Hays UK jobs and employment blog


8 ways to help beat the January blues in the workplace

By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance 

January is a time when people often reflect and set goals in their careers as well as their new personal goals. With a new year ahead, it’s an opportunity to reassess and boost your happiness at work. Blue Monday is supposed to be one of the most depressing days of the year. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you manage the January blues and give you that spark of motivation to take the right steps to help you improve your health, happiness, mindset, and career prospects at work.

Take a walk or get some exercise

As you’ve probably heard a million times, taking a break throughout the day can help with productivity, creativity and can even reduce stress. Take the time to go for a walk or even take a yoga class on your lunch break to release tons of endorphins and get your blood pumping. Make this a regular habit at work, and you’ll soon see the positive impact to your mood.

Meditate for mindfulness

Introducing some daily meditation, either in the morning or after your workday, can help you focus on the present and alleviate some of the worries or concerns you might be grappling with. Meditation can help reduce anxiety and increase stress resilience, so it’s a great way to set up your day. If you’re feeling especially zapped for motivation, or a little overwhelmed, meditating can calm your mind and offer different perspectives to help find solutions.

Limit your screen time

Ensuring you don’t spend too much of your lunch break looking at a screen will do wonders for your mind. While we all love to check in on the world and our social media updates, remember to limit screen time so you get that mental break before you resume the second half of your workday. Reading a book, listening to music, or buying one of your favourite magazines is a great way to take time out.

Join a club and have fun

Spending time with colleagues is always a good way to strengthen relationships and create a positive work environment. Why not find a lunchtime activity to get stuck into, whether it’s trivia games, going for a run in a local park, or even starting a book club! Invite colleagues to join and use lunch breaks as a chance to have fun, recharge and have conversations to encourage a positive mind. Remember, even if you’re working from home, some of these activities can still be organised over a video call.

Reflect on your success

Take the time to reflect on your achievements. No matter how big or small, whether you’re looking over a year, month or just a week, it will be a positive reminder of what you’ve achieved. Acknowledging them will help you understand your strengths and recognise your weaknesses. This is a good way to help you make smarter decisions for the future and understand what you want from your job. Maybe it will instil renewed motivation for your current role, or maybe it’ll inspire you to consider an entirely new career direction.

Plan for what will make you happy

After you’ve weighed up your achievements, look at your career plan to see what next steps you need – and want – to take. Tick off those objectives you previously made and assess whether the others are still relevant to your role and interests. Are they achievable or do you need to rewrite them to better align with who you are today? Write down your goals, make lists, and get excited for what’s around the corner.

Having a concise plan in place will give you the focus and motivation to move forward with your career. If you do need to rewrite your objectives, seeking support from your manager will ensure you’re both held accountable to ensure you achieve success.

Learn a new skill

Mental exercise helps keep the brain in shape. Speak to your manager about what training options are available to you. Not only will learning stimulate your mind, but it can benefit your role and help further your career. Check out career podcasts and attend industry events. Our free My Learning tool at Hays offers a variety of courses to help you achieve career satisfaction and get the skills employers want.

Keeping your skills and knowledge up to date is very rewarding, and upskilling has never been as important as it is in today’s job market where skill shortages continue.

Speak to someone

If you do need more support with your mental health and are feeling particularly down around this time of year, speak to your manager about getting the help you need.

Also, if you’re lacking complete motivation in your role, it might be time to be honest with yourself about what you really want out of your job. Find a way to confide in your manager that you’re not fulfilled and see if they’re able to suggest alternative options for you - it could be taking on a brand-new challenge or joining a different team to give you a new lease of motivation.

To discover lots more helpful tips and advice, please click here.

About this author

Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.


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