Working from home in winter (beating the winter blues)

Winter can be tough in Canberra with our sub-zero overnight temperatures and long frosty mornings. We also endure a longer winter period than most of Australia; our chilly weather often lasts anywhere from mid-April through to October. 

While some love the crispness of the winter months, others may suffer with seasonal affective disorder (aka winter depression). And this can be particularly difficult for those who are in quarantine or even just working from home. 

If you’re worried about managing the blues this July, there are some things you can do to help yourself feel better. 

Don’t dis the sunshine

Working from home can definitely have its advantages in winter. For example, you may be able to sleep in a little longer, stay comfy in your track pants, and avoid going out in the cold wind.

However, as humans, we all need a little sunshine every day. As our greatest source of energy, getting a little sunlight every day can make us feel happier and more positive and even help us sleep better. 

Because UV radiation is typically lower in winter months, it’s ideal to plan a little time outdoors when it’s nice and warm – after the frost has eased but before the late afternoon chill creeps in. 

If you can, try to add a little time outdoors to your daily routine. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or sitting on the grass in your backyard, getting out of the house and underneath our crystal blue winter skies can have many advantages. 

Focus on nature

If you do suffer from seasonal affective disorder, there’s also a practice you can do while you’re outside to improve your sense of wellbeing. 

It’s called “Noticing Nature” and was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2016. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Commit to a time each day to go outside. Aim for around 10 minutes. 
  2. While you are outside, be mindful of the natural elements around you. Notice how they make you feel, and allow yourself to truly experience them.  
  3. When you encounter a natural element that particularly moves you, take a photo of it. Takes as many photos as you want, and don’t worry about the quality. 
  4. When you go inside, download the pictures and paste them into a Word doco. Write down what prompted you to take each one and how they made you feel. You can use a few words, or even a few sentences.
  5. Repeat the practice every day for 2 weeks. 

After 2 weeks you may find that you feel more positive emotions, are kinder and more helpful to other people, and feel a greater sense of connectedness.   

Reach out if you want to talk

We explore practices such as these every Friday in our Positive Plenary sessions. Positive Plenary is a free meet-up, and is a great place to chat with like-minded people and discuss strategies for building and sustaining a positive mindset. 

If you wish to join, simply email me at kv@kimvella.com.au.  

If you would prefer one-on-one sessions so we can speak privately, please check out my coaching sessions. In the current environment, we can do these online or over the phone – whatever works best for you.  

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