When I was much younger, I truly didn’t understand why so many of my parents’ friends were spending the winter months down south! Now, I really get it! The snow is so pretty and the winter walks are refreshing, but, now that it’s February, I am ready for Spring!! No more shoveling, please…
Let’s face it…most of us get some form of the Winter Blues. While the Winter Season initially brings festive holidays and picture beautiful days, the colder weather and short daylight hours usually change our overall daily routine. At first, it is rather cozy to curl up at home and enjoy comfort food and relaxing movie nights and sitting by the fire, however, without most of us consciously realizing it, we become more isolated and less social. Every season has a reason, and it is actually psychologically beneficial to embrace this season and take time to “bunker in”, relax and reflect on how you want the rest of your year to look like.
The biological reality is that with less sunlight, we are not receiving the full benefit of its needed energy and Vitamin D, which seriously negatively affects our moods. Diminished sunlight reduces the levels of “feel good” chemicals (such as Serotonin) while melatonin – which makes us feel drowsy – increases.
Enjoy the many events your community has to offer! Hiking opportunities, home town festivals, wine tasting tours, outdoor concerts…..
Evidence based suggestions to help to raise your winter spirits…
Increase Exposure to Natural Light
Go outside & keep the curtains open! Bundle up with your co-workers for a quick 15 minute walk.
Some work places create competitions to get in the spirit, such as how many minutes walked in total per week.
30 minutes of cardio exercise is equal to a mild anti-depressant.
Yes, light therapy really does work! As little as 30 minutes per day and a dose of 10, 000 lux will restore energy and mood.
Craving carbohydrates is quite normal and, therefore, instead of denying oneself, choose complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, grains and vegetables instead of simple ones such as white flour and sugars.
Eating Foods that contain Vitamin D are especially important as it is naturally absorbed normally from the sun. Otherwise consider a daily supplement, along with the complex B vitamins, since they too will aid in overall energy and mood improvement.
Plan Social Events
Fight the urge to ‘just stay home’ all the time. Friends, family, laughter are all good for mood elevation. Perhaps plan a work night our with colleagues to break the “rut” feeling associated with the later parts of winter.
Don’t hesitate to consult with your family physician if changes in mood persist. There are additional therapeutic supports that may be necessary and sometimes the above suggestions simply just “don’t cut it”.
Note to Employers and Management:
Sherry Campbell Group offers several in-house workshops and presentations that I am confident would be beneficial to your workplace! Resiliency in the Workplace, Work-Life-Home Balance, Dealing with Different Personalities, Laughter is the glue of Sanity.
Also, our Mental Health Training Courses, which explain mental health and review the signs and symptoms in the workplace. Statistics show that 30$ of all short term and long term disability is due to mental health problems and illnesses. Plus, it is associated with lost productivity and increased absenteeism.
Creating the optimal working environment is a win-win for everybody!