5 Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Workplace
Winter is a top reason of why people are sad, and an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from the clinically diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with another 10-20% experiencing mild SAD symptoms.
Not only does SAD make sufferers sad, it leads to sluggishness and decreased productivity. While you can’t send all of your employees to Florida for a week, there are ways you can help perk them up and boost wintertime productivity.
Expand the lunch break.
It’s disheartening in the winter when all of our daylight hours are spent at work. Consider making it acceptable to extend lunch hour into a two-hour window and encourage employees to spend time outside during their break.
The top cause of sad is lack of natural sunlight in the winter.
Invest in happy lights.
Similar to encouraging time outside, a happy light is great for overcast days or days when it’s too nutty to leave the office. The light emitted mimics natural outdoor light and can cause positive change in brain chemicals linked to mood.
There are many happy lights that are small enough to fit right on an employee’s desk.
Diffuse sunny scents.
Our sense of smell never fades as we age, and scent memories are the strongest of all. Therefore, when we breathe in essential oil molecules, researchers believe that the scent triggers parts of the brain and influences our physical, emotional, and mental health.
Citrus has been strongly linked with the reduction of depression, and citrus scents are also very energizing. Spread a few diffusers around the office to perk up productivity and reduce symptoms of SAD.
Offer reimbursement for therapy sessions.
More employers are offering reimbursement for a certain number of therapy sessions per year. As incentive, cognitive behavioral therapy specifically has been found to be just as effective as light therapy in treating SAD. Your company’s reimbursements are also tax deductible!
Stock the breakroom with carbs.
We’re talking healthy carbs here! Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, sweet potatoes, and lentils not only keep you full, they produce serotonin in the brain, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter.
Encourage healthy habits and boost employee moods by stocking your breakroom with healthy snacks.
Winter doesn’t have to be sad! Beat the blues in your office with these top tips.
Meg is a dreamer, entrepreneur, and homesteader based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She loves her cats, feasting, and road trips in her green VW Bug.