Blue Monday: A day to realise that mental wellbeing matters all year round

Marion Whitty

Blue Monday has long been deemed ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Another day in the calendar that highlights mental health struggles, feelings of being ‘under the weather’ and the drop in enthusiasm after the festive celebrations.

Some might argue that Blue Monday matters more in 2021 because of the extraordinary circumstances and hardship so many people around the UK have and continue to endure due to the pandemic. The reality of the situation is, we are not only in a fight against this virus but to also ensure that our mental sanity isn’t compromised in any way, shape or form during this period.

With mass vaccinations on the horizon, there is a light at the end of the tunnel to almost an entire year of restrictions and being separated from loved ones. Like all companies, Countryside has evolved its methods of staying connected and ensuring that our very own community of colleagues and partners are in regular touch and checking in to ask, “how are you?”

Today, we’re launching a new wellbeing series of initiatives to start the year off on the right foot, Building A Better You – a reinvigorated way to go forward into 2021 with a renewed sense of positivity that will carry us all through together as one team. Some of Countryside’s Mental Health First Aiders will be carrying out virtual coffee breaks and workout sessions to help colleagues break up their day, encourage them to take regular breaks whether outdoors or away from their desks and to ensure there are multiple touchpoints between teams whilst also providing advice and information through our online learning platform, SID.

We have increased the amount of Mental Health First Aiders around the UK from 50 to 79 as we realise there are more support mechanisms needed to ensure that we can collectively overcome this final hurdle of the pandemic together. Many of these trained Mental Health First Aiders over the Christmas holidays volunteered their own time to be on call as a friendly voice to speak to for those who needed it. These volunteers continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to be there for their colleagues and team members during such a difficult time.

While ensuring our colleagues’ mental wellbeing is at the forefront of our priorities for the remainder of this pandemic, our commitment is long-standing. From my own perspective, the latest lockdown has been a greater struggle on people’s wellbeing. As we continue to build on our responsibilities for mental health as an employer, we hope that we are able to be there as a shoulder to lean on for everyone at Countryside – whether a working parent or someone living alone – in the years to come and not just for Blue Monday.