Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year. Help your teams thrive with these handy tips.
What Is Blue Monday?
‘Blue Monday’ is the name given to the third Monday in January.
The view is that this is the ‘most depressing day of the year’, and whilst it was originally created as an advertising campaign by Sky Travel, January can still be a difficult month for many.
With post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights, failing New Year’s resolutions and low motivation, it should be a key reminder to take some time to focus on mental health and wellbeing – as Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing and Client Relationships at Next Steps Consulting Limited, explains.
How Can You Support Your Team on Blue Monday?
1. Check In With Your Colleagues
Recognize that this is a difficult time of the year for many, so take some time to check in with your team.
Start 1-to-1 meetings or team meetings by asking how people are feeling, how their wellbeing levels are, what they are doing to support themselves, or what else they think they need at the moment.
2. Go for a Team Walk
Many people don’t do as much exercise as they would like to in the winter, but physical activity can be a brilliant way to increase your mood and energy levels.
Arrange a lunchtime walk with your team or swap any meetings you have to walking meetings, and feel the benefits of moving and being outside.
To discover some simple ideas for adding more exercise into your agents’ day, read our article: 6 Ways to Plan Exercise Into Your Agents’ Day
3. Plan Something to Look Forward To
Having things to look forward to can give our wellbeing a real boost. So instead of giving in to it being the ‘most depressing day of the year’, plan a team activity that everyone can get involved with.
This will take everyone’s mind off what day it is and give them a break from work too! This could be a team bake-off, a craft or mindfulness session, lunch together, or even a team quiz.
4. Bring Your Dog to Work
Animals can have such a positive impact on our wellbeing, helping people to relax and stay calm.
Why not allow your teams to bring their (well-behaved) dogs into work for the day?
(If you’re tempted to try this, also take a look at this article on things to consider when bringing dogs into the contact centre.)
5. Communicate the Support You Have Available
Ensure that those in your team are aware of any support you have in place and how they can access it, as well as encouraging them to make use of services such as Employee Assistant Programmes.
6. Reframe Blue Monday to Brew Monday
The Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign aims to raise spirits by harnessing the positive benefits of a good brew and a chat at this difficult time of year.
So why not join in, arrange a time for a cup of tea with your teams and to connect with those that you work with?
What Else Can You Do to Help Your Team Through the Winter Months?
7. Educate Your Team
Share information and run sessions about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the impact the winter months can have on our wellbeing.
This can help individuals understand why they might be suffering from low mood, as well as giving them self-care tips they can try that can make a difference.
8. Talk, Talk and Talk Some More
You know the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, so make a conscious effort to practise it.
Create an open culture where individuals can talk about how they are feeling and how they might be managing their mental health and wellbeing.
‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, so make a conscious effort to practise it
Sharing your experiences as a manager or leader will help those in your team feel more comfortable about sharing their experiences.
9. Ask for Feedback
Set up focus groups, meetings, or a survey to discuss mental health and wellbeing.
This will help you to understand what other help your team needs and how you can continue to support individuals.
10. Wellbeing Meetings
Consider putting 1-to-1 meetings in place which are purely focused on wellbeing, how individuals are feeling and how they are coping.
You might want to track on a scale of 1-5 how individuals feel each week and what else can help enhance their wellbeing.
11. Encourage a Positive Work–Life Balance
Ensure that your team take their lunch break and time away from their desks throughout the day, as time outside during daylight hours can also provide a much-needed boost.
Also encourage people to take some annual leave during the winter months, as this is when individuals are less likely to take time off.
You could even implement a four-day working week. For information on this, read our article: Productivity Hack – A 4-Day Working Week
12. Promote Healthy Habits
Looking after our physical health can have a hugely positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Promote the benefits of hydration, nutrition, sleep and physical activity and perhaps set some challenges within your team or run some events that encourage individuals to improve areas of their physical health.
You could also make use of a wellbeing calendar across the year to recognize key awareness days, as well as keeping wellbeing front of mind.
With thanks to Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing and Client Relationships at Next Steps Consulting Limited
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