools in the UK.

Here’s a summary of the Q & A:  

Blue Monday, the 18th of January, is a day typically tagged and marked as the “gloomiest” day of the year.

Many organisations, businesses and charities now recognise that ‘Blue Monday’ is an important day in the organisational wellbeing calendar – it’s an awareness day that brings into sharp focus the need to be mindful of work/life balance, mental health and emotional wellbeing matters related to resilience and self-care, as well as skills such as effective communication, teamwork and much more.

Blue Monday is just one day in 365, but this year it is remarkably different from 2020. The ongoing pandemic and challenges of lockdown life mean there are many reasons for feeling in a low mood and less hopeful about the future, especially if you are a young person.

Resilience is something we can learn
The ongoing uncertainty means that schools are closed, exams are being mothballed, home-schooling, online learning and virtual classrooms are the norms. Our youth clubs, sports clubs and hobbies are severely restricted, the impacts of COVID-19 are predicted to have a lasting effect on all our lives for the near future. Our ability to be resilient during these times has never been more important

However, “Resilience is not a fixed personality trait that you either have or don’t have. Although we all vary in terms of how much resilience we may naturally begin with, the great news is that there is a lot we can do to build on and improve our resilience”, says NATS’ Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Katie Fisher.

At JET, our youth teams report that students are watching an unrecognisable and uncertain landscape unfold and many are finding it hard to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances. Finding ways to help support young people to develop and maintain a resilient mindset is one of the key challenges that JET seeks to overcome.

Question:  Blue Monday is here and there is overwhelming negativity across the media, how can people still stay abreast of what is happening in the world without it negatively impacting their daily lives?

Answer:  There are lots of ways that young people can manage their wellbeing using mindful and relaxation techniques. Here are some top tips to takeaway are:

Five Top Tips from the Human Performance Team at NATS

# Tip 1 Social Media – Take time off from social media and #doomscrolling

If you find that you are spending too much time on social media scrolling through feeds and apps – then it’s a good idea to try and set some time limits.

Today’s media environment is often full of challenging news items and it’s important to recognise the impact that a stream of negative information can have on you and take appropriate action to manage your time in the social media space. “Doom scrolling” became a concept in 2020 and can lead to spiraling gloomy thoughts or feelings of impending disaster which need to be avoided to prevent a negative impact on your mindset.

# Tip 2 Real conversation – take time to talk

It’s important that you take time to talk to people and not immerse yourself in a virtual world completely. In today’s lockdown environment, it’s not easy to find time to spend with friends or family members in the ‘real’ world but it is essential to engage in ‘real’ conversations with your support network.

Make time to catch up with those people who you know can cheer you up and are positive. Asking for support and getting professional help if needed is often the first step to good mental health and wellbeing.

# Tip 3 – Get a pen and make a note

Some people find that writing notes about how they are feeling helps them to reflect on emotional ups and downs. Keeping a written journal or diary is one way to develop good emotional health.

# Tip 4 – Challenge yourself
A good way to take more control of the day is by challenging yourself. If possible, take a walk, create a new healthy meal planner, read a chapter of a book, complete a project or task you have been putting off. The feeling of finishing a task is an incredibly positive way to manage your day.

# Tip 5 – Exercise and nutrition

One way to offset the effect of the ‘blues’ is to get enough exercise and a balanced diet. You can always check out some of the great books snd videos by fitness and fitness gurus such as The Body Coach Joe Wickes. And, if you are spending time on the web or your social media channels Joe does some great sessions which you get involved in.

Finally, remember this will pass!

If you have enjoyed reading this content, we are planning a series of blogs, videos, and articles in partnership with our corporate partners. We will also be launching our new JET Inspired website in the coming months and will keep you updated on our website and social media channels.

In our next blog with NATS, we will focus on wellbeing and look at what simple tasks people and young people can do each day to help their wellbeing.

In future guest blogs we will look at:

Images: Please note that our featured image was taken pre-Covid 19