The winter blues can make a regular workday feel more draining than usual. Colder
weather and less hours of daylight might be the cause of your lower energy levels and
lethargy, and can leave you feeling a little down and susceptible to Seasonal Affective
Disorder (SAD). But you can stay motivated, focused, and productive this winter with
these 7 easy tips:
Even mild dehydration throws off serotonin and dopamine levels, the chemicals in our
brains that can affect depression and anxiety. One of the quickest and easiest ways to
improve our mood and calm our nerves is to drink a glass of water. Our bodies (all of our
joints and our organs – including our brains) need water – and we need even more water
during the dry winter. Try keeping a jug of water at your desk so you can easily monitor
how much you drink and can fill up even when you’re busy.
Maintain a tidy desk
Don’t underestimate the power of a clear desk top! You can easily achieve this by
decluttering and putting supplies away at the end of each day. Reducing the amount of
items to only what you need and use will make a world of difference – try setting a timer
for just 5 minutes and see how much you can clear. Not only will it feel more
professional, but it will allow you more freedom of thought, less distraction, and
increased productivity (which will relieve anxiety and make you feel better!)
Keep a plant on your desk
Bringing a little nature indoors can help to fight the winter blahs. Besides boosting air
quality, indoor plants have been found to decrease anxiety and depression. A few of the
easiest plants to care for are snake plants and jade plants (both great air detoxifiers),
Ferns and Bamboo Palms (both natural humidifiers), and English Ivy (removes mold
from air and doesn’t need a lot of direct sunlight). So pick up a desk plant to take care of
and let it take care of you.
Yes (sigh), exercise. According to Karmel Choi, PhD (researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan
School of Public Health) the magic number of minutes to fight depression is around 35
minutes per day which equals 4 hours per week. Research has found that both high intensity
forms of activity, such as aerobic exercise, dance, and exercise machines, and
lower-intensity forms, like yoga and stretching, were all equally as effective at staving
off depression. Consistency is the key! So find something that you enjoy and add it to
your daily feel-good routine.
Bundle up and get outside
Natural light, even on cloudy days, has substantial benefits for those who are prone to
depression in winter months. Even just walking around the block a few times will help
you feel happier and be more productive. You can combat the cold by dressing in layers:
Layer One should be sportswear/undergarments that are snug fitting. Layer Two should
be a synthetic material that wicks away sweat. Layer Three is for insulation when
needed, like fleece or wool. And Layer Four is waterproofing, like a waterproof jacket.
Don’t forget warm gloves, socks, and face coverings if it’s below freezing. So don’t let
the cold stop you from taking a short walk or a hike and getting back into nature.
Invest in a light therapy box
When you can’t get outside, this could be a solution to improve your mood on dreary
days. The Mayo Clinic explains that with a 10,000-lux light box, light therapy typically
involves daily sessions of about 20 to 30 minutes at a distance of about 16 to 24 inches
from your eyes. During light therapy sessions, you sit or work near a light box and, to be
effective, the light must enter your eyes indirectly. (Don’t look at the light directly, just
as you wouldn’t look at the sun directly. And check with your doctor if you have any
medical conditions which might make you sensitive to light.) Set it on your desk and turn
it on for 20-30 minutes each day and keep the winter blues away.
Eat a healthy lunch
Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can help fight depression by supporting a
healthy body and brain. WebMD lists the following foods as containing high amounts of
Vitamins: Food rich in beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards,
peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato. For Vitamin C eat blueberries, broccoli,
grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato. Vitamin E amounts
can be increased with nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, and wheat germ. Get your B
vitamins with legumes, nuts, many fruits, and dark green vegetables. Vitamin B12 can be
found specifically in in all lean and low-fat animal products, such as fish and low-fat
dairy products. Bon appetit!
We hope that you found these tips helpful! DW Simpson is a global leader among
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