SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a common wintertime challenge. It can be tough to stay motivated at work, but there are some proactive things you can do to reduce your symptoms. Here are a few tips for continuing to excel in your career while grappling with SAD.
Know the Signs
SAD isn’t just the winter blues. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling hopeless or depressed
- Lack of energy
- Sleeping too much
- Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
If you start to recognize these symptoms, it’s important to start treatment right away. Consider getting professional help from your doctor or a mental health specialist.
Manage Your Symptoms
Whether or not you seek professional assistance, start taking active steps to reduce your symptoms. One of the biggest keys is light exposure therapy. Purchase a light therapy box with a brightness of 2,500 lux or more (they are readily available online), and sit in front of it for at least 30 minutes before heading to work each day. Of course, it’s always smart to check with your doctor first, especially if you have any underlying visual issues or other medical conditions or are on anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medications.
Also, practice self-care. At home, take plenty of time to simply relax with your favorite movie or a good book. Open the curtains whenever possible, and keep your home warm and cozy. At work, let others know about your condition and explain how they can help. Continue to show gratitude to others at work. Showing gratitude can have a very positive affect on your own outlook and behaviour.
Find a Routine
This isn’t the time to sign up for a bunch of new projects. Instead, find a comfortable routine at work. Make it a habit to arrive at work on time…. don’t be late. Make time for stretch breaks, training and education, and try to get outside in the sunshine during your breaks. Focus on what matters, and ask coworkers for assistance when you start feeling overwhelmed.
SAD is more than just the blues. It’s a real mental health condition that can wreak havoc on your performance during the dark, cold months. But there are steps you can take to keep your symptoms under control and avoid tanking your career.
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