Winter Wellness and Productivity: Thriving in Any Work Environment
October 27, 2023
SEB Marketing Team
As we shift to sweater weather in North America, it’s time to focus on the challenges of maintaining productivity and well-being during the colder months. The winter season, known for its cold and often gloomy days, can take a toll on our overall well-being and work performance. Furthermore, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder related to the changing seasons, tends to become more prevalent during this time. Whether you’re working remotely, in the office, or operating on a hybrid schedule, these tips can help you stay motivated, productive and most importantly, healthy throughout the winter.
Food is medicine: It’s important to eat according to the seasons in order to keep your immune system functioning optimally. The winter months are a time to prioritize anti-inflammatory foods such as pears, avocados, soups and teas, which can help reduce chronic inflammation in the body caused by certain foods that deplete the immune system and make you vulnerable to illnesses. Preventive measures are the best way to keep your productive lifestyle during the winter months, and prevention begins with eating according to the season.
In remote or hybrid settings, take advantage of your kitchen by preparing balanced meals. In the office, avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks and bring nutritious options to work. Focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system.
Movement: Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind healthy. If you’re not interested in a gym membership, there are plenty of natural ways to stay active, such as walking and squatting. Consider sitting on the floor, as this is an excellent practise, not only for maintaining health but also for increasing life expectancy. Embrace a sit/stand desk and consider getting a pull up bar for hanging and stretching, improving strength and mobility in tight shoulders and pecs, especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer. Whether you’re at home or in the office, make sure to incorporate movement into your daily routine, including stretching above your head and reaching to the floor, to maintain your full range of motion. Daily movement contributes to a happy body, and a happy body is a healthy body.
Practice good hygiene: In the post-pandemic world, ideally, everyone is more vigilant about washing their hands after interacting with the outside world, but to be sure – washing your hands is the easiest way to prevent germs. After shaking hands, before eating and when returning home are excellent opportunities to combat germs. Wash for at least 20- 30 seconds. If it is annoying to count, considering singing a song to mark the time.
Embrace Natural Light: In all work environments, exposure to natural light is essential. Open your blinds and curtains to let in as much natural sunlight as possible. In remote or hybrid work settings, position your workspace near a window to benefit from natural light. For those in the office, take breaks to step outside and soak up some sun during daylight hours. Getting plenty of sunlight during the winter helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which can reduce or prevent the short-term ‘winter blues’ or the more serious symptoms of SAD.
Boosting Immune Health: Support your immune system by ensuring you get enough rest, maintaining a balanced diet, and considering immune-boosting supplements like vitamin D and vitamin C. Vitamin D often known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is especially important as it plays a crucial role in your health and mood, particularly when you cannot get enough natural light into your life. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.
Set Boundaries: In remote or hybrid work environments, it can be challenging to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Create a designated workspace and establish a set schedule to help maintain a healthy work-life balance. For in-office workers, set boundaries by leaving work-related tasks at the office. Also, remember that you have the right to disconnect, especially to safeguard your mental health and manage stress levels, which can impact your physical health.
Embrace the Season and Stay Social: One of the markers of SAD is social withdrawal. If you are remote or hybrid, find time for short workouts or brisk walks during your breaks with friends or your pet. In-office workers can encourage walking meetings, which also allows for a unique and more socially engaging way to interact. Winter can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, especially for remote workers. Schedule virtual coffee breaks with colleagues, participate in online team-building activities, or simply connect with friends and family to combat loneliness.
Stay Organized: Regardless of your work setting, staying organized can help reduce stress and enhance productivity. Use digital tools or traditional planners to stay on top of tasks and deadlines.
Winter Sleep Routine: Sometimes overlooked but crucial to health, motivation, and productivity during the winter is your sleep pattern, which often changes with the seasons. Organizing a winter sleep routine can also contribute to consistent sleep patterns that can get thrown off during the winter months, potentially affecting your mood.. Strategies like reducing caffeine intake in the afternoon and turning off screens at least 30 minutes before bed are ways to support getting your body in preparing for sleep.
As winter approaches, it’s important for employees in various work environments to prioritize their wellness and productivity. By embracing natural light, staying active, promoting more movement throughout the day, focusing on nutrition, setting boundaries, nurturing social connections, supporting your immune health, and staying organized, you can thrive during the winter months, whether you’re working remotely, in a hybrid setting, or in the office.
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