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The winter blues are usually mentioned at this time of year when the mornings are dark and the days are short. Most of us are able to carry on and look forward to spring but for some New Zealanders the cold, wet weather and lack of sunshine can make daily stresses harder to deal with.
In the last issue we discussed how to be healthy at work by switching off, eating healthily and looking out for each other. In this issue we introduce five simple actions which can improve your winter wellbeing, both at home and at work.
Finding the time to connect with your whanau, friends and colleagues is important at any time of the year. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Organise a team lunch at work - turning this into a potluck or BYO plate means you don’t even have to leave the office!
Sign up to an art class at your local community centre - creating new connections is just as important as developing existing ones.
Bring out the board games - turn off the WIFI and TV and enjoy a game of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit
2. Be active
Being physically active improves your physical health and wellbeing. It’s also been proven to decrease stress, depression and anxiety by releasing chemicals to the brain which are necessary for feelings of happiness.
Go for a walk before the sun goes down – get together in the weekend with your family or on your lunch break with a group of colleagues.
Walk to colleagues’ desks instead of phoning or emailing – this helps to build connections and gets you active. And try taking the stairs instead of the lift!
Get creative at the gym – evidence suggests that repeating activities can reduce their impact2. So try that new dance class at the gym or ask a staff member to show you how to use a different machine.
3. Keep learning
Trying new experiences should be fun, but they should also test you. So set a challenge that you’ll not only enjoy but feel proud when you achieve it.
Write down your bucket list – if you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. Give something new a go!
Re-create your favourite meal from a local restaurant – Google, mixed with a bit of trial and error, is your best friend here. Or why not dig out that cookbook you haven’t used for a while?
Sign up for a course at work or put your name down for a different responsibility – developing new skills will help build your confidence at work
Listen to a podcast - Podcasts are really popular and great for passing the time on your commute to work. For improved wellbeing in the workplace try the original Spotify podcast, ‘Killing It – Adventures In Start-Ups And Mental Health’. While this focuses on wellbeing and mental health in tech start-ups, there are some great insights you can use at home and at work.
4. Give back
Doing something nice for a friend or helping a stranger is incredibly rewarding. How you choose to give back to your community is up to you - we all have something to offer.
Smile at a stranger – make someone’s day brighter with this small act of kindness.
While stuck in traffic, stop and let a car in – mornings are already harder in winter and letting someone in will be a great start to their day.
Donate toys, books, clothes etc to a local charity – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” or so the saying goes.
5. Take notice
With our busy lifestyles, pausing to taking notice of our surroundings can seem like a luxury. But whether you’re walking from the bus stop or eating lunch with friends, remember to notice the beautiful and appreciate the unusual. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters.
Before taking a photo for Instagram, take a bite of the food in front of you – pay attention to the flavours and texture, this will help you re-create it at home
At the end of the day, ask your family or friends what was the best thing about their day – you’ll get a different response every day.