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Staying Healthy in the Workplace this Winter

Winter can be a challenging season for those of us who have to work through it. The decrease in daylight, the harsh temperatures, and the overwhelming workload leading up to Christmas can all take a toll on our well-being. Additionally, it seems that winter is the time when many of us are most susceptible to getting sick, although there are conflicting theories about why.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies you can employ to combat the challenges that winter presents. By reorganising your priorities and focusing on self-care, you can minimise the impact of the colder months. Here are five valuable tips to help you stay in optimal shape throughout the winter season:


Get some hand sanitiser

While the debate about whether cold weather directly causes illness is still ongoing, it's clear that viral infections tend to spread more easily during the winter months. This is because we often find ourselves congregating indoors, which means we are in closer proximity to one another. If one person has a virus, it's more likely to come into contact with someone else.

To minimise the risk of catching or spreading illness, it's a good idea to purchase hand sanitizer and make it a habit to wash your hands regularly. Even if you're not feeling sick, regularly sanitizing your hands can help prevent infections from shared surfaces or items like kettles or keyboards. And if you are feeling under the weather, taking these precautions will help ensure you don't infect your colleagues.

Another technique to employ in the battle against the common cold is to sneeze into a tissue or, if one isn't available, into the inside of your elbow. While it may seem courteous to cover your mouth with your hands when you sneeze, unless you immediately sanitize your hands afterward, you'll just be spreading germs to the next thing you touch. The inside of your elbow is less likely to come into contact with shared objects, unless, of course, you prefer unconventional methods to impress people.

 

Prioritise exercise even more

Exercise has been extensively studied and its benefits are well-known. However, during the winter months, the lack of daylight and harsh outdoor conditions often discourage us from engaging in outdoor activities. It's important to note that exercise not only reduces stress and strengthens the immune system, but also releases endorphins that promote a positive state of mind.

Spending most of your time indoors, sitting on a chair or sofa, may seem acceptable, but it means you are neglecting the positive effects of exercise. Considering the additional stresses that come with this time of year, these effects can be extremely beneficial.

If you find yourself not up for a refreshing early morning run, consider joining a gym. Some workplaces offer on-site gyms, which can be a valuable resource for incorporating exercise into your schedule.

 

Counteract your caffeine increase

When the weather gets cold, many of us seek comfort in a steaming hot drink. However, it's important to be aware that caffeine actually dehydrates the body, leading to a decrease in energy and focus.

To counteract this, try swapping one of your coffee breaks for a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon. This will not only give you the warm and cozy feeling of a hot beverage, but the citrusy kick will also help to perk you up. Alternatively, or in addition, keeping a water bottle by your desk and regularly sipping from it will ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day.


Let your schedule keep you grounded

As the holiday season approaches, the stress and overwhelming workload can quickly become burdensome. The increased workload can easily spiral out of control as the new year approaches, potentially hindering the success of the business.

To effectively manage your priorities and workload, consider using a simple timesheet created in Excel. This will allow you to stay organised and systematic in completing your tasks. Additionally, employers have a wide range of employee management software options available, offering more comprehensive features for tracking time and job costing.

By implementing these strategies, you can stay on top of your workload and ensure a smooth transition into the new year.


Try some...light therapy?

As the winter months roll in, a phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can cast a shadow over our well-being. With symptoms like low mood, lethargy, and the infamous "winter blues," SAD affects some individuals more than others. However, it is a recognized condition, listed on the NHS website, and should not be dismissed. The theory behind SAD suggests that the lack of sunlight impacts our brain function, disrupting our natural sleep cycle and serotonin production.

Thankfully, there is a remedy for this wintertime slump: light therapy. Often provided through SAD lamps, these devices simulate daylight and have been shown to improve mood during the darker months. If you suspect you may suffer from SAD, it's worth giving them a try.

While winter can sometimes take its toll on our well-being, just like adjusting our attire to the weather, it's important to adjust our attitude and take proactive measures to counteract its negative effects. By doing so, we can fully embrace winter for what it is - cold, yet undeniably beautiful in its own chilly way.

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