7 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues If You Work From Home
Winter is upon us and try as you may, you cannot outrun it. While the chilliest time has it's perks — pumpkin spiced everything, cosy clothes, and, of course, Christmas — for many, this time of year can get you down, and if you work from home, it can make things feel even harder. Luckily there are lots of ways to beat the winter blues when you work from home, and I've laid out some of the best below.
Although I'm in no way an expert on Seasonal Affective Disorder, I'm most definitely an expert in the do's and don'ts of working from home in the winter months. On paper, the idea of being indoors on chilly, damp days seems glorious. However, as I've learned hard way, it can actually become a one way ticket to low moods and isolation. The kind that creeps up without you even noticing. The kind where you realise you've not been out of your pjs for a few days. Or clocking that you really have to think hard about the last time you actually spoke to another human being.
Luckily for you, I made lots of mistakes so you don't have to and this year I'm reaping the benefits of lessons learned. It's my absolute pleasure to share them with you all. So let's sleigh this season (pun entirely intended).
1. Have a shower & get dressed
OK that sounds very very silly, but let me tell you, day three of the same pjs is when you hit rock bottom and the life crisis kicks in. And if you've got to the point where you have to think for a bit before you remember the last time you had a shower... You probably reek.
There's no harm in bumbling about the place in your nightie for your initial homemade coffee or yummy breakfast. But after midday, you absolutely should not be in the clothes you slept in. I brought this rule in after being hit with the devastating realisation that not caring for myself or having a routine was actually getting me really down.
Get up, get washed, brush your teeth AND your hair. You'll feel like a million dollars.
2. Get out for a walk at lunchtime
Again, I know, nobody wants to be thrust into the great wintery and terrible weather like George Clooney in The Perfect Storm. But guys, you have to get outside. Even if it's only down to the local corner shop to have a chat with the person that works there.
If you're lucky enough to live near a park, the sea, or any from of nature — go and soak it up. According to Mind, the mental health charity: "Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy (a type of formal treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression."
Not to mention the potential for getting (maybe only a tiny bit of) vitamin D and some (hopefully) fresh air.
3. Make plans
And stick to them. Yes, I know that when you're cosy AF and the weather is apocalyptic, leaving the house seems like a dreadful idea. But making and sticking to plans will seriously help you in the long run. So make sure if you said you'd go to a friend's for dinner, you go to a friend's for dinner.
But plans don't necessarily have to be with other people. You don't need to rely on others in order to do fun things. If you make some solid plans like a mooch around a gallery or a jaunt to the cinema, not only will you have something to look forward to, but you'll be all the better for it.
4. Find an exercise you like & do it as often as possible
I hate to admit it after years avoiding it, but exercise really does work. It just makes you feel better in the most annoying and smug way that's all yours. And, if nothing else, it's time spent away from screens.
Also, the routine of a certain class or activity that you have to stick to helps to make you feel more in control of your day to day life.
I'm a big fan of yoga and accidentally got into hot yoga not too long ago. It has become a completely unexpected love of mine, and now I do it every day as a part of my routine. Which, let me tell you, is a total first from this former couch potato.
Obviously I understand affordability might be an issue, but I would say (having made them myself) some sacrifices are necessary to make room for this in your life. And if it's absolutely not possible to afford classes, do a free Youtube fitness video.
5. Eat healthy, fresh food
As I'm lucky enough to be a passionate and experienced cook, preparing meals has never been an issue for me. However, feedback from other people who work from home is that they find themselves going for the take away option, which soon becomes habitual.
Guys, it's winter. You need healthy balanced meals all year round but this is the time when you need extra vitamins and hearty meals to get you through. Not to mention the several studies, including this one from Harvard, that point out the importance of gut health, with it now being referred to as the "second brain."
6. Reach out to friends & family
Yikes, this one seems obvious but it's so easy to forget. Don't let working alone make you feel as though you're alone. You're absolutely not.
Make sure you reach out to your family and friends. Go for a coffee. Go to your mate's house for a quick catch up. Have pals round for a spaghetti and a movie. And even if you aren't lucky enough to have your people nearby, then find a daily routine that means you see people and get a quick chat in. You'll feel so much better for it.
7. Build a routine
Hey, you might have noticed this word peppered throughout this article. That, my friend, is because I have found that routine is the seasoning to a better life. Especially in the toughest season of the year.
Get into bed at the same time every day. Set alarms. Set goals. Make plans. Build a routine. That's the best advice I could possible give for fellow remote workers.