January can be tough. A combination of debt, cold weather, time since Christmas, low motivation and failed New Year’s resolutions sees the most depressing day of the year also known as Blue Monday fall on 21 January this year.

And while we know Blue Monday is just a concept, finding the enthusiasm to power through work after a long holiday can make January seem particularly gloomy. In fact, according to recent reports collected by Instant Offices, most Brits are likely to hand in their resignation letters on 31 January.

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 in 2019, manage work-life balance and increase happiness, here are eight simple ways on how to crush the career blues and start January off with some positive changes:

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

Take charge of your career track this year 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.

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

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.

7. Prioritise Mental Health

CIPD found 23% of British workers feel their organisation doesn’t take employee wellbeing seriously, yet more than a third of the UK workforce experience anxiety, depression, or stress.

With this in mind, it is imperative to recognise the signs that your mental health may be under pressure and to ensure you de-stress regularly.

8. Step Out of the Office

No more lunch at your desk in 2019. 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 in 2019.

Visit FE Careers to find the latest Job Vacancies for your next Further Education role.

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