Winter is coming.
For entrepreneurs, that might not mean years of frigid weather and a possible undead invasion like it does on TV's Game of Thrones, but the cold months here in the real world have their dangers too. And they extend beyond throwing out your back shoveling snow.
Gloomy weather and short days mean that up to a quarter of people experience some form of seasonal affective disorder (a condition with the incredibly apt acronym SAD). Even more no doubt wouldn't meet clinical guidelines for a diagnosis but nonetheless struggle with some form of the winter blues (you over there in Southern California, stop gloating!).
Is there any way to protect yourself against this common seasonal complaint that can sap your productivity and drain some of the joy from your days? In gray and drizzly England, I can report, the most commonly recommended solution is frequent trips to the pub (jokes aside, for serious cases psychologists offer light treatment and other remedies). But if you're looking for more healthful answers for standard-issue seasonal gloom, the Freelancers Union blog recently rounded up top suggestions. They include:
Work Your Wardrobe
Just because the sky is gray doesn't mean your outfit has to be as well. "This very morning, a friend's coral T-shirt caught my eye," writes Lauren Dlugosz. "When I complimented it, she said she's wearing fun colors to combat all the lame weather. How brilliant is that? People, you are not obligated to limit your color palette to the current season. Scientifically, bright colors are known to improve moods. Unscientifically, I'm always thrilled to see orange polka dots instead of another beige sweater."
Let Food Cheer You Up
Who could possibly stay glum when confronted with a tasty, home-cooked feast? Absolutely no one, that's who. As a business owner you can leverage this fact by planning an office potluck should you notice your team's spirits flagging. "This strategy has multiple benefits--you get to eat good food, hang out with pals, and still be productive," insists Dlugosz.
Leave (or Redecorate)
OK, this isn't the solution for everyone. But for some the simplest solution is also the best. If winter has you down, leave winter behind--here are several programs that can help entrepreneurs escape to the sun. If that's a stretch due to the usual life circumstances and constraints (darn kids actually need to go to school), simply switching up your surroundings can help, Dlugosz points out.
"It's time to jazz up your environment," she writes. "Think of it this way: You're crawling the walls because your walls have looked the same since you moved in. Buy affordable art or do an art swap, light an unseasonably scented candle, get new pillows for the couch, buy a different brand of coffee, etc. Go wild!"
Looking for more tips? Dlugosz offers several more in the post.
How do you fight the winter blues?