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Blue Monday is a name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. In 2021, Blue Monday will fall on the 18th of January.
The concept was created in 2004 by psychologist Cliff Arnall while conducting research for former UK holiday company, Sky Travel.
To lead him to his conclusion, Arnall developed a formula that considered many aspects of the new year that can affect the typical employee’s mental health, including; weather, debt, monthly salary, time passed since Christmas, non-fulfilled New Year resolutions and low motivation levels.
While the legitimacy of the day is often disputed by experts, the mental health effects of the winter months are very real and can lead towards serious health concerns such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), anxiety and depression.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will be faced with the difficult task of tackling the effects of Blue Monday under restricted circumstances. Here, we have listed a few tips on how to support your people this Blue Monday, during the pandemic...
Rewards: If members of your team are working remotely or have been furloughed due to the pandemic, sending your people a small token of gratitude is a great idea. This could be as something small as a ‘Thank you’ card, or if you have the resources, you could send digital vouchers to each team member.
Social sessions: With many of us having to isolate from our friends and families during the pandemic, scheduling informal social video calls for your teams will do wonders to combat the effects of the January blues.
Host a virtual party: With staff parties being cancelled throughout the festive period, hosting a virtual party on Blue Monday could be the perfect pick-me-up that your people need! Remember those digital vouchers that we suggested? Send your people some food delivery service vouchers, pick a time and schedule a video call so your team can eat, laugh, and chat together.
Exercise classes: It’s been proven that exercise can help improve mental health and overall wellbeing. Consider hosting virtual fitness classes for your people! If you have fitness fanatics within your organisation, you can host these internally, alternatively, group online fitness classes are available online.
Be flexible: With the winter months being colder, darker, and shorter, many of your people may struggle to top up on their daily intake of Vitamin D. On Blue Monday, let your people start later or finish earlier to get some much-needed fresh air. You may find that the response is so positive, you could make flexible working a permanent feature within your organisation!
Recognise good work: Staff members can often feel demotivated – especially if they’re feeling overworked and their achievements are going unnoticed. Employers must recognise a good job being done when they see it; even just a simple ‘thank you’ won’t go amiss.
If you’re aware that some of your staff are consistently excelling in their role, use Blue Monday as an opportunity to tell them! It will help boost their motivation, self-esteem and productivity.
Overall, regardless if you believe the science behind Blue Monday, the day is a great opportunity for employers to address their employees’ mental health and wellbeing ahead of the upcoming year.
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