Tips for surviving the winter at work

There is never a winter goes by without some parts of the country being absolutely pummeled by icy rain and snow, creating dangers at home and on the road and piling on the discomfort and misery into our lives. Seasonal mood changes kick in and your formerly cheery and pleasant colleagues become irritable and unpleasant to work with, sinking your mood and morale at work. Now might be a great time to take the family on that vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands, attend a conference in Miami, or just emigrate to Thailand. Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s just not going to happen, and so we need to come up with the best ways we can to get through the winter.

Much as we’d like to stay home, wrapped up in bed and watch TV – that’s not going to pay those winter heating bills. So, up and out of bed before sunrise it is. Hopefully you remembered to put salt down on the driveway before you went to bed, and clearing the driveway won’t be too difficult to clear. If you experience serious snowfall overnight, or you miss a day or two clearing your drive, you may find that it has compacted and become very difficult to shift with a shovel. If that happens, you want to have a snow blower that you can use to make short work of it. If you’ve never used a snow blower before, it might be best to read up on them to find out what suits you best – try somewhere like Snow Shifts, which has a number of good write-ups.

Give yourself plenty of added time to get to work. If you’re walking, wear good boots with grips before changing into your work shoes. Walk steadily – black ice is easily missed and has led to many a broken ankle, arm and worse as people rush about on slippery sidewalks. If you plan to take public transport, be aware that overground services are highly prone to disruption – trains and buses may be delayed due to heavy snowfall. Finally, if you’re going to drive, do so with the utmost caution. Make sure you have an icepick, a shovel and salt or sand in your trunk. Keep at least half a tank of gas, drive with your headlights on and don’t use cruise control. Remember that, on ice, stopping distances can be ten times what they are on dry surfaces.

When at work, be sure to let as much natural light into your workspace as possible. The chances are that you and your coworkers leave home when it’s still dark and return home after sunset, too. You need exposure to sunlight to avoid vitamin D deficiency. Do more exercise – raising your heart rate keeps your body warm, fitter and trigger dopamine release which will improve your mood. Go outside for a brisk walk for twenty minutes. If it’s blowing a blizzard outside, then walk up and down the office stairwell.

If you notice yourself or those around you appearing to be noticeably affected by the poor weather, talk about it. Grab a coffee together or take a time out to share what you’re feeling or to let someone know that they’re not alone feeling the way they do. Weekends and downtime from work become especially important in winter. Don’t stay in bed with the curtains drawn all day. Get up early, go outside and make the most of the snow if possible. Build a snowman or an igloo. Do a spot of ice fishing. Take a trip with friends or coworkers skiing or snowboarding. If being outside is just not a good idea, treat yourself at home – spend time in the kitchen cooking up your favorite meals and treats, read a new book, watch one of your favorite movies.

Even if you’ve tried all of the above and you still can’t wait for spring and summer to arrive, you can still take the sting out of the winter by making plans for when the cold weather passes. Perhaps you might want to plant some new flowers in your garden, or even start a vegetable patch? You might want to try out a new hobby. Whatever you do, before you know it the winter will be over and you’ll wonder what the fuss was about.

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