As we enter the cold, dark and dreary winter months, finding the enthusiasm to power through work after all the festivities can make the rest of year seem particularly gloomy. In fact, NHS estimates that one in 15 Britons experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) between September and April – a type of depression that is caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight during the darker winter months, although cold temperatures and weak daylight also contribute to this melancholic state.
A survey by Bidvine last year found the top priorities for workers in 2018 included travel and getting a promotion or pay rise, followed by the resolution to improve mental health. In 2019 a YouGov survey revealed much of the same, with people looking to eat better, exercise more, care for themselves better, learn new skills and get a new job.
With more employees looking to climb the career ladder, manage work-life balance and increase happiness, here are eight simple ways on how to crush the career blues with some positive changes, according to Instant Offices:
1. Ask for an Increase
A TotalJobs poll of 5,000 people in the UK showed 68% hadn’t received a pay rise or promotion in the last year, leading to unhappiness at work. If you’re committed to your job but need more to keep you motivated, it’s definitely time to stop stalling and ask for a raise. Don’t turn the conversation into an ultimatum – if you’re happy with your career but not the pay, make sure to communicate that clearly.
2. Find a Mentor
This year, take charge of your career track by finding a mentor willing to share their insights and experience. In addition to guiding you on career growth and decision-making, their constructive feedback can help you expand your skill set. Fortune 500 companies understand the value of mentorship – 71% offer formal mentoring programs to their employees.
Here are some tips on how to find a mentor:
- Ask your network. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues to see if they know anyone who would be a good mentor for you.
- Look for mentors online. There are many websites and online communities that connect mentors and mentees.
- Reach out to professionals in your field. Attend industry events, conferences, or workshops and introduce yourself to professionals who you admire.
- Contact your school or university. Many schools and universities have mentorship programs that can connect you with a mentor.
- Volunteer your time. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. You may be able to find a mentor through your volunteer work.
3. Get Involved in Teamwork
Volunteer to take on a challenging client project or pitch internal projects with coworkers. Collaboration and teamwork can increase creativity, help strengthen relationships, create a more positive work environment and boost confidence. Some studies also suggest team partnerships can increase productivity at work.
4. Stay Busy
Around 40% of UK employees admit to being bored at work, and more than half think their existing skills are being wasted, according to a study by OC Tanner. Boredom at work is a significant source of stress and can lead to depression and disinterest. Ensure you take regular breaks during long tasks, but during quiet periods, keep yourself busy by learning a new skill or pursuing personal goals that can assist with your career.
5. Upskill Yourself
The world of work is constantly changing, and new technologies and skills are always emerging. If you want to stay competitive in your field, you need to be willing to upskill and learn new things. Increase your value at work by learning a new skill. Research by World Economic Forum shows that over a third (35%) of skills that are considered important today will change in five years.
6. Use Vacation Days
Perhaps you want to save time off for a long holiday later in the year, or simply feel you don’t have enough time for a break, but taking regular holidays throughout the year will help you feel refreshed, relaxed and more productive.
Vacations can also help improve creativity and problem-solving skills by giving you a chance to relax and let your mind wander. When you’re not working, you’re free to think about other things, which can help you come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
7. Prioritize Mental Health
CIPD found 23% of British workers feel their organization doesn’t take employee wellbeing seriously, yet more than a third of the UK workforce experiences anxiety, depression, or stress. With this in mind, it is imperative to recognize the signs that your mental health may be under pressure and to ensure you de-stress regularly.
Here are some tips for taking care of your mental health:
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet can help to improve your mood and energy levels.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Spend time with loved ones. Social support is important for mental health. Make time for activities that you enjoy with family and friends.
- Learn to manage stress. Stress can have a negative impact on mental health. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or talking to a therapist.
- Seek help if you need it. If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to seek help. There are many resources available to help you get better.
8. Step Out of the Office
No more lunch at your desk. It’s not natural to stay seated for so long, and research shows Brits spend around nine hours a day sitting down at work – a sedentary lifestyle that takes its toll on our health. Reducing the amount of time you stay seated can do wonders for your productivity, as well as physical and mental health.
Take charge of your happiness and be proactive by contributing to a work environment that sees you excel rather than be demotivated.
About the author: Established in 1999, The Instant Group is a global flexible workspace specialist. Underpinned by unrivaled expertise, Instant tailors unique solutions to help businesses of all sizes to grow, drive savings or gain invaluable insight..