Most of us look forward to snoozing an extra hour once a year when daylight-saving time ends. However, for many people, that additional hour of sleep is where the positive effects stop. When you add the season’s colder temps and bitter weather to its darker, shorter days, you’ve got the perfect recipe for the blues. With increasing evidence that happiness is tied to productivity, that’s probably a recipe you want to avoid. That’s why we’ve gathered these tips to help you stay happy and healthy in the coming months.*

Get moving.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — physical activities help create endorphins, which are proven to boost happiness.

  • Participating in a team sport is a great way to get the blood pumping! Try a unique sport this winter like curling or broomball. For those that don’t like to compete, check out group fitness classes offered in your area.
  • There are also plenty of small steps — from taking the stairs to parking in the back forty — you can take to increase physical activity during the workday. Check out our previous article for advice on how to add more mobility in the office.

Build more friendships.
Friendships can be a powerful force when it comes to increasing happiness and productivity. Find ways to meet new people in and outside of the office. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Keep tabs on local events and invite a coworker
  • Join a book club
  • Sit with someone new on your lunchbreak
  • Volunteer at a new event

Take advantage of the sun (when it’s out).
The sun can be harder to find in the cooler months, but that makes it even more important to catch rays when you can. Sunlight could increase the brain’s production of serotonin, which is associated with mood boosting benefits. In fact, a lack of sun exposure has been linked to major seasonal depression. To help combat the darkness at the office, keep the blinds open and arrange your work station to receive as much natural light as possible. If it’s a particularly sunny day, get out for your lunchbreak to soak up some extra sun.

Don’t wait to seek help.
It’s estimated that 10 million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), often referred to as the winter blues. If you start to feel symptoms of SAD or major depression, seek professional help. The good news: There are several treatment options available, and a doctor can help find the right path to recovery.

 

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*These tips are not meant to be taken as medical advice or as treatment for depression. If you or your employees are suffering from a mental illness, please seek professional help.

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