Now that the clocks have gone back one hour, we are seeing a glimmer of sunlight when we wake up in the mornings, however the shorter and darker days can leave people feeling sluggish and wreak havoc on our productivity levels at work.
So what can you do to keep your energy and productivity levels on top form?
Why do we get less productive in the winter?
There are a number of ways that the winter affects us, it can vary in severity between individuals but by identifying the reason behind your slump you can help to try and manage these impacts.
A big difference between the winter and summer months is the presence of the sun. One of the key victims that we get from sun exposure is Vitamin D. Not only are there physical benefits of Vitamin D such as healthy bones, muscles and teeth but it also helps to improve our mood and energy levels. During the winter months we are not able to produce as much so we must look for other sources.
Generally speaking, activity levels for most people can tend to dip in the winter months. If the weather is bad we’re less likely to go for a stroll, run or partake in other types of physical activities. Exercise is well known to improve energy levels so this lack of activity can rapidly decrease the amount of exercise we do.
During the summer months we are much more likely to eat a range of salads and indulge in some delicious seasonal fruit and veg. When the colder and darker months draw in, we are much more likely to crave more ‘comfort foods’ and although not always unhealthy, these tend to be heavier meals that can make us feel more tired and sluggish.
Tips to keep your productivity high during the winter
- Set daily targets that are achievable
- Make sure your office is bright and has a constant flow of fresh air
- Take time to go for a walk during the day (dress appropriately)
- Incorporate 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your routine every other day
- Add Vitamin D dense foods into your diet (e.g. oily fish, egg yolks, orange juice)
- Eat lots of vegetables and nutrient heavy foods to prevent you becoming ill
- Make plans to look forward to such as dinner with friends or even a mini break away
- Understand your productivity patterns and allow yourself to rest when you feel close to burnout
Staying productive in the winter may sound daunting, but by adding small changes to your daily routine, you will be able to drastically improve your energy levels and overall mood throughout the colder months.
If you are struggling significantly with your mental or physical health over the winter months please get in touch with your GP.