It’s February, and between early morning clean-ups, cold walks to the train station, long hours indoors, and limited access to daylight, most of us are battling a severe case of depression. wintry. Also known as winter stagnation or cabin fever, they can leave you irritated, restless, and unmotivated.
Because you will most likely spend 8 hours (or more a day) in the office, which is the vast majority of your waking hours, the best time to combat the winter blues is when you are at work. Here are some tips for ending cabin fever and making the most of your workday.
It’s cold, and while you have to don boots, gloves, scarves, hats, and coats to venture out into the vast frozen tundra, do so anyway. Take a walk around the block for at least five minutes sometime during your work day to get your blood pumping, get some much-needed vitamin D, and cure your cabin fever. After all, you don’t want to become Jack Nicholson in “The Shining,” do you?
Turn up the music
Nothing beats winter blues like a little warm-weather music. Make a playlist on your iPod or create a new station on Pandora, featuring Reggae, Calypso, or New Orleans-style jazz. Do you need some artists to help inspire you? Hear music from Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet, Steel Pulse, Yellowman, Sister Nancy, Peter Tosh, The Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Lord Kitchener, Lord Invader, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton.
Host a weekly potluck
Part of the problem with winter is that there is apparently nothing to wait until the first spring shoots appear. Host a weekly potluck so you and your coworkers have a reason to look forward to the work week. If you can plan your menus to include warm-weather and tropical fare (think a summer barbecue, Jamaican jerk entrees, Cuban sandwiches, etc.), you’ve got another weapon in your fight against the winter blues.
Get away and learn something new
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in winter. Now is a great time to attend a seminar, participate in a conference, or enroll in a program that will help you improve your skills, network with colleagues, and learn what’s new in your industry. If you’re not sure how to find these types of events, search the website, blogs, and Twitter feeds for thought leaders in your industry. If there’s an event, conference, or networking opportunity, this is a great place to learn more about it (and even sign up). And if the conference turns out to be a warm place that will get you out of the snow for a few days, it won’t hurt either.