January Blues and Supporting Your Team

The New Year can be a time of new beginnings for business and many organizations will set plans in place for the coming year after a quieter holiday season.  Your employees however may be experiencing additional stress that is not related to the business but may affect their overall performance.

Stress in January may be caused by the arrival of credit card bills, wanting to get back to healthier eating and adding exercise to their routine as part of New Year’s resolutions.  For some of your employees the holidays may not have lived up to their expectations, leading to disappointment and frustrations.   January brings shorter days and colder temperatures and this can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  SAD is a type of depression related to the change of season and those affected may exhibit low energy, trouble sleeping and continued feelings of the blues, all of which impacts their workday.  

Whatever the cause, it is important to be cognizant of how the mental health of your team impacts the overall workplace.    Mental health will impact the team dynamics in your office, and you need to be able to provide the appropriate level of support to both the individual and the team. 

For the individual, a company employee assistance program may offer programs such as a hotline, counselors and/or therapists, or even articles to reference. Trained professionals are able to help with specific issues and collaborate on strategies to support individual needs.  For the overall team, it is a good to encourage walks outdoors during lunch breaks to allow the positive impact of fresh air and exercise to improve moods.  You may also be able to allow the repositioning of desks to take advantage of the sunlight coming through a window.   Supporting good eating habits by offering healthy snacks will help to avoid the afternoon sugar crash and promote a healthy lifestyle. 

Supporting and understanding your team is important any time of the year but in the month of January it may be more relevant to focus on mental health and well-being.  Providing the appropriate level of support is just good business practice.

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