Supposedly the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of January.
This year it lands on 15 January 2024. And whether fad or fact, it’s a good chance to look at how you can better support staff wellbeing.
What is Blue Monday?
The term was coined by former UK holiday company, Sky Travel, back in 2004. It was the brainchild of research psychologist, Dr Cliff Arnall, who used a formula that looks something like this:
Weather + debt + waiting for monthly salary + time since Christmas + failed New Year’s Resolutions + low motivation = Worst. Day. Ever.
That’s one miserable equation, eh?
So is Blue Monday actual science?
Nope, it’s a pseudoscience—so it’s not the real deal. And some say it’s a marketing ploy to get people to buy more holidays. However…
There’s no arguing with the fact that January can be grim. We’re fed up of winter and waiting for pay day, and lots of us are living off cough drops as we battle colds at our desks. And this combination is the recipe for feeling a bit blue.
So, here are top tips to help support your team’s mental health this Blue Monday:
1. Get moving in the great outdoors
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you sign up for a marathon or start running up and down stadium steps, Rocky-style. Just a few minutes of walking in daylight and getting some fresh air can reduce stress levels.
Encourage your people to get outside and moving on their lunch breaks. It’ll work wonders for their wellbeing.
2. Stop hibernating and start socializing
We know you’re at work, so we’re not talking about hitting your local for happy hour. But the adjustment from festive merriment and socializing back to the daily grind can leave people feeling a bit lonely and isolated in January.
Start a conversation with colleagues and reach out to friends. Today’s the day for positive team meetings and making sure we’re really talking to each other at work. We’re all in this together.
3. Plan the week ahead—realistically
People are prone to feeling overwhelmed with their workloads at this time of year. Playing ‘catch up’ after two weeks off can be hard. With an overflowing email inbox and a seemingly never-ending list of 2024 goals, it’s easy to feel the pressure to start achieving straight away…
Take stock of this week’s tasks with your team, set some realistic goals, and plan ahead on how to achieve them. A little planning on a Monday can make the whole week go more smoothly. And will keep your staff feeling bright instead of blue this January.
4. Look into Employee Wellbeing Assistance Programs (EAP)
Let’s face it. Getting a doctor's appointment for mental health at the moment is a waiting game. But don’t let your staff suffer in silence. Take a look at the available wellbeing programs out there.
24/7 access to a mental health advice helpline can keep your employees happy and motivated in the face of January blues—and all year round. And lots of services come with online support which means your team can access the help they need from anywhere.
Investing in your team’s wellbeing also has various benefits for your business. Such as, boosting productivity rates and reducing long-term absence and sickness.