When the weather outside gets frightful, working from home can be so delightful. But don’t let the fact that you need not brave the elements to get to your job each day translate into hibernation. Telecommuters who lack sunshine, movement, and socialization set themselves up for cabin fever and a long, lonely, and restless few months.
Give your spirits and your productivity a boost during colder weather by combatting cabin fever with these actions:
Try a coworking space.
Find yourself gravitating toward the couch and an afghan too often? Consider heading to a coworking space instead. Being around others who are getting work done can be energizing and provide a “people fix.”
Jeff Kear, owner of Planning Pod, says he’s rented coworking space for his remote employees where they can show up and work together a couple of times every week. “We don’t require people to participate in this way, but we have found that most of them welcome the diversion, and it has increased their productivity overall.”
Sedentary behavior poses a variety of health risks, not to mention leaves you sluggish. Winter can put a damper on movement, so seek out exercise. Consider purchasing a standing desk. Try a seasonal sport such as skating or skiing. Swim laps at an indoor pool. Head to the mall for powerwalking. Your metabolism will thank you.
“I have two dogs, and I make it a point to walk them at least twice during the workday as breaks, even in the winter,” Kear says. “The exercise is the perfect ‘reset button,’ and I find I am refreshed and can approach the rest of my day with a new perspective.”
Keeping up with friends and colleagues via social platforms is fun and convenient. But making an effort to do some face-to-face interacting can increase your energy (and your network) during long winters. Attend your professional organization’s holiday mixer. Volunteer to decorate for your son’s second-grade Christmas pageant. Do a shift as a Salvation Army bell ringer.
And consider scheduling a standing appointment or two, such as meeting coworkers at a coffee shop for gingerbread lattes every other Friday. As noted by Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer at BeenVerified, “If you are held accountable by someone else, you are more likely to follow through with the activity!”
Get some light.
Lack of sunlight gives people the “blahs” and may worsen conditions such as depression and seasonal affective disorder. Some people find light therapy lamps help combat the problem. On bright days, bundle up and catch some natural rays. Seeing the snow glisten in the sun is an instant mood booster.
And take action to stop your home office from becoming a bear’s den.
“Telecommuting can be tough,” says Miranda Marquit of Student Loan Hero. “But I love to do what I can to let in natural light by keeping the blinds and curtains open. A little of that plastic you can put over them goes a long way toward insulating the home so I don’t have to use curtains to keep the warm air in.”
And one last piece of advice: put on some “real” clothes! Comfy pajamas are just too conducive to taking a long winter’s nap.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com