As the days start to get shorter and natural daylight is at a premium, spending what little daylight we do get sitting in a stuffy office can affect our health at work quite dramatically. The winter blues can affect us in different ways. For some the lack of vitamin D, which we would normally get from sunlight, results in a general lack of energy but for others it can be more serious. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a recognised mental disorder. Most people experience SAD in the winter months and it can be more common in countries like the UK where there are large changes in weather and day light hours in different seasons.
When suffering from SAD the last thing you really want to do is go to work and do a job you don’t feel like you can do. How do you go about telling your boss you’re suffering from a condition that only affects you in the winter months?
There are a couple of things that can help combat SAD in the workplace, but without the support of those around you may find it difficult. The key thing is speaking to your colleagues and being honest, letting them know you are suffering, which in turn avoids the constant ‘how are you feeling’ questions. Rather than trying to deal with everything alone, open up to those around you and try some of these coping strategies:
TAKE A BREAK
Rather than sitting at your desk during your lunch hour, staring at a computer screen and clock-watching, why not go outside for a walk? Invite a co-worker to go out with you; even through the weather might not be the warmest, that little bit of sunlight and fresh air will do you both good, giving you the energy to tackle the afternoon. Get you hot cup and take a brew with you, make sure the office is fully stocked with a selection of teas and coffees though.
Daylight lamps simulate daylight, which in turn helps trigger brain activity making you feel more energetic and alert. This can be seen as a form of light therapy for you while at work. If you don’t have access to a daylight lamp, LED light boxes can have a similar effect and in some cases these can even be provided by the NHS. The Unilux Terra compact dimmable LED desk lamp is a stylish addition to any office.
PLAN A HOLIDAY
In an ideal world the best way to combat SAD would be to hop onto a plane and treat yourself to some winter sun, however that isn’t always an option for everyone so do the next best thing and plan a holiday! Not only does this mean you will have something to look forward to, it will help lift your spirits when it’s miserable outside. Just make sure you book it in with the boss.