Thousands of Kiwis are heading back to work tomorrow after their summer holidays, and as they walk into work, the back to work blues just might come in with them.
The back to work blues are a common experience and can include feeling lethargic, unmotivated and resentful.
“Holidays are a great and necessary chance to relax, unwind and reset,” Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “It’s natural to feel a bit low when they’re over and we’re back to business as usual, but the back to work blues are avoidable.”
The MHF is challenging individuals and workplaces in New Zealand to not just accept the back to work blues, but take the new year as an opportunity to commit to improving mental health and to work actively to ensure that coming to work is an enjoyable and supportive experience for all.
“We want 2018 to be the year of mental health in the workplace,” Mr Robinson says. “The benefits of improved workplace mental health extend beyond individuals, - they reach into our whānau and communities, too.”
Since 2009, the MHF has been championing the Five Ways to Wellbeing. These five simple steps, (connect, give, take notice, be active and keep learning) are easy to do and make a surprisingly big difference in improving mental health and wellbeing – they are proven to help people find balance, build resilience and boost mental health and wellbeing.
In 2017, the MHF (in partnership with the Health Promotion Agency), launched the Five Ways to Wellbeing at Work toolkit to help employers prioritise mental health and create an engaged workforce with improved wellbeing, greater morale and higher job satisfaction.
The Foundation is challenging employers to make use of the free toolkit to create a better working environment, improve their bottom line and meet their health and safety obligations to manage risks to mental health and wellbeing.
“The toolkit takes the guess work out of using the Five Ways to Wellbeing in the workplace, taking you through four steps for success and offering practical information in the form of ten fact sheets and eleven different tools,” Mr Robinson says.
Mr Robinson says the evidence overwhelmingly presents a strong business case for looking after the mental wellbeing of employees.
“We know workplaces that prioritise mental health have more engaged staff, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity. Australian research also found that workplaces that take effective action to create mentally healthy workplaces can expect a return on investment of $2.30 for every dollar spent,” Mr Robinson says.
“If you look at it that way, the question isn’t ‘should we do this?’ but ‘can we afford not to?’”
For further information or comment, please contact:
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While it’s not uncommon to feel a bit low when you first get back to work, it’s not usual for this feeling to continue. If you do continue to feel this way for more than two weeks or you feel down and tearful for no apparent reason, please speak to someone you trust or see your GP for help. You can also phone the following numbers for advice:
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor.
Lifeline 0800 543 354
Youthline 0800 37 66 33 or free text 234
Samaritans 0800 726 666