Winter is in full steam.  The days are shorter, darker, and, in many places, colder – and some of us may be feeling pretty down and blue this time of year.  You might feel more tired than usual, lacking motivation, and feel like being less active. At work, your productivity might be decreased.

There are common reasons why people struggle with productivity during the winter months. Especially in January, there could be the “post-holiday let-down;” in areas where it’s cold and wet, some may feel confined to the indoors; and others may feel disappointed in themselves for not maintaining their New Year’s resolutions.

If you’re feeling a bit down, don’t let it take over; take action.  Try one of the following tips or see your doctor; some of them may help brighten up your day.

It’s just as important to stay productive in the winter months as it is during the rest of the year. Your level of productivity sets the tone for the rest of the year; if you get off to a slow start, you won’t make up speed throughout the year.

Here are 7 tips for staying productive during the cold winter months.

Get physical. Regular exercise before, after, or during work helps reduce stress and improve sleep.

Get outside. Fresh air, daylight, and sunshine will revitalize you; sunshine can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. It’s also a good idea to step away from your work to give your brain a break and re-energize.

Eat well.  Cold days and nights are when we want to eat comfort foods and sweets the most.  In fact, it’s the time of year when healthy eating is the most important.  When already feeling sluggish and tired, heavy and rich foods will only contribute to these feelings.

Be social. Avoid eating lunch alone. Ask coworkers to join you in the break room or a nearby restaurant. Even getting out of the building together to pick up lunch to bring it back will help break your isolation and connect with others at work.  The happier you are, the more productive you’ll be.

Set goals. If you’ve found yourself having already broken your new year’s resolutions, start over.  There’s no reason why you can’t make a new list and start fresh.  The new year is only an excuse to make new goals for yourself; they can be made any time during the year.

Get enough sleep. Staying rested and energized will help ward off the flu and other viruses.  Go to bed earlier, hit the snooze button once or twice in the morning. Those extra few minutes can make a difference.

Plan for a fun, eventful year. Plan a vacation, weekend road trip, or a night at the movies. Putting things to look forward to on your calendar can help keep you excited for the year. Not to mention, saving money for a family trip or weekend getaway can be satisfying and contribute to the feelings of productivity.

Take advantage of what’s out there. Don’t let the winter months bring you down. If you are feeling blue, do something about it and make those dark days a little brighter.

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