Combating the pre-winter blues: A week of insights & action.
There is another week of autumn left, but it sure feels like it has already arrived in my home. Things I love about winter? Winter fashion, delicious hearty meals, red wine by the fire, and beautiful picturesque scenery. Things I don’t enjoy? Starting & finishing work in darkness. Lower energy & mood. The cold and getting caught in the rain.
If colder weather and shorter days cause you to feel the winter blues, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to experience fatigue, sadness, difficulty concentrating, and a disruption in your sleep schedule during the winter season. For some of us, this mood change is temporary and easily managed with lifestyle modifications. But for others, the winter blues can turn into a more severe type of depression called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. The good news? There are things you can do to beat the winter blues.
This week, I will post one thing you can implement each day, focusing on surroundings, behaviour and mindset to move life forward, even though you probably don’t feel like it, or up to it, to ward off those winter blues.
The environment you create through the elements you surround yourself with will affect how you think and feel daily. Surroundings can mean so many different things: your home, office, and car, the music you listen to, the television shows you watch, the books you read, your social media engagement, and the people who you spend your time with.
Day 1: Clean up your surroundings
Organising your home and workspace is one of the most tangible things you can address. Science even suggests that you’ll feel stronger and healthier once you do. A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that people who describe their homes as cluttered or unfinished experience an increase in depressed mood over the course of the day. On the other hand, people who described their homes as orderly — you guessed it — felt their depression decrease.
Rather than a one and done spring-style mega clean, choose something small and do it repeatedly, each day. Focus on one room and one area within that room and go from there. Commit to doing just one nice thing for your home each day, and when you will do it specifically. For example, gathering all your clothes up into one pile, separating them into clean clothes (to put away) and laundry (and putting them in the laundry hamper) is enough for day one. You might like to do this at the end of each workday before beginning your evening routine, especially if you’re working from home. I love to make sure I reset my workspace each day so it’s all ready to go and tidy for the next.
If you have the funds, you can try a professional organiser on platforms like Airtasker, or hire a professional cleaner and pay a set fee per room on platforms like Urban Company. I love this concept; book a cleaner for the rooms you need and are ready to focus on; you don’t need to wait until the whole house is ready. Remember your home office and home workspaces are expenses you can claim(read more here & here).
Pro tip: Light can help us feel better over winter, so try and let as much light into your home as possible, including working/living spaces, to maximise your exposure to sunlight whenever possible. Think the light, bright, airy, and maximum sunshine and sitting in windows.
The tiniest changes can make the biggest difference when repeated consistently over time.