Today (Monday January 21) is Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the year. Can building resilience help us beat the blues at work?
Some dismiss Blue Monday as pseudoscience, but many people would agree that January can be a miserable month. Everyone faces setbacks at work and at home and they can seem even more challenging in dull old January.
And this can particularly have an impact on our working lives. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 17 million work days a year are lost to stress, anxiety and depression while the World Health Organization says stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century. Employers are increasingly recognising how stress can damage the workplace, affecting productivity and pressurising staff who have to cover their colleagues’ work.
More and more we’re hearing that the solution to this epidemic is building resilience. The Government-backed Fit for Work initiative defines resilience as the ability to adjust to adversity, maintain equilibrium, hold on to some sense of control over the environment and move forward in a positive way.
There are ways to build resilience, making it easier to cope with stress at work and at home. But how are some people able to bounce back while others wilt under the pressure? And how can we help employees learn from them?
Employers can promote physical and mental wellbeing, and make sure the workplace is a pleasant and happy environment. They should also look for signs of stress in staff and offer expert support if appropriate.
If you’re planning on running a resilience campaign for employees — or even just topping up your own — here are some simple tips to share and get you started:
Our main advice: start with small steps and gradually increase your resilience and well-being – both for Blue Monday and the rest of the year.