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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues: Your Business Will Thank You

It's been so terrible outside, that we can start to feel terrible inside. Here are some hints for fighting back against winter.
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Mother nature is not happy, and since misery loves company, she's taking out her anger on much of the country. It's starting to get depressing. Very depressing. Add to the bad weather the reality that foul conditions can sap anyone's sunny disposition, and you're set up for winter blues.

And let's face it, you are not at your peak professionally, when you're feeling depressed and sluggish. Is there something that can help? Executive career coach and author of Find Your Sweet Spot: A Guide to Personal and Professional Excellence, Karen Elizaga, has 10 tips to help beat those winter blues. (Of course, if your winter blues are more than that and you feel you might be suffering from real depression, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible). Here are Elizaga's tips:

1. Take an air bath. History buffs might know that Ben Franklin was a big fan of air baths. But in case that's not an appealing enough reason to lather up with fresh air, here's another: Sitting stagnant at your desk under the florescent lights is not only bad for your waistline, but bad for your mental health and energy level.

2. Pump up your playlist. Set the soundtrack to your stamina. Listen to upbeat, dance tunes during your commute and while sitting at your desk with ear buds. Just don't bother your cubicle neighbors.

3. Peak your posture. When we carry ourselves upright, we inspire confidence, trust, and respect. It also sends a signal to your brain that you're feeling energized and engaged!

4. Move your body. Nothing elevates mood and motivation like moderate exercise. This triggers your body to secrete hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, all of which elevate your mood, motivation, and ability to focus.

5. Respect nutrition. Stop making food selections based on convenience or emotional impulse. Up your intake of fruits and vegetables instead of reaching for sugary or salty snacks. If you eat meat, choose grilled high-grade meats over processed or fast-food. If you eat healthy, what you think and feel will be healthy.

6. De-clutter your space. Let your workspace inspire you. Make your desk, cubicle, or office a place of clarity and calm where you can really think, breathe, and get things done.

7. Cherish sleep. Sleep is essential to cognitive performance, focus, productivity, and mood. Resist the urge to overextend your weeknights with late night TV, social commitments, or the need to catch up on work. Set an earlier time for getting into bed and adhere to it.

8. Rise and shine. Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to do something that typically gets overlooked or missed out on. Whether it's reading the newspaper, chatting with your children, or snuggling with your partner, getting this time in will change your outlook on your day and week.

9. Choose your mantra. To combat boredom and low energy at work, choose a mantra--a sentence, three words, or a rhyme that resonates with you. This is something you can reach for in a jam to lift your spirits and reassure you that work and life are in a good place.

10. Have fun. Reach for the impulse to go out and have a good time. Create an opportunity for you to laugh, be carefree, or enjoy friends. Be proactive in your effort to pull yourself out of the winter doldrums.

Last updated: Feb 6, 2014

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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