How to Deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Work Place

on January 16, 2017 in ABR Blog, Workplace Safety


Seasonal Affective Disorder Creates Additional Winter Challenges for Sufferers

The winter is a challenging time of year with the need to bundle for the cold weather and trudge through the snow just to get to work. Some people have to deal with the additional hurdle of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is commonly referred to as the winter blues. Mental Health America reports that 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression. That means that, if you suffer from SAD, you are not alone.

What Are the Symptoms of SAD and the Winter Blues?

You might have occasionally suspected that you suffer from seasonal depression. If you do not know the symptoms, it is easy to shrug it off as boredom or ignore the problem altogether. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you pay attention to the symptoms so you can identify the problem and work toward a solution.

Symptoms of SAD often begin to appear for sufferers during the late fall or early winter. A combination of fewer hours of daylight and colder temperatures may help you know when to identify this issue, as well as keeping an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of depression and hopelessness much of the day and nearly every day.
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, and the desire to sleep for large chunks of the day.
  • Irritability and no interest in socializing.
  • Increased stress, tension, and anxiety.
  • Loss of interest in regular activities.
  • Inability to focus or remember details.
  • Fluctuations in weight.
  • An unusual interest in drinking or taking drugs to self-medicate in hopes of feeling better.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, in the most extreme cases.

You may have all or only a few of these symptoms, but it is worth consideration to take care of your health and positive outlook throughout the year.

How Can You Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder?

You may worry that your work performance and productivity may suffer if you experience depression and seasonal disorder. Thankfully, there are many ways you can combat this problem so you don’t need to suffer in the work place or anywhere else during the winter months. Here are five ways you can help combat the winter blues.

  1. Increase Your Vitamin D Intake.
    The best way to get this mood-enhancing essential vitamin is through exposure to natural sunshine. Grab your coat and take a 15-minute walk outside. Or if it’s too snowy or icy to take a walk (or if you don’t have time during your lunch break or a rest break to do it), taking a daily vitamin D supplement can help, too.
  2. Boost Your Exercise Intensity.
    Even if you take your daily vitamin D strolls, it is important to perform some focused and intense exercise to stimulate your body’s neurotransmitters and natural “feel-good” chemicals. Sign up for a spinning class, start running, join a Masters swim team, or enroll in a dance class.
  3. Light Up Your Life. 
    Many office workers invest in a light box. Entrepreneur recommends that workers find a light therapy lamp that has “a surface area of about one foot square emits high-intensity light and is positioned one to two feet away from the eyes.”
  4. Eat a Healthy and Happy Diet. 
    Most items from the vending machine, such as chips or candy bars, will probably only make symptoms of SAD worse. Pack nutrient-dense and carbohydrate-light snacks like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and small servings of cheese.
  5. Make Time for Fun. 
    Basically, don’t let the winter blues consume you. Even if it feels like a struggle to plan a fun outing, it will help you burst through the blues. Your fun activity might involve meditation, playing piano, shooting pool, going to the movies, or simply hanging out with friends.

Reach Out for Help

There is no reason to suffer through SAD alone, letting your work and personal life suffer. Reach out to friends, family, a counselor, or the team at ABR Employment Services for ideas on ways to survive seasonal depression and the winter blues.

This blog was written by Joan Pajari, Senior Marketing Specialist at ABR Employment Services and Kinsa Group.