I was never aware of Blue Monday when I was growing up. I didn’t give it a second thought during my student days or when I was starting out on my career. It seems to have appeared over the last decade or so and I’ve been sceptical to say the least, resisting the urge to buy in to whatever it is that I’m being sold. A quick Google search confirms my doubts; the idea originated in a press release from a travel company that was shopped around to sell holidays in 2005.
And yet… The concept obviously resonates, otherwise it wouldn’t be a ‘thing’ that we all recognise. A day that many relate to. Two words strung together, both with negative connotations, that have, anecdotally at least, caused many to reassess their lives, their work, their purpose, and their values.
At this time of year in particular, when we break our resolutions, when it’s cold outside and we’re all broke, it’s only natural to feel a bit…blue. Add to the mix a third year of a global pandemic and Bingo! We’ve all got many reasons to feel all the January feels. But for me, the idea that those feelings should be affiliated with one specific day feels like a nonsense, the desire to reassess our lives can come at any time and under any circumstance.
Much has been written about the ‘Great Resignation’ or the ‘Big Quit’ that has taken place during the course of the pandemic. For many, the new life that was sprung upon us led to new thinking, a chance to reflect on our roles and our skills and whether they were being put to good use. Whether the workplace we were forced to leave was the workplace we wanted to return to, and to question where we belong.
At its core, the definition of a sense of belonging is when a person feels included and accepted as their authentic self. Since 2020, belonging has become more critical than ever as teams started and then continued to work remotely, and research shows that belonging became 12% more important for employee happiness during COVID-19 lockdowns. So, it’s no surprise that those people that had doubts about whether they truly belonged to their business or industry before the pandemic, made the decision to join the Great Resignation during it.
When people have that sense of belonging, they feel appreciated and valued. This, in turn, helps people to feel like they are working for an organisation that offers real opportunities to grow and succeed. Many workers are joining the Great Resignation simply because they no longer feel their skills, views or experiences are valued. This makes it critical for organisations to understand that when it comes to their people (especially for women or marginalised groups) inclusion and belonging can be a much more successful motivator than pay increases or unlimited holiday.
So, when we’re looking for something else, something new or something more, there’s no point in waiting until Blue Monday, Wellness Wednesday or even Thank F**K It’s FriYAY, we can make conscious decisions and choices any day of the week at any point in the year, to ensure that we move from longing to belonging.
If you’re feeling like you would like to explore what that might look like for you and to take some time out to consider what a place of belonging looks like for you, come and join us at our next Learning collective virtual session on the 10th February, Eventbrite link in our bio, we hope to see you there! Happy Blue Monday!
By Zoë Cox