It’s winter and chances are you may feel less energetic than usual. Shorter days with less sunlight, coupled with the season’s characteristically inclement weather, may have you reaching for sweat pants and flannel sheets, comfort food, and the remote control.
The weather outside may be frightful, but the recession’s climate of uncertainty can also make for a bleak forecast. Coupled with job and financial stress this year, the usual winter blues may be magnified for some with headlines that are hard to ignore.
Unemployment has remained steady throughout the past year as companies have cut their workforce to operate with minimal staff. Research conducted by Express Employment Professionals found that 68% of employed survey respondents feel that their workload has increased, with 49% also reporting higher stress levels.
Whether you’re looking for a job or feeling stressed in your current position, here are some ways to stay positive this winter and throughout the new year:
Stay engaged with lifelong learning: Whether it’s through a local college or just your local library, pursue an interest with an evening class or seminar. You’ll have something to look forward to a few nights each week and the experience can help spark creativity, an attribute that’s highly sought in professionals.
Get some exercise – with a friend: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that winter weight gain averages four to six pounds. Make plans with a friend to take a brisk winter walk, go ice skating, or head to the gym. You’ll release stress-fighting endorphins and have the opportunity to spend quality time with others.
Write a card to someone: Write a cheery note to someone, just because. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make a friend feel valued, and it can actually boost your mood as well.
Change your work routine: If your work allows you to take an additional break now and then, try to get up, stretch, and walk around during the day. Bring a special blend of coffee to try with your co-workers, organize a fun lunch together, or find other meaningful ways to change your work routine.
Take a break from technology: Society is now more connected than ever and it’s easy to feel bombarded by negative news. Give yourself permission to turn off your TV, mobile devices, and computer for awhile. A little down time can go a long way.
Find a balance: While sleeping to avoid stressful situations can be a sign of depression, it’s also important to get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep and sticking to an established sleep schedule is part of wellness. A good night’s rest can change the next day’s perspective.
Don’t let the winter blahs get the best of you. Stay focused on feeling confident in your job or job search, and seek out the support you need. Regardless of the season, you always have the ability to make positive changes to impact your life today.