So, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, Blue Monday, officially known as the “most depressing day of the year” is behind us. It is thought that statistically the 3rd Monday in January is the unhappiest day of the year based on various factors such as Christmas bills, bad weather and returning to work. Whether you hold with a measurement of happiness based on a mathematical-like equation or whether you view it as a PR contrived phenomenon is a matter of personal perspective. But perhaps it is a good opportunity to promote mental well-being in an increasingly fast and stressful world.
Mental wellbeing in the workplace, a once taboo subject, is now becoming a serious issue that is finally finding its rightful place on business’ agendas. Much research has been carried out across a wide variety of professions and unsurprisingly the legal profession did not fare particularly well. Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive on work-related stress, depression and anxiety place ‘legal professionals’ third in a list of the top four most stressful jobs in the UK. It comes behind ‘welfare professionals’ and 'nursing and midwifery'. The main reason cited was workload, whether that be too much work, tight deadlines or responsibility for others’ work. I doubt many employers would thank their workforce for wishing away workloads, so it is important that people are able to find the balance between working efficiently and maintaining their mental wellbeing.
Trying the following suggestions might make the difference when it comes to mental wellbeing at work:-
Look after your body
Eating healthily, getting regular exercise and enough sleep will improve your overall health and help you be better able to cope with stress. Make time in the evenings for unwinding whether that be through gentle exercise e.g. pilates, aromatherapy, taking a hot bath or watching TV.
Keep your time at work on a tight leash
It’s easy to feel pressured into spending more of your time at work so it is important that you exercise your ability to say no. As well as not eating into your personal life, maintaining control of time at work is the smartest way to mitigate stress and allow a healthy work life balance.
Make your personal time count
The UK has some of the longest working hours in Europe so we often don’t spend enough time doing the things we really enjoy. Whether that is spending quality time with family and friends, taking up a sport or just losing yourself in a book, it is important to earmark specific time just for this.
Cut your stress off at the source
Employers are becoming more and more aware of the need to look after their employee’s mental wellbeing, so you should approach your manager to discuss the aspects of your role that you are finding difficult. You are protected under Health & Safety Law, so employers have a duty to assess and take measures to control risks from work-related stress. If you don’t receive the help or support you need from your manager, you should remember this and escalate your concerns to HR or a more senior member of the team.
So as Blue Monday has officially been and gone, the majority of us will soldier on through these first few weeks of the year looking forward to the promise of Spring.
However sometimes it’s just not that simple. If the work related blues are sticking around longer than they should, then maybe it’s time for a career overhaul. Here at Chadwick Nott, we are not just about helping you secure your next role, we will also provide advice on changes in the markets, provide salary and benefits advice and advice on trends towards flexible working. The good news is, January is actually one of the best times to job hunt - right now we are inundated with new opportunities across most disciplines. So if you are thinking new year, new job or you just need some advice please do get in touch.
Claire Watt is a very experienced legal recruiter focusing on the Insurance market covering Manchester, Leeds and London. Please feel free to contact her at email@example.com or on 0161 828 5407.