The quality of our work life is often affected by the weather and time of year. In the summer, we often long for the great outdoors while covering extra shifts for coworkers who are off on vacation. In the winter, many people feel cooped up indoors and miss the long days and the sunshine. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. If you find yourself struggling with a case of the winter blues, you are not alone. Many people start to feel down after months of going to work and coming home when it’s dark outside. These tips will help you survive work until spring shows up.

Start Your Day Right

When you wake up in the dark, it can be tempting to just hit the snooze button over and over again, and stay curled up in your cozy bed. But if you start your day feeling frustrated and frazzled, it’s likely to have a negative effect on your attitude at work.

Rather than rolling over when you hear your alarm, make a conscious decision to get up and start your day. Plan some new breakfast recipes—such as a fruit-packed smoothie or a breakfast burrito—to lure yourself out of bed. Take a few minutes to meditate and stretch. You may be surprised by how much difference a relaxed morning routine makes in the quality of your day.

Eat Better

If you snack from the vending machine or grab fast food for lunch every day, you may be sabotaging your health. And fatty, sugary foods can also create blood sugar imbalances that can affect our moods. Instead of eating o the run, create a nutritious and easy meal plan and stick to it. Try to include fresh food whenever possible, including fruits and vegetables. At lunchtime, try to get up and eat away from your desk if you can, and take a real break. You’ll return to your desk in a better frame of mind. 

Get Organized

In November and December, we get so preoccupied with the holidays that work sometimes takes a backseat. By January, the to-do list seems monumental. Rather than go through every day feeling overwhelmed, take some time to organize and clean your desk. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel when you’re done. 

Brave the Cold

Have you been avoiding the cold and hunkering down indoors? It can be hard to brave the frigid weather, but there is nothing like fresh air and exercise to improve one’s frame of mind, and a brisk walk in the cold is incredibly invigorating. Bring appropriate accessories (hat, gloves, scarf, etc…) and boots to work and take a ten-minute walk in the crisp air. You’ll  return to your desk feeling refreshed and more alert!

Get Unplugged

When you head home for the evening, or over the weekend, make an effort to step away from technology. This is especially important if you spend all day looking at a screen. Even if it’s just for an hour right after work, give your eyes and mind a break from the digital world and focus on living in the moment.

Do you have ideas for how to shake the winter doldrums?