As the nights start to draw in and festive preparations begin, now is the time to swot up on the seasonal factors that can affect employee mental health.
Here to point you in the right direction, we’ve identified a few specific areas of wellbeing to pay closer attention to over the winter months:
The holidays are an expensive time of the year, what with gifts, parties, and energy bills to budget for – plus, of course, the general increased cost of living.
Workplaces can help ease the stress and anxiety their employees may feel around money by offering workshops in financial wellbeing.
Luminate has a series of sessions on just this subject, covering topics such as money and mental health, budgeting and planning, and managing credit and borrowing.
Mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org too is an amazing, free resource on this subject, offering plenty of practical advice and tools on money and mental health that your teams may find useful.
Employees in the UK are entitled to 28 days statutory leave per year, but a large proportion of this holiday remains, for one reason or another, untaken. 🤔
It is in an employer’s best interests to encourage staff to take their full quota of annual leave before it expires at the end of the calendar year, but why is this?
Taking proper holidays relieves stress and anxiety and helps cultivate a healthy work-life balance. It reduces the likelihood of employees taking sick days, developing mental health issues, and burning out altogether. Which ultimately means that your people are happier, healthier, and better equipped to do their jobs.
Low mood is something to be extra vigilant for over the winter months due to the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a form of depression that affects sufferers' moods, usually during wintertime, due to a reduced exposure to daylight. Bupa estimates that around 20% of the UK population are affected by the condition.
Having a team member, such as a manager or Mental Health First Aider, who’s trained in spotting the signs and symptoms of depression, who can offer a non-non-judegmental ear or signpost to further support, will be incredibly valuable during this time and in the future.
Companies may also consider encouraging employees to take regular breaks outside and making adjustments to ensure that members of staff that experience SAD have a desk near a window or light-source.
World Mental Health Day (held annually on 10th October) is a global initiative that aims to fight mental health stigma and campaign for improved mental health care and provisions around the world.
For organisations, World Mental Health Day presents itself as an excellent opportunity to address the topic of mental health at work, to check in with employees, and to hold workshops or events that can help support and educate staff on the topic of mental wellbeing.
If you'd like extra support or resources, Luminate offer a range of services that can help companies make a real impact on World Mental Health Day.
As much as the festive season calls for organised-fun and socialising 💃, for some it simply amplifies pre-existing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
According to recent studies* 3/5 of adults between 18-35 feel lonely all to most of the time, 1/5 millennials don’t believe they have a single friend, and 2/3 pensioners state that their main form of companionship is the television or a pet. The statistics show that, as a nation, we are lonelier and more isolated than ever before.
Companies can help tackle loneliness by strengthening bonds between colleagues and actively building a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and community. This might be through forming D&I groups, putting on team building days, and educating your people-leaders on creating inclusive, psychologically safe work environments.
Have a look at our webinar, Overcoming Loneliness to learn more about this topic and what your organisation can do to help.
The festive season is the perfect time to celebrate with colleagues and reflect on the year gone by. Team building activities, away days, or awards ceremonies to recognise staff achievements are an excellent way to improve engagement, boost morale and strengthen at-work relationships.
As well as Christmas (the bank holiday that gets the most attention during this period) you might consider marking other religious holidays too; using them as opportunities to celebrate with and educate the whole team. For example, the Coptic Orthodox Christmas in January, and Bodhi Day, when Mahãyãna Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment.
The run up to Christmas is usually chock-a-block with deadlines - both personal and professional. And, because of this, it can be an overwhelming time for some, putting them at a higher risk of burning out.
To support employees with the pre-holiday rush, consider booking one of our Stress Management or Time Management workshops. You might also look into holding workplace sessions in yoga, meditation, or nutrition to give people a much-needed dose of calm and self care, as well as keeping a closer eye on workloads during this time.
Once the festivities are over, people may experience a bit of a comedown. But companies can help combat the January Blues by empowering staff to proactively look after their wellbeing and providing them with the time and resources to do so.
For example, encouraging staff to get outside and make the most of the daylight with a lunchtime walking group, subsidising gym or swim memberships, and making healthy eating as easy as possible with nutrition workshops or a hearty, Veganuary canteen menu.
If you'd like to learn more about how Luminate can support winter wellbeing within your organisation, drop us a line today.
*Noreena Hertz, The Lonely Century, 2021