Business Boost | 15 January 2018 - by Ian Midgley

Five ways to keep your staff motivated on Blue Monday

You’ve enjoyed Christmas and had a blast at New Year - but now it’s time to face the cold hard reality of January.

You’ve enjoyed Christmas and had a blast at New Year - but now it’s time to face the cold hard reality of January.

You’re back at work. It’s cold, dark and wet outside. Your bank account has taken a battering and it feels like an eternity to pay day. You’ve already broken half of your new year resolutions, your motivation is at rock bottom and there’s nothing you’d like to do more than to sit at home in your pyjamas watching The Chase.

Looking across the office it’s also clear most of your staff feel the same way.

No wonder Monday, 15 January, is dubbed Blue Monday – arguably the most depressing day of the year.

Although there is no real scientific basis why Blue Monday is the worst day of the year – it was actually created in 2005 by a travel company in a bid to sell more holidays – experts believe the perfect firestorm of debt, weather, lethargy and lack of sunlight all combine to make the third Monday of January one we’d all rather avoid.

But if it’s too late to book the day off and hibernate, then try these five ways to keep yourself and your team motivated to make sure to enjoy a happy and productive Blue Monday.

1) Avoid the gloom by planning your next big project. It’s hard to be down when you’ve got a big, exciting challenge to look forward to.

2) Encourage your team to go out for a brisk lunchtime walk in the daylight. It’s important, especially at this time of year, to get your fix of sunlight and Vitamin D. Sunlight helps stabilise serotonin, which affects appetite, digestion, sleep and memory and also helps trigger mood-enhancing endorphins.

3) Take proactive steps to sort out your finances. Download an app such as Monday Dashboard which will help you focus on your spending habits and plan for the future. Removing money worries will help you feel more upbeat.

4) Smile more. When you smile you release feel good chemicals in your brain – and it’s also contagious. Being surrounded by smiling people at work makes you feel happier too.

5) You’ve joined the gym thanks to a new year rush of blood to the head, but so far you’ve only been once. Exercise releases natural endorphins that make you feel better and will make you happy for the rest of the day. Why not grab a couple of colleagues and head out for a quick jog!