It’s the most wonderful time of the year … sort of. Allergy triggers, mood swings and the rest of the winter blues can hinder work performance. However, it’s important to power through the season and click send on your deliverables before Christmas comes.
What Are Winter Blues?
The “winter blues” is a depressive lull that seems to occur during the colder parts of the year. While it can seem like an anomaly, many theories hint at why this happens. The wintertime can disrupt some people’s sleep-wake cycles and ultimately affect their mood.
The National Institute of Health confirms a correlation between the lack of light during the winter and seasonal depression. It also clarifies that the winter blues is a general term different from seasonal affective disorder, a clinical diagnosis.
How Do Winter Blues Affect Work?
Winter blues affect your day-to-day life from the moment you open your eyes, so it’s only natural to assume it impacts your work performance. Here’s how it does that and some possible solutions.
1. Decreased Energy To Work
Winter blues can affect brain health since shortened daylight entails less melatonin production, making falling asleep a little harder. On top of that, winter allergies also make an appearance in this weather.
Not having enough sleep and sneezing can lessen your energy when it’s time to work. Combat this by observing your energy levels and determining the best time to sleep. Power naps are also a good idea. As for allergies, it’s key to speak with your doctor and consider medication options.
2. Temperature Shifts
A lack of sunlight during the winter means chilly weather and less vitamin D, which affects your comfort and appetite. Dress in warmer clothes to avoid letting the cold distract you when you’re at your desk.
It’s also recommended to have a hearty breakfast with vitamin D-rich food. Eggs, cereal and juice are a great combination to strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy enough to work.
3. Drained Workmates
Winter blues don’t just affect you — they can also impact your boss and team members. Workmates who might not be on their A-game regarding productivity may need a nudge and a confidant.
Thus, the solution is to practice empathy with your workmates during the winter. Understanding their sentiments this season and throughout your career might be the encouragement they need to power through.
4. Low Mobility
The winter blues might keep you cooped up indoors on your rest days. While it’s good to have a relaxed weekend after sitting at a computer desk for so long, you might experience muscle pains from not moving much.
Unfortunately, those aches might show up during your work hours, too. Stretch when you get free time. Going for a stroll can also alleviate pain and is a good break from your computer screen.
5. Faltering Concentration
The winter blues’ influence on your energy, comfort and more means you may not be able to concentrate as easily. Create a point-by-point task list you can stick to throughout your workday and be patient with yourself. Having a checklist can help you know what to direct your attention to.
6. Cluttered Work Desk
Being a little sluggish as the year ends due to the cold makes a person more susceptible to letting clutter pile up. Since a messy desk isn’t conducive to working, do your best to tidy things and maintain cleanliness afterward. If you need motivation, treat yourself to a snack when you’re done organizing.
7. Sped-Up Burnout
Work burnout can occur at different moments in your career, but it can also appear during the holidays when demand is high and energy is low. When you feel on edge, it’s important to communicate your difficulties and needs to a mentor who can support you. Seek advice and plan breaks to keep from burning out.
8. Schedule Hiccups
Winter blues impact the body clock, which can also affect attendance and punctuality. Missing work meetings or being late to log in your hours isn’t ideal, so use timers and alarms. Mindfulness of the time can help you clock in when you should.
Fight Back The Work Winter Blues
Combatting the winter blues while at work is good practice for overcoming distractions and having a productive mindset all year. Remember to go easy on yourself and get a treat after making it through a cold workday.