January is one of the most difficult times of the year. Tis the season where we pack away the baubles and the fairy lights and head back to the office post-Christmas party. This might be why Blue Monday, awarded the most depressing day of the year, falls in this month.
It can feel like one of the longest months to get through, especially from a work perspective where you are trying to get back into a routine. It can really affect your wellbeing or cause issues with depression, sadness and feeling unmotivated.
There are some small changes you can introduce to your workday to boost your levels of serotonin – known as the happy hormone -to get you feeling a bit better.
1 – Screen breaks for better wellbeing
Our workplaces are online now more than ever, and this can have a huge effect on our moods and our eyes. We are all guilty of heading to the canteen or kitchen on our breaks and picking up our phones going from one screen to another.
Taking time out can be a welcome break that helps to lift our mood, rest our eyes and also, allows us time to connect with others. It’s not easy but why not try introducing phone-free breaks or involve yourself in a task away from a screen so you aren’t tempted to look!
2 – Reassess your access requirements
Our needs change over time and sometimes, we don’t change our workstations enough. The new year is the perfect time to think about what could make your workplace easier. For example, this could mean adding something easy like signing up for apps like Grammarly if you are dyslexic or Otter if it would be helpful to have a transcript created. It could be a change to your desk set up such as a standing desk if this would work better for you.
3 – Pack a good mood food lunch or office snack
January is always associated with healthy eating or going vegan, even giving up alcohol. It’s a hard month to go cold turkey on carbs thanks to the colder weather. Several foods make great snacks that can boost serotonin which is often referred to as the happy hormone.
Bananas, berries, quinoa, salmon or dark chocolate all affect our wellbeing.
4 – Take up a creative after-work activity to boost your wellbeing
Creative activities can be a really good way of unwinding after work. If you’ve not tried art since A-Levels then there are plenty of other things you can choose from such as knitting, singing, writing songs or poems. Why not join a group locally or set one up? There may even be work groups for activities so it can be worth checking to see what’s available.
5 – Change of environment
If you work from home, why not change location? If you can, why not work from a coffee shop or a community space for the day? It would allow you to meet new people, break up the week and it might feel like a bit of a change. If you work alone, it might feel like a bit of interaction without being too demanding socially. It’s also a great excuse to order a nice tea or fancy coffee.
6 – Recognising when you need help
It’s important to recognise when seasonal sadness is going on a bit too long as it might be a sign of something deeper. If you are struggling with hopelessness, sadness, low mood or lack of sleep then it might be a sign that you have depression.
Reaching out to your GP or healthcare professional is critical as it can help you to improve your wellbeing . You do not have to disclose to your workplace until you are ready to do so but it can be helpful to see if your workplace has any support groups or mental health first aiders.
If you don’t want to open up in the office then there are lots of different helplines and websites that you can access.
Samaritans. you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by free calling 116 123. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
SANEline. SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30 pm–10.30 pm every day)
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK. Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6 pm to midnight every day)
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). 0800 58 58 58 (5 pm–midnight every day) CALM also run a web chat service on their website.
Shout. Text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support for crisis and immediate help.
The Mix. (Under 25) The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3 pm-midnight every day), request support by email using this form on The Mix website.