Winter is coming!
The days are getting shorter, the light is hiding away and there is a slight feeling of dullness that has overcome the shared office space. There are many factors that can contribute to this feeling including the increased number of cold and flu cases, the stress caused by the holiday season and Seasonal Affective Disorder which affects 2-6% of the population (MDAO, 1999).
Seasonal Affective Disorder is an extreme case of the winter blues, which only affects around 15% of people. Sufferers of these disorders can experience feeling overtired, lethargic and disinterested in work. Therefore, it is important for professionals to be aware of how these conditions can decrease productivity and hinder success in themselves and possibly their team members. In this article, we discuss 5 ways you can beat the winter blues and keep your productivity on track.
Give Your Desk a Makeover
It may seem trivial but changing the décor in your office can increase happiness. Purchasing an indoor plant is a great way to start. We recommend a Snake Plant or a Peace Lily, as they both have the strength to live in the darkness of an internal office. Opting for a lighter colour palette is also a good choice with science suggesting blue, yellow and green can help lighten the mood of a space. Surrounding yourself with pictures of loved ones or a favourite pieces of artwork will also make you feel happier at your desk, even when it is miserable outside (Landrum, Forbes, 2017).
Move your body
Exercise is a proven remedy for many types of psychological issues. Winter is a great time to take up a new exercise regime as you have more time to spend indoors. Why not set yourself a fitness goal to distract your mind from the winter blues? There are a variety of different activities you can do whilst Locked indoors such as spin, yoga, boxing or even rock climbing.
If your company has a policy surrounding working from home, winter is a great time to explore it as an option. One of the hardest things about winter can be pulling yourself out of bed when the sky is dark and gloomy, the second hardest thing is the commute. If you are an employer or small business owner, giving your team members the option to work from home can work wonders for their productivity (See our article on the benefits here). Another option could be allowing employees to alter their working hours so they can maximise their exposure to the sun each day.
Nourish your body
The last thing your body needs whilst suffering from the Winter blues is to get sick. The risk of cold and flu during the winter months is heightened due to the decrease in vitamin D we receive from the sun, which helps with immunity, as well as the fact that viruses prefer the cold (Medical News Today, 2017). Therefore, it is important to ensure you are choosing to eat healthy, nutrient rich foods to give your body the strength it needs to ward off germs. Investing in vitamins such as Vitamin D and Vitamin C can further give your body a boost during the harsh winter months.
During Winter it can be easy to lock yourself away in your apartment and fall into a life of take out, Netflix and no social activity. But you must be vigilant (particularly those who are working from home)! Keeping up your social calendar both in and outside of work is a must during the colder months. Connecting with friends and coworkers during winter can decrease feelings of anxiety, loneliness and isolation. If you are in a coworking space or shared office, this is a great time to organize an event such as a shared lunch, board game tournament or happy hour.