Now that you’re back to work after the holidays, you might be feeling a little grumpy and dejected about being back in the office. Some call this the winter blues. But depending on the severity of your winter lethargy, it truly can be a medical condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s common for us to feel a little down in the dumps during the winter months. In fact, six out of every 100 people in North America are affected by SAD, with 10 to 20 percent of people incurring a milder form of seasonal mood change. While having symptoms very similar to depression, SAD is predominately caused by the lack of sunlight during the winter months and how this affects chemicals in our brain. While we can’t change the circumstance of winter, there are ways to put some pep back in your step during the winter at work. So whether you’re just starting to feel the cold hands of winter or are already feeling downtrodden at work, here are some ways to beat the winter blues at work:
1. Take a walk during your lunch break. Exercise is common and healthy way to beat the winter blues. If you’ve found it difficult to keep up an exercise routine during the workweek, take some time during your lunch break to walk the stairs or do some jumping jacks during a 15-minute break. Check out more ways to workout in the workplace here!
2. Go outside. I know it’s cold, but one of the reasons why you’re feeling down in the dumps is you’re not getting enough Vitamin D in your body from the sun. In fact, a common treatment for SAD is light therapy. While I can’t prescribe light therapy to you, getting out in the sun will help! Even if it’s not the sunniest day, we all know those UV rays penetrate clouds. So go for a stroll outside the office or have some hot coffee outside on your break. Whatever works best for you.
3. Take a break. This simple yet effective tactic can help restart your brain if you’re truly feeling depressed. Consider taking an afternoon off or scheduling a three-day weekend to rest, recharge, and relax.