January can be a tough month. The magic of Christmas and the New Year is over, late evenings with friends and family have left you tired and you’re back in the office with a cold coffee you forgot about. Low morale in the workplace creates low productivity, increased staff turnover and consequently decreased profitability. So how can you reduce the risk of the ‘January Blues’ in your workplace?  

What are the January Blues?

The ‘January Blues’ are characterised by feelings of sadness, irritability or being unfocussed as we move on from the festive season into another working year. It is caused by not resting enough over the holidays, breaking resolutions or feeling unfulfilled by the work environment.  

How to reduce the January Blues

Blue therapy 

Recent studies have shown that spending as little as two hours per week in nature, specifically ‘blue’ spaces like the ocean, rivers or lakes, can have significant effects on mental and physical wellbeing. Improved air quality in these spaces helps to boost serotonin levels, improving our mood. Sounds such as flowing water and waves crashing have also been found to reduce stress levels. Whilst rivers or lakes might not be nearby, encouraging your employees to get outside on their lunch breaks and on the weekends can make a difference.  

Stay active and play 

Many of us have a New Year’s resolution to be more active. Exercise has positive effects on our physical health and mental health. Introducing walking team meetings or a Friday afternoon stretch can boost concentration and productivity in your employees, and strengthen bonds between colleagues.  

Practice gratitude 

Practicing gratitude both in retrospect and for what is to come, allows for reflection and to find positive parts from the day. Having a ‘rose, thorn and bud’ team meeting where colleagues reflect on something they are grateful for (rose), something that challenged them (thorn) and something they are looking forward to (bud), provides an opportunity to reflect and recognise team accomplishments.  

Four people sitting around a timber table with a laptop and an iPad. One person is holding a coffee cup

Seek professional help  

Returning to work after some down time isn’t always the best feeling but setting your employees up to maintain both their physical and mental wellbeing can ease the strain and busyness of a New Year. If your organisation offers Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), January is a great time of year to remind your employees to access these services to discuss any concerns.  

In addition to the EAP, workplace wellbeing programs can reduce the occurrence of the ‘January Blues’ and improve overall physical and mental health. At Better Being, we implement comprehensive wellbeing strategies that are tailored to your organisation’s needs, boosting employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction. To find out what we have in store for 2024, click here.  


Rimmer A. How can I beat the January blues? BMJ 2021; 372 :m4932 doi:10.1136/bmj.m4932 


Buxton, R. T., Pearson, A. L., Allou, C., Fristrup, K., & Wittemyer, G. (2021). A synthesis of health benefits of natural sounds and their distribution in national parks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(14), e2013097118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2013097118 


Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?