Did you know that the third Monday in January (this year it’s the 15th), has become known as Blue Monday?

With the joyous festivities of Christmas and New Year now behind us, many of us are feeling the reality of day-to-day life set in once again.

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, I don’t want to start the year with doom and gloom, but we need to be mindful, set aside time to check in and also wake up and take action.

Hospitality Action, which was established in 1837, has offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK, in their guide ‘How to Survive Blue Monday’ they state that; “There is something about the darker, cooler winter days that invite us to turn inwards… This makes it a good opportunity to pause and take stock, to reflect on what may not be working in our lives and think about what changes are needed to make it into the kind of life we want.”

The reality is that hospitality is one of the largest economical generated revenues for many countries across the globe – however, the pandemic has cast a serious and long-lasting impact on the industry, the current state of play means that many restaurants and hotels around the world are simply putting ‘one step in front of the other’ as they try to survive. Many managers and staff have become monotonous, stuck on autopilot and have lost their mo-jo.

I’ve been there; stretched, pressed and stressed! And, this is why I’m on a mission to wake up the hospitality management world, urging leaders to take action and become savvy 21st Century Hospitality Heroes.

So, What is Blue Monday?

The Mental Health Foundation states that: “Blue Monday is a PR stunt that was originally dreamed up to sell holidays. It is a myth, a false calculation based on things like the gloomy weather, post-Christmas debt, disappointment from not keeping New Year’s resolutions, dissatisfaction about going back to work and general doom and gloom. Since then, it has become a rather tedious yearly PR event, often designed to promote things that are vaguely linked to improving our well-being, more often than not with a complete lack of evidence. No actual scientific studies have ever backed up any claims about Blue Monday.”

They go on to say; ”It is pointless to try and identify what the most depressing day of the year is because it would be different for each one of us… However, despite the fact that Blue Monday isn’t real, there can be seasonal variations in our mental health.

The day was named by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2005 for a travel firm – in this ‘How to Survive Blue Monday’ guide by Hospitality Action they say that; “He claimed he had come up with a formula that would pinpoint the most ‘depressing’ day of the year. He took into account weather conditions, debt, amount of time since Christmas and how we all hate Mondays and concluded that the third Monday in January provided the perfect mix of conditions that lead to low mood, and depressive feelings. There have since been questions raised about how scientific his formula is and whether such factors really contribute to depression, given that clinical depression often has complex causes and can be very debilitating, but that aside it provides an opportunity to reflect on the challenges that January can bring and how we can better cope with low moods…”

 “When I’m Feeling Blue…” What Do I Do?

So, in the style of the Groovy Kind of Love singer Phil Collins, in today’s blog I’m going to share with you 5 tips on what I do… “When I’m feeling Blue…”

1. Set aside time regularly to focus on me! Now, as someone who is often going a million miles per hour. I want to say that, it’s important you set aside time for yourself. We all need some headspace and some real reflection time. I tend to do this on a Sunday, walk the dogs on my own and just ponder for an hour or two.

2. Try to be more self aware – Being self-aware is about taking time to understand yourself, knowing that your feelings matter, considering how your decisions/actions/emotions/values impact others, seeking feedback, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, being mindful… Being self-aware actually is something that maybe we don’t take seriously enough here in hospitality. But, it’s very much an encouraged wider business entrepreneurial exercise, where we take time to self-reflect and be more self-aware of how we are perceived by our team, by our customers. And actually, if we think about it, a bit as self-reflection on oneself is crucial to your leadership and your leadership style.

3.  Get outside – Coming from Australia, I really do feel the lack of daylight and sunshine in the UK, especially during the winter months. It is becoming more widely recognised that the short hours of daylight can have an impact on our mood and general wellbeing. Ensure that you get outside every day for at least 20 minutes.

4.  Stay connected – Know who your tribe is and who your cheerleaders are. Know who you can go to for; advice, help, a shoulder to cry on, a coffee…                        Don’t feel lonely in hospitality – join our FREE Facebook Group today – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1621768265306685

5. Put things in the diary to look forward to – I am a huge family man and they have all helped me so much on this rollercoaster journey. I met my wife through working in the industry and we’ve been married 21 years. We have 21yr old twin daughters, and a 18 year old son who have all been actively involved in the family business. My sister is also part of the business too and a huge support. I am extremely proud of ‘Team Hesketh’ and hospitality is the core of what our whole family do. Although we spend time together in the business, we also ensure we have dedicated family time and things to look forward to. We schedule great holidays, such as our 2023 tour of America and Singapore. This year we are hoping to travel back to see more of the States And, we always try to schedule time for a good brunch every month too together. I also love exploring what is on offer in the UK and as we live and work between Chester and Liverpool we like to attend events happening in both cities. I personally particularly love it when the Chester races are on, as there is a real buzz in the city!

 For more tips and advice, please click on the link to access the Hospitality Action ‘How to Survive Blue Monday’ pdf guide – https://www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/media/2020/0382_bluemondayv4.pdf