Mental health and well-being: Banishing "Blue Monday"

January 23, 2019
Post-Christmas debts, the return to routine, miserable weather…there isn’t much to be cheerful about for most in January. And according to one psychologist, the third Monday of January can officially be called the most depressive of the year. Regardless of dates, workplace stress is felt all year round, with one survey suggesting that a potential 13 million employees across the UK suffer at some point during the year.  In fact, 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/18as a result of work-related anxiety or depression according to figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

With that in mind, and as Monday 21st January was officially ‘Blue Monday’ we thought we’d start the day with a personal message to everyone in the business along with a fruit smoothie. With the aim of raising a smile, getting a belly-laugh or improving someone’s confidence first thing on a morning, our aim was for a small gesture to start off the week on a positive note.

Throughout January, we’ve decided to focus on promoting healthy minds and bodies through various activities across the month.  From our usual free fruit and breakfast club, we’ve set up a lunchtime run club and a ‘Biggest Loser’ weight loss club for those interested in losing some weight with healthy eating and exercise.

Learning and Development Consultant Sam Bradshaw has also conducted training with all members of staff on both physical and mental health in the workplace. Short sessions were run to advise on healthy eating, desk posture and taking regular breaks from the screen, with the opportunity to have a free assessment from a chiropractic clinic on posture in the workplace.

Our Blue Monday sessions across the business have focussed on stress and improving well-being. From workload, stress and time management through to more serious issues like bullying, harassment and discrimination, these sessions are designed to help staff recognise any pressures they feel, not only in their working day but outside of the workplace too. Most importantly, they have been designed to give practical advice on how to deal with any of these issues – from workload planning to simply speaking to someone confidentially about something that is having a big impact on their mental health.

Sam Bradshaw explains:

As part of our commitment to our staff and as people are the centre of our core values, we provide monthly one to one sessions to discuss mental wellbeing, so this isn’t something we just roll out on Blue Monday. Recruitment is a tough job so in order to ensure our teams get the most out of their working day we also offer free breakfast, free fruit and host a weekly running club making everyone feel supported and encouraged to promote both physical and mental wellbeing.

 If you need advice on how to stay mentally healthy at work, visit Mind.org.uk for practical tips and advice.