Goodbye January blues, it’s all about balance for 2022

Year on year January brings with it mixed emotions for many of us. We have this expectation that we need to plan for the year ahead, be better than the year before and know exactly what path we’re taking. For some, this is the case but for a large percentage of the population, new year can bring with it anxiety and nervousness, which is further exaggerated by the current pandemic, working from home and social media – the list goes on!

I’ve personally been through positive and negative periods over the last 24 months and focusing on my mental health has been incredibly important to help get me through the difficult times.

For me, exercise and connecting with others and nature is key for my mental wellbeing and to help with sleep. Whether that be an individual gym session, group classes to socialise with others, running with a friend, lunchtime walks; I try to ensure that I prioritise some form of exercise every day.

On joining Eton Bridge Partners in June, I quickly signed myself up to be part of their Wellbeing team and have been amazed at how flexible and supportive the business has been and continues to be. Olivia Sharp wrote this blog just before the pandemic, focussing on; Mental Health in the workplace: it’s the little things that make a big difference and I wanted to reflect on this.

As a team, Eton Bridge has some amazing initiatives in place all year round to make sure our people are supported.  In this blog, I’d like to highlight some of the initiatives that we’re continuing and offer tips from individuals across EBP on how they’re coping with January and working from home. I hope that you find something helpful for you or your business.

 EBP Buddy System

At Eton Bridge, we are all about people – we pride ourselves on building  strong, personal relationships with our teams and across the wider organisation. Before joining Eton Bridge Partners every new starter is allocated a ‘buddy’ within the business who is there for the new team member to make sure that they  are quickly integrated and connected with the business and they have a close point of contact when starting out.

We bring our whole selves to work

From the photo wall in our break out area displaying individual achievements, to the additional summer leave we’re given to encourage personal ‘me’ time, the firm really focuses in on those small things that make a big difference.

Flexible working

We are actively encouraged to switch off when not at work, and to work flexibly in a way that fits with our individual lifestyles. It is rare to find a lunchtime when one or more of our team are not setting off to the gym, a walk or a swim.

Walkie Talkies

Throughout lockdown we were encouraged to take walking meetings as opposed to sitting on a Teams call. Not only was this great for our wellbeing as we could get out in the fresh air, but we got to see people in person (from a distance) in a time where you could sit at your desk all day and only taken 100 steps!  This has now been fully adopted and even when in the office, we will regularly see colleagues going out for walks together rather than sitting in a coffee shop.

Gestures of gratitude

I’ve never received so many hampers and little thank you gifts in such a short period of time! Even before starting, a beautiful box of goodies arrived at Easter which put a huge smile on my face. EBP really makes you feel special and united in celebrating personal achievements and milestones as well as successes within the business.

Giving back

At Eton Bridge, we have a dedicated “giving back team”. We participate in activities like community giving, fundraising and challenges as a team. Last year we organised a whole company walk to raise money for Young Minds and were all given a charity day off to participate; Ageing bodies get moving for Young Minds.

It’s another chance to work and spend time together as a team and connect with each other in a different way whilst having the time and opportunity to give back to the community.

 A safe place to talk

Alongside the Employee Assistance programme, EBP recognised the importance of people having a confidential and safe place to talk. They have invested in training people from across the business to become Mental Health First Aiders to help normalise the conversation around mental health.

Top Tips from the team at EBP for beating the January blues:

“Even when there isn’t a pandemic, I struggle in January. The shorter days and the cold weather is challenging and it’s hard to get the family out for fresh air!

I work hard on acceptance in January – not feeling pressurised to ‘be better’ or thinner, or calmer or more productive, but instead prioritising and celebrating small wins. Being ‘enough’, if you like. I also try really hard to have little treats to look forward to – dinner with friends or a quiet day off to help me recharge”

Lucy Dawson
Candidate Manager – Business Transformation & Technology

“Setting myself personal goals and using January as a platform to set myself up for the year reminds me that there are 12 months in the year to achieve these and not just 1! I like to reflect on the previous year and look back at things that worked well and made me happy to prioritise these things in the year ahead! Also remembering to be more present and putting things in place to allow for this!”

Paul McNamara
Partner & Head of Interim HR Practice

“Prioritising exercise is crucial for my mental health. Having run the London Marathon last year, it was stark that the 2 months following the run, when my exercise levels dropped significantly, was when I struggled the most. I am also a real advocate of breathing correctly, and when I feel stress rising, I find that focusing on inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds for a 5 minute period is incredibly useful. Read Breath by James Nestor if you want to learn more… ”