How to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as a Telecommuter

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can impact your productivity and performance at work. Light and nature will help you maintain your energy during the winter months.

It is cold and dreary in the northern hemisphere which may lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  According to MayoClinic, winter SAD symptoms may include oversleeping, low energy,  weight gain, and change in appetite. SAD symptoms, in turn, may impact your performance. Going into the office may help manage the symptoms since you are more active, in meetings and engaged in human interactions. When you work remotely, the weather can get to you, but the deadlines or personal obligations do not change. Here are a few tips to help to keep your energy levels high during these months: Light: Light therapy, also called phototherapy is beneficial. Consider buying SAD lights or Philips Hue LED smart bulbs. Change your schedule to maximize sun exposure. Nature: Light exposure is the key so sit close to a window, open your blinds, crack a window when you can and breath in the fresh, crisp air.  I walk with a friend who helps with commitment and when we both don’t want to go for a walk her dogs makes us! Exercise: Modify your schedule to exercise while the sun is out. Use your break to go for a short walk or bike ride (weather permitting) or play with your dog or do a short workout at home turn up the music and dance! Diet: Make sure you add healthy fats and protein to your diet. It is easy to get dehydrated during the winter, ensure you are drinking enough. Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D either from your diet or take a supplement. Check with your doctor for the right dosage since it can vary per individual. Vacation: Take a break from the cold weather and find the sun. If the timing is not right then start planning your tropical vacation. Change your laptop screen to a Caribbean beach theme and take the time to look at it and visualize being there. Change: Do something different from your normal routine go to a café, a co-working location or library, move to the southern hemisphere. Use the Pomodoro technique or other time management methods to stay on task. Be consistent and patient as you make minor changes to your daily schedule to improve productivity during winter. Do you have tips to share?
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