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How to get motivated when fighting the winter blahs

January 29, 2019

By Susan Chance, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, we are left with cold days and too little sunshine. This gives most of us the winter blahs which causes us to feel more tired, and motivation to get work done can be a challenge. Our year-end results depend a lot on our successes early in the year. So how can we stay motivated at work, especially when we don’t get enough sunshine and for many of us, it is dark when we come to work and dark when we go home?

This may seem counter-intuitive but work later hours. It is dark and cold, and most people just hunker down at home at this time of year. Why not use the time to catch-up or get ahead on some of your work projects instead of binge watching Netflix? Once we get to the longer, warmer days we will want to get out and enjoy it, so get ready now by getting more done at the office.

Break your projects up into smaller, more manageable goals. Smaller goals are achievable quicker, and that feeling of making progress helps with motivating us to move on to the next task.

Take advantage of sunshine whenever possible. We do get some sunny days in between the gray days, so make sure to get out for a few minutes and soak up some of that sun! Bundle up and take a walk outside. That little bit of light can do wonders to brighten a mood and give a boost of energy.

Then there is the advice from Psychology today, which is to “stop having so much fun outside of work.” It seems that all of the time we spend binge-watching our favorite shows/movies, catching up on social media, etc., is “making our work feel dull and uninspiring by comparison.” If we sit at a desk instead of traveling the world, or saving the world, or feeding the world, how can we be motivated? In small doses these distractions can provide a needed mental break. Binging on them, while it may feel good while doing so, can sap our energy.

Ok, so giving up on fun does not motivate you. Try planning a vacation instead. Studies have shown that taking vacations leads to better productivity and creativity at work. Other studies have shown that people who take vacations are less likely to be depressed. Just knowing that you have a vacation coming up, even if it is a few months away, is a mood booster, and each little step you take on planning that vacation can energize you. If you really have trouble with the winter months, take a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny. Even a few days of sunshine and natural vitamin D can help.

It is important to control your motivation levels because our jobs must be done, and employers are not going to reduce the expected productivity because it is winter. Find what works for you and get motivated!

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