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Overcoming The Winter Blues
By: Kirsty O'Callaghan, Owner, Unity Words | Wednesday 28 October, 2015
The winter months are often cold, dreary and draining on your motivation levels. Rather than letting the winter blues get the better of you, use these proactive steps outlined by KIRSTY O’CALLAGHAN so you and your team will be happy and productive throughout the winter season and beyond.
Are you finding that both you and your team are lethargic, finding it hard to concentrate, and are less motivated and inspired than usual? Are you lacking the positive outlook and energy you usually have? There is a reason for this. Research has suggested that up to 20 per cent of the population may suffer from the ‘winter blues’, caused by fewer hours of daylight, less direct sunlight, cold or cooler temperatures, and other weather conditions.
Some signs of the winter blues include fatigue, an inability to concentrate and even depression. These feelings can make it particularly difficult for you and your team to remain energetic and motivated and can lead to a significant decrease in performance and mental energy, as well as an increase in frustration and absenteeism.
Here’s how to keep up productivity in the winter months:
A lack of challenge can leave all of us disinterested. Challenge will increase motivation as well as overall satisfaction. Make challenges realistic with a stretch to keep those mind muscles sharp.
Personal and professional development
Satisfaction and stability are enhanced when development plans are in place and they are actioned. It keeps life interesting, you feel a sense of purpose and the commitment will keep the winter blues at bay.
During the cooler months there is less daylight so there are more excuses not to get out and exercise. This leaves you feeling more lethargic and more stressed. Make time to connect to the outdoors in some way. Even a 20 minute walk three times a week will make a huge difference. You may like to organise something regularly for your workplace to get everyone moving.
Did you know that if you are dehydrated you will lack energy? In winter it is not as hot so you don’t feel as thirsty, and there are also so many nice warm alternatives like hot chocolate and coffee for you to enjoy. However, in winter you still need to keep up your water intake to flush out the toxins in your body and maintain good overall health.
It is important to recognise outstanding performance, it is also important to reward it. Consider giving yourself or your team members time off, or a later start time (who doesn’t love a winter sleep in) after completing a particularly stressful project, especially one done well. This type of reward benefits both you and your team members and prevents exhaustion, and frustration.
Offer and access guidance, support and direction for your team and yourself. The more support and accountability you have the more likely you are to see an increase in goal attainment and overall satisfaction.
Have fun and keep smiling
Work doesn’t always have to be work. Make your work environment fun by using this time to connect with others, network, make wildly enormous goals, and create a vision for spring work projects. Go to networking luncheons, coffee catch ups and make time to enjoy the winter weather.
What do you like about winter? Clothes, food, company, open fires, or cooler temperatures? Whatever it is, identify it and enhance it. If you are looking forward to things, you will want to get out of bed each morning and you will be able to do it with a smile.