As daylight hours and temperatures drop, it can be tempting to hibernate inside and wait for the return of spring. For most, productivity levels, both in and outside of work, take a hit from November to March. But don’t simply wait out the frost and longer nights. You can still maximize your energy and stay active with these helpful tips.
1. Get Moving
Exercising outdoors might be a no-go where you live. After all, who wants to run through ice and snow? This makes it an opportune time to check out what gyms are available nearby. If you’re staying in a hotel, most offer an indoor gym or workout room. Your body will thank you; regular exercise can lead to more energy and mental sharpness. In fact, a University of Georgia study found that people can start feeling a noticeable change in energy after just four to six weeks of regular activity.
2. Stick to a Consistent Schedule
An erratic schedule can throw your body out-of-whack, leading to sickness and fatigue. So, while getting back into bed right after work and staying out extra late for holiday parties might seem inviting, it’ll do more damage than good. Instead, try to incorporate healthy habits into your day that promote mindfulness. Studies have shown that 30 minutes to an hour of self-focused activities—such as exercise, meditation, or reading—stimulates the mind and body, leading to increased productivity for the day.
3. Do Some Spring Cleaning
An organized and tidy home space can help declutter your mental state as well. A 2011 study showed that “a cluttered environment led to difficulty processing information and has a negative impact on working memory.” You should surround yourself with items that you need right now or in the near future. Also, it’s a bonus if these items also motivate you. For example, lay out your workout clothes on a visible chair so you remember to hit the gym.
4. Make Plans with Friends and Family
Winter’s slew of holiday festivities makes it seem like there’s always an activity to take part in. However, post-holidays may leave you feeling like your social calendar is empty. Pull yourself out of the mid-winter slump, and plan a fun social outing at least once a week. Host a movie night at home with your new coworkers or regularly schedule Skype sessions with long-distance loved ones. This is also the time of year those working from home may feel loneliest, so make an extra effort to reach out to your social network.
5. Follow a Healthy Eating Plan
When layers of clothing seem to hide everything and travel keeps you on the go, it’s easy to fill up on warm, heavy comfort foods. Instead, nourish your body with plenty of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. These will help you avoid the winter bloat and sluggishness that is all too common this time of year. Seek out foods like citrus, garlic, fish, sweet potatoes, green tea, and yogurt, all of which support your immune system.
6. Set SMART Goals
Whether professional or personal, clearly defined goals can help focus your mind and workflow. Plus, it’s the perfect time to lay out what you aim to achieve in the upcoming new year. Make sure you’re being reasonable with your goals and follow the SMART goal framework (that’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Start small, and build upon them as the months go on.
7. Take a Staycation
If your business revs up in the winter months and you feel overworked, it’s time to recharge. You don’t have to go far to take a little respite from daily life, though. Treat yourself to a relaxing day at home or your hotel that’s filled with all your favorite soothing activities, such as a pampering spa treatment, quality pet time, or your favorite movie. Or, if you’re on a business trip, extend your stay by a day or two to make your new environment into an exciting exploration.