Many people return to work in January, after the Christmas break, feeling the January blues.
Winter time can be a particularly difficult time for people with many experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is when the decrease in sunlight leads to certain neuro chemical changes which often leads to feelings of sadness and sometimes depression. Everyone can understand that. This sense, is something we can all feel to some extent and that generally when the sun shines we are more inclined to want to leave the house, go out and do enjoyable things and be with people. When it is dark and miserable, people want to shut themselves away and part of that is a lowering of mood.
Here are a few ways you can beat the January blues:
Firstly, be prepared and plan, knowing that you may be feeling low. Plan to get out and don’t lock yourself away. Plan things to do that take you out of your home.
Many who experience SAD, invest in a light box which triggers daylight and provides the correct type of light in the darker months that would not normally be present.
Engage in activities and don’t hide yourself away to mitigate negative feelings. Exercise can be a super way to distract yourself from the dark days. Exercise improves mood and elevates your mood always. Get out and walk.
The Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey reported that in 2016, there were 137 million sick days taken by people in the UK. 15.8 million of those days were for mental health problems, which can include stress reactions, anxiety and depression. There is still stigma surrounding mental health which leads many employees to lie about their reason for absence. Businesses should ensure employees feel comfortable discussing mental health matters and support employees if they need time to focus on their mental health.
Many organisations pay for an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAPs provide a confidential workplace service for employees. The service provides support for mental health matters by combining in-person, online and over-the-phone support services like counselling and health advice. EAP helps employees deal with work-life stressors, family issues, financial concerns, relationship problems, and even drug or legal concerns.
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