Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Stay Motivated in the Workplace

Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Stay Motivated in the Workplace

With the snow, arctic winds, and winter’s darkness upon us, it is easy to succumb to the winter blues. Unless you truly love Canadian winters, it may be tempting to hibernate.

It’s also easy to become less engaged at work. It’s hard to leave the office or work site on your break because of the cold weather or poor road conditions. You dread cleaning your car off with the inches of snow it has accumulated over the day. Even worse is the amount of time it takes to commute home because of slippery roads.

If you get the winter blues, you are not alone. Research has shown that 15% of the Canadian population experience the “winter blues,” a less severe experience of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also known as seasonal depression, which only affects 2-3% of the population. The winter blues, and SAD, typically come into play in the fall months, and of course over the winter season.

Signs and Symptoms of SAD May Include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, or every day
  • Losing interest in hobbies or activities
  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight changes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
  • Feeling agitated
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms Specific to Winter-Onset SAD May Include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

As always, see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for an extended amount of time.

So, how do we stay motivated at work? Below are six ways to stay motivated during the winter months:

  1. Set goals:

    Whether it is being part of a new project, acquiring new clients, or completing a service call, set a goal and strive to achieve it.

  2. Have a checklist:

    Nothing feels better than when you can cross something off your To Do List! Create a checklist of all the tasks you need to complete for the day and week. Prioritize what needs to be completed, and write down the date and/or time. Cross the tasks off as you complete them.

  3. Reward yourself:

    After you complete a task, reward yourself by taking a quick break or having a special snack. Pick something that will motivate you to achieve that reward!

  4. Do a “winter cleanup”.

    Clean up your desktop, folders, emails, work area, or toolbox. If your company is a bit slower in the winter months, take this opportunity to do a bit of cleaning and organizing. You will feel less stressed and overwhelmed with a clean workspace and organized computer

  5. Get social!

    Go out for lunch or out shopping with coworkers. This gets you away from your work area and connects you with your coworkers.

  6. Do what makes you happy:

    If that means you need a vacation day or week in the sun, reading a book, or hanging out with family and friends, make time for that. The happier you are, the more productive you will be!

How will you stay motivated at work during the winter months?


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