Are you one of those people who finds winter a struggle? You hate the chilly mornings and evenings, the rain, the cold winds, the bare trees, the bulky clothes. And you really hate leaving home and coming home in the dark, missing all the daylight hours because you’re working.
Winter can be depressing. And feeling the winter blues can affect your work performance more than you might think. Here are some top tips to help you haul yourself out of the pit of despond and feel a whole lot better about the coming season.
6 top tips about staying positive as the days get colder, shorter and darker
- Play feel-good music. If you’re someone who can work to music – bearing in mind not all of us can – playing happy tracks that make you feel great really does help banish the blues. You might even want to build yourself a few positive playlists to support your working efforts through the darkest, coldest days. If you can’t work with music on you could try playing birdsong, proven to make human being feel good. Why? It makes evolutionary sense: birdsong means green stuff and warm weather, which means food is more plentiful.
- Sort your posture out. Carrying yourself upright can help you feel more confident, which helps to generate trust and respect. It also tells your brain you’re ready for anything, full of energy and on the ball. On the other hand you need to take care – the traditional way of standing or sitting up straight with your shoulders back, stomach in and head high isn’t the least bit natural and can lead to chronic pain. A truly natural confident posture doesn’t involve stiffening your poor body into a military position. It means being relaxed, adopting a loose posture not a rigid one. Confused? Read about the principles of Alexander Technique and you’ll get the picture. Real relaxation, a proper confident posture, is about doing less with your muscles, not more, and practitioners call it ‘non-doing’.
- Diary a half-hour walk every day. When you exercise you release hormones like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, all of which magically lighten your mood. But there’s no need to high-tail it to a gym or go running, even jogging. A brisk walk is the perfect way to raise your spirits, and it’s so powerful you’ll soon begin to notice – and then look forward to – the mini-high it gives you. After half an hour you’ll return to your desk feeling brighter, keener, refreshed and more capable of handling whatever the working day throws at you. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, and get your cagoule ready!
- Eat well. It’s tempting to go for the stodge in winter, a perfectly natural and automatic reaction to cold weather that saved our ancestors’ bacon and helped them survive. But today it’s mostly obsolete, a survival mechanism modern humans, in their heated homes and offices, don’t need. Eat plenty of fruit and veg and you’ll feel much sunnier than if you stuff your poor body with chips and cake.
- De-clutter your workspace and create a setting that’s less ugly and crowded, more inspirational. Think about photos, print and pictures, good lighting, plants and colourful soft furnishings. If you have office blinds, throw them open and let what natural winter light there is shine in. Make your space a place of order and calm, tidy an clear, pleasing to look at, and the winter blues won’t feel so bad.
- Grab yourself a desk-sized SAD lamp. In Britain we tend to suffer from a lack of vitamin D in winter because we don’t get outdoors enough. Some people even feel more than just a bit blue and out of sorts, they actually get depressed. SAD lamps are a cheap and cheerful way to give yourself a dose of faux sunshine every day, and you can actually feel the lovely bright, warm light doing you good.
If you suffer from SAD, how do you make it through the winter? We’d love to share your tips with our readers, so feel free to leave a comment.