Blue Monday, originally conceived by a psychologist for marketing purposes in the mid-2000s, has since become a symbolic day representing post-Christmas blues and challenges faced in January. While the concept has been criticised by social scientists, it sheds light on the prevalent struggles many individuals face during this time.
Several factors contribute to the collective mood drop, including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), overeating during the festive period, increased debt, and unmet New Year's resolutions.
The impact of Blue Monday extends beyond individual experiences; it affects team dynamics and workplace productivity. Recognising the challenges your team may be facing during this period is crucial for fostering a supportive environment.
Introducing Be Well - promoting healthy habits at work
What is SAD?
According to the NHS, ‘seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.’
Sometimes known as "winter depression" or "winter blues", SAD is reported to be more prevalent in those living further north.
The lack of bright daylight underpins the slower activation of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) which, for some, makes the colder, darker months particularly difficult.
In fact, research from National Library of Medicine suggests that up to 6% of the UK population suffer with full blown Seasonal Affective Disorder which would suggest that there are many of us, who though not diagnosed with the disorder per se, do have to cope with some of the symptoms of SAD. Interestingly, 53% of UK workers report lower mood and less productivity during the winter months.
So how can you support your employees around Blue Monday?
We’ve put together some insights and strategies to navigate this challenging time and promote a positive team atmosphere:
8 tips for Blue Monday
Plan team-building activities that focus on relaxation and stress reduction. Incorporate mindfulness exercises, short breaks for relaxation, or even team outings to promote a positive atmosphere.
Activities that promote outdoor activities are always a bonus, this doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous but something as simple as walking can get the team engaged with one another and feeling better.
Encourage Healthy Habits:
Instead of focusing solely on individual coping mechanisms, emphasise team-wide initiatives to promote healthy habits. Encourage group activities like lunchtime walks, fitness challenges, or shared healthy eating goals.
Be Well offers businesses a chance to encourage healthy habits through walking challenges, going beyond just counting steps but encouraging an active, work life balance.
Promote Work-Life Balance:
Recognise the importance of a healthy work-life balance for the team's overall well-being. Encourage setting boundaries and offer flexibility, when possible, to accommodate personal and family needs.
Acknowledge Shared Struggles:
Recognise that many team members may be dealing with post-holiday stress, weight gain, and resolutions that haven't gone as planned. Openly acknowledging these challenges helps create a supportive atmosphere.
Foster Goal Redefinition:
Shift the focus from personal resolutions to team goals. Encourage collaborative goal-setting sessions, emphasising achievable and realistic targets for the entire team.
Foster an environment where team members can openly discuss their challenges without fear of judgment. Encourage positive and supportive communication, emphasising the importance of self-compassion during difficult times.
Acknowledge the potential financial stress that some team members may be facing after the holiday season. Offer resources or guidance on financial planning and stress management.
Recognise and celebrate both personal and team achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivate individuals to overcome challenges.
By shifting the focus from individual struggles to collective support, teams can navigate the challenges associated with Blue Monday and work together towards a positive and resilient environment.
Creating a positive and engaged atmosphere at work will ensure that employees stay focused during the long, winter months. Although, this may be difficult with a remote workforce, using an employee engagement platform helps to bring teams together no matter where they are located.
Ensure that you are encouraging your staff to reach out and talk if there are any troubles that are bothering them.
Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to get a hands-on walkthrough of how Terryberry can transform the culture of your workplace.