Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the long, cold and dark days of winter can take their toll on your health and well-being, especially when you work from home. Working from home during the winter season could mean that you stay locked up inside the house or apartment for several hours, even days on end and it’s easy to get stuck with severe case of the winter blues. Those scheduled breaks to get fresh air and run errands might take a back seat when you’re facing snow, icy temperatures and brutal winds. Fortunately, there are some ways to beat the winter blues and keep yourself in good spirits when you work from home.
Here are just a few ways to cure the winter blues when you work from home:
1. Watch the temperature. Even though it’s tempting to crank up the heat so that your home office stays warm and cozy, too much heat can make you feel woozy and prepare you for a snooze. Maintain a steady temperature of 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (or lower, if you can tolerate it), so that you can concentrate and stay focused while working from home. Research by the Helsinki University of Technology shows that the best range for productivity is between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Being too warm can make you feel drowsy and lethargic and set you up for the winter blues.
2. Get some Vitamin D. A lack of sunlight and UV exposure could be making you feel depressed and tired. When you work from home, you increase your risk of Vitamin D deficiency because you’re simply not getting outside enough. You can hit the tanning bed once in a while to get your Vitamin D fix, but remember that this strategy does increase your risk of skin cancer. A Vitamin D3 supplement can help to cure the winter blues. You can also eat more eggs, liver and milk during winter to up your Vitamin D levels.
3. Eat a healthier diet. When you work from home and spend a lot of time at the computer, it can be very tempting to eat snacks all day and eat convenience foods. Working from home does give you the advantage of preparing meals yourself, so take some time to put together wholesome and nutritious meals. Eliminating processed foods and sugar from your menu can make you feel better and kick those winter blues to the curb.
4. Get some exercise. Even though you work from home and spend most of your day indoors, you still have the opportunity to do stay active. Fitness DVDs, jump roping, or even playing with the Wii Fit can get you moving and help you feel better. The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that exercise can relieve stress, and improve your mental and physical well-being. Exercise is recommended for people who are struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Engaging in some physical activities for even 30 minutes per day can help to boost your mood and beat the winter blues.
5. Get social. Being cooped up at home all day limits your social activities and opportunities to connect with people. Even if you can’t get out of the house, invite people over for a few hours of socializing and you’ll feel better. Reconnecting with friends and family members is essential for your well-being and can help you beat the winter blues when working from home.