In case you’ve been asleep last week or have just landed on Earth from a galaxy far beyond the stars, you’ll have heard the term ‘Blue Monday’ being bandied about a lot, especially within organisations. It’s apparently the most depressing day of the year, when Christmas and New Year have passed, everyone’s broke and there isn’t much to look forward too. There’s no science behind this though – the expression was actually coined by a holiday company over 10 years ago.

And while talking about depression in the workplace is a good thing (see last week’s blog post), for many people the feelings we’re all meant to experience on this one day of the year are a reality almost all of the time. It’s Blue every day for them.

They can’t just read the tabloid tips to make you feel better most of the articles around Blue Monday carried. Some are relevant, but it takes a bit more than simply smiling at a work colleague to help them beat the blues. Being nice is always great, but to truly bounce back from mental health issues and feelings of stress, employees really need to learn how to be resilient.

Being resilient means being able to cope with failure – and even learn from it – and turn negative situations into positives. It’s about being able to interpret situations in a way that’s rational and realistic instead of making it a big deal. Resilience is more than just picking yourself up after a setback, it’s about tackling difficult relationships head-on and dealing successfully with challenging situations.

Or, in other words, it’s about coping with life’s twists and turns, both personal and professional.

In organisations, people face situations all the time where they’re expected to be resilient. Changes to their roles and responsibilities, periods of change, uncertainty about the future, and instances where personal circumstances affect their work. Managers and executives within organisations often expect employees to be resilient and adaptable. Most of them see themselves as being extremely resilient and it being a big part of their success. Sometimes they can’t see that others don’t have the same resiliency levels as them.

However, it’s probably fair to say not many organisations pave the way for their people to learn how to be, or how to improve their resilience. Maybe it’s seen as a given that people are naturally resilient and it’s one of the many life skills you just pick up on your way.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your people are more resilient. Looking after their wellbeing is perhaps the most important one. Make sure healthy relationships between managers and staff are the norm, and people feel empowered to talk about how they feel, especially if they’re suffering from mental health issues. Managers should feel confident talking about the issue and not be scared of putting their foot in it.

Reducing periods of change and uncertainty is another way to improve resilience. And when you have to go through either of these, keep the lines of communication open so people feel informed and confident. They’re far more likely to be able to deal with whatever you throw at them if you do it in an open, honest way.

Some organisations go further and have wellbeing coaches onsite to help people cope. You don’t have to go to these lengths, but you do have a few obligations by law when it comes to employee wellbeing. Organisations have to provide occupational health rehabilitation, long-term disability management, return to work schemes, and absence management programmes to manage employee ill-health, as well as schemes around the prevention and promotion banner, including health promotion activities, work life balance, time management schemes, and primary care management.

So bouncing back is about far than beating Blue Monday. Resilience isn’t a buzzword – it’s a real concern. Is your organisation up for it?