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7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues at Work

7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues at Work

Somewhere around the middle of January, I’m struck by the winter blues and I stay in a perpetual state of being frozen. This causes my energy levels to dip, my emotions to fluctuate way more than they usually do, and I start to drag my feet and get a lot less done. As someone who works from home, it’s easy to want to hide in a nest of blankets, turn the TV on for comforting background noise, and do the bare minimum from the top of my to-do list. But that hibernation mindset can easily lead to the winter doldrums and a serious case of the blues.

If you suffer from “winter blues” too (it also goes by the more-scientific name, Seasonal Affective Disorder), all is not lost. Here are seven ways to break out of your slump to remain productive during the winter months.

Eat healthy meals – While it’s tempting to drown the winter blues in carb-heavy meals with lots of sweets on the side, it won’t help you feel better in the long run. Make sure to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

Interact with real live humans – Freelancers can hide any time of year, but winter is an especially tough time for the work-at-home crowd. With bitterly cold days and limited sunlight, why go outside when you can work from home in your PJs all day, every day? It’s important to get out at least once a day – even if it is to go to the dreaded grocery store. Or make an effort to meet up with a friend for lunch to mix up your daily routine.

Let the light in – Find a workspace near a window or invest in a light box. Nice, natural light helps lift your mood and warms your soul (even if you can’t feel your fingertips).

Get movingDon’t just sit there. If you resolved to get healthier this year but can’t seem to get to the gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t still workout in your office cubicle. Even a 20-minute walk changes your attitude. Take a walk around the office, take the stairs up to the next floor and, if you are really brave bundle up and take a stroll outside. A few active minutes away from work will help flood your body with endorphins.

Take more breaks – Make sure you eat lunch in the lunch room or away from your office desk. Take walking conference calls or walking peer meetings. Grab a fellow coworker and get together for a brainstorming excursion.

Plan vacation – If you need a winter mood lifter, put some planning behind an upcoming vacation. Take a few moments to daydream about all the fun you are going to have on the beach.  It may give you the warm boost you need to keep going strong.

Fake it – When all else fails, try and embrace the season. Put on your fake smile and think about the few things that are actually a blessing in the winter. (Such as no spiders and hiding your fat roll with big sweaters). Do your best to try to find the joyful moments that winter can bring. You can’t escape the season so you may as well find ways to enjoy it.

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