How have you been feeling since you have returned to work? Are you your normal cheery and positive self? Or have you noticed any of your colleagues/employees acting differently since 2019?
If you haven’t been feeling yourself recently or have noticed a co-worker acting strangely, then you and your co-workers could be suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or the ‘New Year Blues’.
Some of the symptoms of SAD as stated by the NHS are being “lethargic”, “feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness” and “craving of carbohydrates and gaining extra weight”. If you would like to read more about how SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can affect you, click the link below
I think it is safe to say that some of these feelings will be affecting the majority of the UK workforce as they reluctantly return back to work this January. I hope like ourselves at HPC you indulged in spending too much money, drinking too much wine and eating too many carbs. At HPC we believe having time to wind down and relax is vital to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but these annual traditions give mental health issues like SAD, a head start at affecting you. Combining SAD symptoms with an unpleasant 7AM alarm, a not so healthy looking bank balance and a never-ending commute of red lights, there is no avoiding the truth that early January workplace vibes aren’t always the most positive.
To top it all off Brexit is still not done, Donald Trump may have just started to WW3 and Liverpool are 13 points clear with a game in hand…
What can you do?
The good news is the support available for the one-in-15 workers suffering from SAD or the ‘New Year Blues’ is second to none. (If you would like help and support please see the links below).
Simon Blake the chief executive of Mental Health First Aid England spoke with Personnel Today and gave some advice to employers who could be affected with winter-related mental health issues. He states staff members should get out more, switch to a balanced, nutritious diet and to be wary of overindulging on alcohol and chocolate.
The major problem many people face with kick-starting their New Year is it can be difficult to take action when they are already suffering from winter-based mental health struggles. It is important as employers to aid employees in overcoming these issues with simple changes like;
The Guardian spoke with GP Margaret McCartney, she says the best thing to overcome the ‘New Year Blues’ is to find “some space, a pair of trainers and a bit of time” and get outdoors and do some form of exercise.
In conclusion, as the days get brighter, the winter weight begins to shed and the workplace gets back into a routine, mental health issues like SAD and the ‘New Year Blues’ will loosen their grip and slowly the workplace will return to normal. Although for staff members that do not seem to be improving it is important to take the correct action to make sure they make a full recovery.
If you would like advice on how you can help staff suffering from SAD related mental health issues or if you would like help with any other HR needs, then please get in contact with the HPC team today.