October 21, 2020

Beat the Winter Blues: How to Fight SAD

shutterstock 228478192

Beat the Winter Blues: How to Fight SAD

Wed, 21st October 2020

The well-named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes called the winter blues, is a major depressive disorder which occurs as a result of a long period without light. This disorder affects millions of people as the seasons’ change and can lead to lower productivity and emotional strain. As we move from summer into windy autumn, and then chilly winter, many of us will be affected by SAD and there’s no time like the present to prepare. We’re going to look at what causes SAD and how you can best combat it when winter comes around. 

What causes the Winter Blues?

Human beings are subject to their surroundings. When the days grow shorter, and the nights longer, the reduced daylight can trigger an urge to hibernate. This urge can manifest in lots of symptoms such as low energy, a desire to sleep longer, and a reduced need to socialise. People can also experience low moods, overeating and other depressive traits. People acutely affected by SAD can also experience negative effects on their professional and private lives.

How do you fight the effects of SAD in the workplace? 

The main culprit behind SAD is the lack of light. Research has shown that bright light around 2,500 lux improves mood and energy. A day outside in the sun can reach up to 100,000 lux supercharging your mood. In winter, it can be rainy, cold, and dark; what’s more, offices are darker too with even the brightest offices only providing 500 lux. This is why it’s important to introduce as much light into the office as possible. Go for a walk at lunch on bright days or sit nearer windows during winter to supercharge your light intake.

You can also open all your blinds and curtains and if you feel the need, add some SAD lamps or torches. These bright lights can brighten up the office, allow for important light therapy and lighten the mood(pun intended). You can also use brighter coloured furnishings or add some plants to help alleviate SAD. 

Keep everything clean

A clean office boosts productivity and mood, as well as protecting you and your employees from illness. UK employers alone lose a total of £16 billion a year to sick days. That’s an average of 6.5 days per employee. There are plenty of places in the office where germs and bacteria can thrive and grow, spreading illness, from your furnishings to high touch points such as keyboards, handles, and elevator buttons. 

Along with reduced illness; a clean office can increase motivation, show off your professionalism to clients, and reduce stress. Humans are visual creatures and the nicer our surroundings, the more proud, confident, and energised we feel. 

Scrub the air

Air quality is an important part of every office, school, home, and just about any other enclosed place. We spend much of our time indoors, whether at home or at work. The air you breathe can affect your health and mood. An experiment carried out by Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University discovered that test subjects working in ‘green offices’ (offices with reduced VOC concentration, clean environs, and regular levels of CO2) had double the cognitive performance of people working in conventional environments. 

This means that Seasonal Affective Disorder can be compounded in offices with poor air conditions, lowering people’s mood further and making teams feel even more lethargic.

At Pura4D we clean differently. We clean in 4 dimensions; Floors, Walls and Ceilings, Furniture and Surfaces, and the Air. This allows us to create healthy buildings that are truly clean. Fight the effects of poor airflow and SAD now with a cleaning audit, training, or equipment from Pura4D. 

Exercise and diet

Last but not least, SAD has knock-on effects affecting people’s exercise routines and eating habits. The lower temperatures, reduced light, and lower social needs lead to a reduction in the drive to exercise or eat healthily. If your team experiences the effects of winter it may be worth putting together team sporting events, clubs, and promote healthy recipes. These can all help reduce the depression felt and motivate your team, give them more energy, and protect their health from seasonal flu and colds. 

There’s no time like the present to start planning for the dark days of winter. Meet with your team, discuss the ways you can all prepare for SAD and create habits and an environment which will keep you all in tip-top shape throughout the winter months. For more information on Pura4D or to get an in-depth cleaning audit contact us today.

Beat the Winter Blues: How to Fight SAD