(apologies for the blatant GOS reference)!
But as the Stark’s found out winter can be tough – dark mornings, dark nights and often miserable weather.
Does this make you go into hibernation mode? Do you feel the urge to mainline carbs and going on that run? – Almost impossible.
These negative feelings can creep into our working life too. We are lured to the kettle more than usual and spend even more time procrastinating! (see our earlier blog on ways to avoid procrastination).
We can’t change the weather or the season, but there are steps we can take to help protect ourselves against the dreaded winter blues
I can hear your groans, but research shows that even a 15 minute walk at lunchtime is enough to increase levels of dopamine in the brain. If you are really keen, taking a walk within 2 hours of waking is even more beneficial and you will start your day with a spring in your step – whatever the weather.
Your brain (and tummy) may be saying ‘pizza’ or ‘chips’ but refined carbohydrates are not your winter friend, (they shouldn’t be your bestie in the summer either). They will only give you short term pleasure and will leave you craving more.
Include lots of complex carbohydrate your diet; wholegrain pasta and rice, lentils and warming root vegetable curries and soups. They will take longer to digest and will keep blood sugar levels more stable.
Consider adding a vitamin D supplement to you winter diet as levels tend to go down with the lack of sunlight hours.
Unless you have a home in sunnier climes that you can jet off to until spring returns there is no way of avoiding the winter months. So plan for the winter and find ways to embrace the cold dark days ahead. Wrap up in your favourite cosy sweater and dig out your UGG boots. Enjoy a relaxing weekend playing board games and drinking hot chocolate with friends or family.
Meditation is know to release melatonin in the brain, melatonin regulates sleep and helps relax the body and mind. Meditation also stimulates the parts of the brain that are associated with happiness. Try and include a simple 15 minute meditation session in your day – maybe just before you go to sleep; there are some really good apps such as Headspace that will help you with a simple guided meditation.
Research has shown laughter stimulates processes in your brain that counter depressive symptoms – so invite some friends round, open the popcorn and watch your favourite funny movies.
But how do we counteract the winter blues in the workplace?
The advice above can all be carried into our working day – taking a 15 minute walk in our lunch hour, or bringing a delicious homemade soup in for lunch. You can even pop your headphones in and do a 15 minute meditation at your desk! If your office is anything like ours there is always someone about to have a laugh with – hop onto YouTube and have a giggle at the fainting goats – never fails to make us laugh!
The working environment is really important; our previous blog about the Shout About Suffolk office space explains how we have worked hard to create an inspiring and exciting place to work. Our cloud filled meeting rooms and balloon wall lights will cheer up the darkest day!
We have standard suspended ceilings, which we felt needed improvement. Together with Hudson Signs we designed vinyl cloud decals that were attached to the lights in the ceilings – creating little pockets of blue sky!
We used exciting vinyl graphics on the walls to make each space open, light and inspiring. There is nothing we can do about the rain, wind and darkness, but inside SAS headquarters the sun will always be shining!