For those of a certain generation the American pop group – the Bangles song ‘Manic Monday’ resonated strongly with workforces throughout the world. The song was released, on vinyl, in 1986 before the real mass market appeal of CD let alone Spotify, and similar instant music streaming services, existed. The song described a woman who was waking up on a Monday morning to go to work wishing it was still Sunday so she could continue to relax, but despite the evidence of gender we could all appreciate the sentiment.
Fast forward 36 years and we find ourselves facing ‘Blue Monday’, identified as being the most depressing day of the year. The day was born out of research by Sky Travel having considered the normally depressing weather (though as I am writing this there is an unusual sun beaming down and showing off the natural beauty of Plymouth!), the dark evenings, end of fiscal year planning and the inevitable arrival of the credit card statement showing how much we abused it over the festive period! My cynical nature, of course makes me think they created this day to sell more holidays! Despite changes in technology not much has changed since the Bangles song and there remains a gloom about having to get up and face the working week ahead for many.
Organising the recent mental health wellbeing lunchtime talks, which we are hosting at Delt, has made me reflect on why the world seems intent on labelling another day as being ‘special’ but with a negative connotation. Personally, I do not necessarily see it first-hand, but I do see it in others. I am fortunate that within my role, within Delt, I don’t despair about the forthcoming working week, I have a great supportive team around me and if anything, my blues come about because I did not have enough time to do the things that I wanted to do that weekend rather than what the future week looks like.
Delt, in my view, is a progressive employer and puts other companies that I have worked for, and those I have knowledge of, to shame. Delt encourages the work-life balance that we all strive for and how to achieve it, it’s not just lip service. Our employees are actively encouraged, through our wellbeing commitments, to spend quality time on …… ourselves. OK… I have immediate access to my HR colleagues which helps of course, but for others there is always someone to reach out to for support, signposting or just lending an ear. As Ant and Dec have said its ‘good to talk’.
If your organisation has Mental Health First Aiders, then reach out to them. They are trained in offering you a non-judgemental ear and helping you find the next step to getting the support you may need. If your organisation does not have MHFA then try your HR department and see if they can help banish those blues.
If you don’t feel you want to speak to a work colleague, try an Employee Assistance programme. Many organisations now offer these on a 24/7 basis and have become an invaluable tool for many. Importantly find someone trusted to talk to, such help can be found in the most unexpected places. My ‘go to guy’ is someone who I have only recently met though my university degree course and, despite the 30 years age difference, is the person who keeps me grounded and is there for me when I need. Of course, it is reciprocal, and I am humbled that they allow me in their life (I should note my thanks to his girlfriend for allowing me time with him!)
So, let us turn the manic and blue Mondays into something that can be looked forward to by reaching out to your colleagues and build those relationships where we can all look out for each other. Consider a health and wellness check in as part of a weekly scrum, create a play list based on team members suggestions and go for a walk whilst listening to it (Don’t include the Bangles manic Monday song though) but most important of all remember ‘it’s good to talk.’
Adrian Dinham, HR Advisor