How to stay motivated when the dark nights start drawing in!
I, like many, am affected by changes in season particularly at this time of year. Even though I love Autumn, I know that as these dark mornings and evenings draw in I have to try much harder to stay on track and keep motivated. We all know it’s much harder to bounce out of bed on a chilly dark morning than a warm sunny one. Whether you work for yourself like me, have a team to motivate or customers to serve, you probably already know that getting out of bed with a positive mindset is key to having a productive day.
So, why are so many of us affected by this change that we know comes around every year? Shouldn't we be used to it by now?
Well, during the Autumn and Winter months we see less of the sun than at other times of the year and it has been long since proven that this lack of natural light throws us out of sync, partly due to the fact the sun brings us our biggest quota of Vitamin D. The Harvard School of Health has found significant evidence that a major factor for people suffering from ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (‘SAD’ for short) is lowered levels of Vitamin D.
Of course, there are other factors that affect the 'Winter blues' such as poor diet, lack of exercise, stress over time, money or family obligations with Christmas coming, stress over meeting important deadlines before the end of the year etc. The good news is that many of these things can be influenced by us, our mindset and actions.
How do you know if you are suffering from the Winter Blues?
This can vary from person to person but the most common symptoms are the following:
- Altered mood or attitude.
- Lack of interest in daily activities.
- Abnormal sleeping habits - sleeping more, less or suffering from insomnia.
- Altered eating habits - often people crave more comfort food, more carbs.
- Reduced motivation.
So, what can we do to ourselves motivated during the long Winter months?
- Expose yourself to sunlight - an extra 15-30 minutes a day will work wonders on helping to boost your vitamin D level in turn improving your mood.
- Get more exercise - you don’t have to hit the gym for this - perhaps take a walk in your lunch hour, not only does this up your exercise but also your exposure to natural light.
- Implement a morning routine - people who have a morning routine giving themselves time to warm up for the day are more motivated and productive.
- Be aware your diet - with the party season looming it’s easy to get sucked in to all the party nights, drinking too much and neglecting your diet.
- Don’t overdo the caffeine.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep - give your body time to re-energise.
- Get some ‘me’ time.
- Be organised - this helps reduce stress and keeps you on track.
- Reduce stress - reducing stress has a huge impact on motivation and mood, once you have worked out the root cause of the stress you can get to work on diminishing it.
- Set yourself achievable goals and reward yourself each time you get there.
So, don't let these shorter, darker days hold you back; have a go at a few of the above and see how much more motivated you'll feel.
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About Chloe Delaunay
I'm a career and business coach and a member of the Association for Coaching, working with those looking to enhance their professional lives. I support my clients in boosting personal and team performance, clarifying goals and direction, improving confidence, mindset and motivation and feeling more fulfilled in striking the right work-life balance.