“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” so the song goes. Ugh! Anyone in the deep freeze of the season can relate to the idea of “settling down for a long winters nap” when the weather is gray and gloomy. But, what if you aren’t able to hibernate like a bear? After all, you have a business to run!
It’s no secret that the gray of winter leaves an indelible mark on mood and performance. Growing a business, which has its day-to-day challenges, is compounded by fatigue, depression, and listlessness when office fever sets in.
With 63 million people working from home, safeguarding your sanity to ensure ongoing business growth is priority number one.
Minus a long-term sabbatical, here are 10 actions to protect you from office fever:
1. Get dressed. It’s easy to stay in your fuzzy bunny slippers and “jams” when the temperature gauge registers zero. But, donning your office best prepares you to meet the day with a sense of duty, professionalism, and discipline.
2. Engage a business coach. You can’t grow a business in a vacuum—especially when it’s frozen! A business coach keeps you focused and on fire regardless of the weather report.
3. Get moving. Thanks to technology, a 7-minute workout is only a click away. Exercise not only improves your mood and memory, it actually makes you smarter. Psychiatrist, John Ratey, author of Spark: The New Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain, says, “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”
4. Stay connected with colleagues and clients. It’s natural to want to hunker down when cold winds swirl around corners and sneak through the cracks in your office. However, when 55 percent of communication is through nonverbal cues such as body language and eye contact, why not leverage Skype, FaceTime, blab, or Google hangout to not only speak with—but also see—your colleagues.
Plus, you’ll want to shower, get dressed, and maybe even brush your teeth to make a good impression earning double bonus points when it comes to warding off office fever.
5. Let in the light. When your mood is as gray as the sky, it’s natural to want to leave the shades pulled and the drapes drawn. Needless to say, that’s only going to advance your office fever.
According to research conducted by the University of Leige, “light conveys a powerful stimulating signal for human alertness and cognition and has been routinely employed to improve performance.”
Throw back the shades and let in as much light as possible.
6. Spend 10 minutes outside. Former client and research scientist, Dr. Lisa Berntsen’s recent study, Take Ten Outside, offers an excellent solution to sustainable performance. Simply stated, those who take short 10-minute breaks outside “reap the benefits in well-being, productivity, creativity, and reduced stress.”
7. Play your favorite music. Television (or radio) with its 24-hour news cycle isn’t the best form of “companionship” to keep you from crawling the walls. Try Pandora or Spotify for electrifying your mood. In fact, feel free to check out my favorite playlist to keep you out of the funk of office fever—Wake Up Happy by Spotify.
8. Visit a museum, planetarium, or conservatory. This is what my Canadian client does when the dead of winter creeps in. What a brilliant idea! Not only will you uncover incredible beauty, and stellar views, you can’t beat the warm, uplifting experience—and comfy chairs.
9. Take frequent breaks. Pierre Khawand wrote about the significance of breaks in his book, The Results Curve(TM): How to Manage Focused and Collaborative Time. After a decade of research, he discovered that the best results are achieved after 40 minutes of focused work followed by 20 minutes of collaboration. Combine with Dr. Berntsen’s “Take 10” and you have a power hour+ that dispels any inkling of office fever.
10. Pamper yourself with healthy food. Nothing makes me reach for my favorite bag of potato chips than when cooped up by circumstances beyond my control. Poor food choices only amplify office fever. Instead, select foods that elevate your energy—and your spirits. In fact, when I’m feeling chilled to the bone and want to curl up in my warm blanket, I reach for a warm glass of water with cayenne pepper. It warms my soul, hydrates my spirit, and protects me against side effects of office fever.
Regardless of the season, stay in top mental, emotional, and physical condition to keep yourself—and your business—alert, aware, snappy, and on the grow.