Winter can put even the best of us on a downer, especially when you’re working in a cold house or on a building site day in day out…
That shrill sound of the alarm clock feels particularly unpleasant in January and February. The winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder to take its fancy name, affects us all to some degree or another but for those working in the trades, it comes with some unique challenges. Here are five ways to help beat those winter blues. Here are some tips that seem pretty simple but easy to forget.
A quick stop at Mcdonalds at lunch might sound like the perfect way to brighten up your day but the truth is could well be dragging your further down. Eating healthily is a good idea no matter the time of the year, but it’s particularly important at times when mood levels tend to drop. Our understanding of the link between mood and food is growing all of the time and yet it remains an area people consistently struggle with. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and set yourself up from the very start – your mood will thank you for it.
The seasoned pros out there might smirk at this one, but this is an issue that often arises. It’s important to keep your body as comfortable as possible throughout the day. Working in the trades you often experience different activity levels, one minute you’re working flat out, the next you are standing around for half an hour in the cold while somebody completes a job.
The point is you need to be ready for both. If you’re working outside during winter you need to come to work prepared. Whatever you need, whether its thermals, hot drinks, (make sure the customer puts the kettle on 😉 ) get a nice woolly hat, find the pattern that works for you. The right kind of gear can make a huge difference and it’s worth giving it some thought.
One of the major causes of depression is loneliness. Humans naturally gravitate towards other humans and when we go through long stretches without any meaningful communication it can be particularly damaging. If you’re working on a site with plenty of people this probably isn’t a huge problem, but for those working on their own, it certainly can be.
Taking the time to call somebody at lunchtime or during a break can really help to alleviate some of the effects loneliness can have on the mind
Sleeping is important. You probably already knew that, but just how important is another matter. Poor sleeping patterns are closely related to depression, along with numerous other conditions and ailments.
Seven to eight hours is the medically recommended amount of sleep, but it’s important to listen to your own body. If you feel tired, go to bed earlier and under no circumstances should you feel guilty about that lie in at the weekend.
Find Your Happy
This might sound like the most absurdly obvious point on this list but ignore it at your peril. During times of difficulty, it’s important to focus on the small habits or activities that bring you happiness. Whether it’s binge-watching a TV show, riding a bike or simply walking the dog through the park.
Sometimes you need to actively set aside time for things like this, especially if you add in a family to your busy schedule, but the psychological benefit of regularly doing something you love to do is not only exceedingly obvious but one of the biggest tools you have in improving your mental health.