As temperatures plunge and snow falls, energy levels and morale at the office may be on the decline, too. Your team might have signs of "winter blues," which can manifest itself as fatigue, difficulty focusing, and changes in mood. The medical term for "winter blues" is SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Up to 20% of Americans experience some symptoms of SAD each year.
But there's no need to be sad. You can beat the winter blues by trying any of these remedies in your office:
Exercise and fun are some of the best treatments for the winter blues. In our blog post on "Let Them Play? A Surprising Way to Increase Productivity," we explore how play can actually increase your productivity at work. Play activates dopamine and endorphins, two other "feel good" brain chemicals. Physical play and exercise, like engaging in a game of ping pong, amplifies the production of each of these hormones and neurotransmitters.
It may not be possible nor desirable to leave the office during the day to go for a walk or hit the gym. But that is not a problem. Encourage your team to #UnPlugNPlay - unplug from their desks and play a game or sport. Set aside a space in your office away where employees can take a break over a game of table tennis, for example. Table tennis is a year-round indoor sport your entire office can take part. Table tennis, in particular, is a low impact sport with a minimal risk for injury with great health benefits, too. Play that incorporates exercise is a surefire strategy that beats the winter blues at work. Not to mention, it promotes good health, increased focus, happiness, and better office morale.
Brighten Things Up
People with SAD oftentimes suffer from lower levels of serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel awake and in a "good mood." Light is one key to boosting serotonin. Making sure your office environment is as well-lit as possible will help your team cheer up. Open up the shades, turn on the overhead lights, and give your staff individual desk lamps. Consider seating your staff closer to office windows to take in as much sunshine as they can.
Get Your Vitamin D
You can also boost serotonin by kicking up your vitamin D intake. Your team can enjoy a healthy selection of office snacks rich in vitamin D. Stock your kitchen with milk, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, orange juice and cereal. Doing your regular lunch run? Be sure to look for entrees that include fish, mushrooms, and tofu.