It seems like winter has arrived! The days are shorter, it’s constantly dark outside, and most of the time we don’t want to get out of our warm beds. Some of us might even experience the “winter blues”. Whether it’s seasonal affective disorder or post-holiday let-down, you will benefit from our tips and tricks on how to prevent yourself hibernating this winter. Want to know how to stay active, motivated and productive during this season? Keep reading to find out more!
Move your Body
Feeling cold? Do a little exercise! Keeping active is crucial for staying healthy and having an alert mind. Although there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to working out, there are some principles that you can follow to increase your physical and mental well-being, resulting in a more productive lifestyle. It can be beneficial to train at least 3 times per week, for around 45 minutes. According to the Independent, your workouts should include weight training, high intensity interval training and cardio.
You might find that you’ll need more sleep during winter, especially after a productive work-out. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to lie in bed all day! Perhaps instead of surfing on your phone or binge-watching Netflix until 3 AM, you could read a book and go to sleep early. This way you will wake up fresh and have lots of energy to have a productive day.
Become a Morning Person
Do you identify with this? If so, you may be interested to know that a recent survey conducted by The Guardian showed that many CEOs of successful companies wake up around 5 am. All you have to do is change you habits and schedule. You can achieve this early morning lifestyle by:
- Going to bed earlier
- Trying to maintain your new waking up schedule during weekends
- Avoiding naps
- Not hitting snooze
- Giving yourself a reward for waking up early
You are more likely to stay motivated throughout the whole day if you have a productive morning.
Create a Morning and Evening Routine
Now that you are ready to wake up early and be productive, think about the things you want to achieve. Claire Diaz Ortiz, a productivity expert and author of Design Your Day, claims that the best thing you can do to be productive is to create your perfect morning routine.
You can do anything you like and for how long you like.
In order to have a relaxed morning routine you will have to prepare for it, and the best time to do this is the evening before. If you have all the important tasks sorted, and you eliminate decision-making in the morning, you can save yourself a lot of time. This way you can start the day on a positive note, rather than in a nervous frenzy looking for matching socks…
Prepare for the Weather
If you’re more sensitive to the cold, now could be a great opportunity to go shopping and get some cute winter clothes. You don’t want to constantly get distracted and feel uncomfortable, because you are cold, especially when you’re trying to be productive.
Make it a habit to check the weather forecast and leave earlier if it will be raining or snowing. There is nothing worse than stressing about being late for work just because of the weather. When you feel prepared and focused you are more likely to stay productive.
Spend Time Outside
If you suffer from SAD it’s particularly important that you spend at least 10 minutes in sunlight each day. You’ll be surprised how positively this will impact your mood. You could go on a little stroll during your lunch break or, instead of driving your car, you could ride your bike into work. Having some fresh air will decrease your stress levels and increase your productivity. Remember, we all need a break to remain effective.
We are naturally drawn to more calorific foods filled with fats and sugars during winter, however resisting these temptations could prevent you from feeling sluggish and unproductive. Perhaps have a healthy and energising breakfast like porridge, which will keep you warm and feeling fuller for longer. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables with essential vitamins and minerals should prevent you from getting ill, which is one of the biggest factors affecting productivity. To further protect yourself from bacteria, remember to wash your hands frequently, take supplements and avoid getting too cold.
Set yourself goals to remain motivated and on track. It keeps you productive as you know you’ve got a deadline you want to meet. Keep your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Your goals should prevent you from becoming distracted and enable you to prioritise the more important things. By starting a new project you can get a new surge of motivation and inspiration. Having a monotonous and boring routine can kill your productivity, so try to mix it up a little.
To reach a whole new level of productivity, you could take a course, or learn a new skill. You can look for classes at your local library or community centre, or if you’d rather stay at home, try finding something you’d like online. Winter is also a great opportunity to try winter sports like skiing and ice-skating or develop a new indoor hobby, like painting, writing or calligraphy.
The worst thing you can do, especially if you are suffering from SAD, is isolate yourself. Go for a meal, to the cinema or for a couple of drinks with your family or friends. A bit of social interaction will almost certainly get your endorphins up. The happier you are, the more productive you will be! If you feel like you don’t have the time, or the funds for these sort of activities, try to make an effort at work. Don’t eat your lunch alone in front of your computer screen, have a little chat in the common room or with the colleague working next to you.
Surrounding yourself with life will liven you up! It might be too cold to grow anything in your garden, but you can plant even simple things like spices or herbs inside your house, on your windowsill. You could even plant some seeds that take longer to germinate and watch them transform as spring approaches.
After a productive day, reward yourself! Self-care is crucial if you want your productive lifestyle to be sustainable. Take a bubble bath, have a glass of wine or a relaxing night in with your partner. This will help you recharge, so you don’t burn out before winter ends.
If you are really struggling to stay productive during winter, this could be the time to go on holiday. Perhaps all you need is a week skiing or catching up with friends to charge your batteries, to be ready and motivated again.
Now that you know all the tips and tricks on how to stay productive during this winter period, make sure you believe in the tasks you set yourself and enjoy achieving your goals! Don’t forget to reward yourself and take breaks – that way you’ll definitely stay motivated.