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Winter Working Woes: How To Put the Spring Back in Your Step When the Clocks Go Back

So there's a lot to love about this time of year; crispy autumn sunshine, beautiful colours on the trees, hot chocolate...

That said, the clocks are set to go back an hour this weekend, and along with the loss of an hour's sleep, a lot of people find the shorter days, earlier evenings and often gloomy weather takes a toll on their energy and productivity.

The SAS team has compiled our favourite ways to take the sting out of winter - and keep your mind ticking over brightly no matter how dark those mornings feel!

1. Make the most of the daylight

It's easy to moan about the dark and cold, but SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is no joke, affecting around 3% of people according to BUPA.

One of the best ways to help keep your mindset upbeat is to make the most of the daylight hours when they're about, and it's even more critical if you feel depressed, anxious or fatigued in the winter.

  • Take a walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air.
  • Try starting an exercise routine, a cycle ride or gentle jog at the weekend work wonders.
  • Sit near a window, or use a daylight lamp if you work in an enclosed space.

2. Embrace the season

Halloween isn't everyone's cup of tea, and we know weary parents the world over (particularly those stuck in lockdown) will cringe at any mention of Christmas in October!

However, there is a lot to be said for making the most of the excitement on offer. Even if it's a small celebration in your garden, planning something special means you've got something to look forward to, and build in quality time with your loved ones.

  • Find a local fireworks display or, if there aren't any running this year, why not invest in some sparklers, toast marshmallows and have a mini bonfire party at home?
  • Book in a spooky movie night, complete with blankets, hot water bottles and popcorn (pumpkin spice latte optional!).
  • If you've got little ones, pick up a face painting kit and have fun with Halloween styles - even the least talented of us can paint a child orange, and they will have a ball!

The key is to look for the positives in a season that can be challenging, and by searching for the happy aspects; you lift your mood and avoid concentrating on the things that make it more difficult.

3. Dress for the occasion (yep, even at work!)

Little makes winter feel so miserable as being always cold, wet, damp and uncomfortable, and now is a great time to pick up some warm, thermal clothing (you'll thank me in a month!).

  • Pack a spare scarf, snuggly jumper or spare socks to have on hand at work. If you get splashed on your commute or the heating goes on the blink, it's always ideal to have warm spares in your desk as backup.
  • Make sure it's waterproof - coats, boots, mascara - whatever you like to wear, we all know those lashings of icy cold rain are coming!
  • Get some decent warm footwear. If you walk, cycle or run to work, you're probably well versed in wearing appropriate clothes to make the journey enjoyable and warm. Even if you drive or commute, make sure you swap the polished formal shoes or heels for a snug pair of weatherproof boots, and you can be assured of warm cosy toes all day.
  • Portable hand warmers, hot water bottles and fingerless gloves are also great ideas, and if you work from home make sure to kick up the heating a notch before the mercury dips so you can keep your focus.

4. Pack something warm for lunch

When all you can see is heavy grey clouds, even if it's toasty warm indoors, having a hot lunch makes a big difference when it comes to our mood.

There are a million things you could try, and investing in a decent thermos, coffee mug or lunch pack is well worth it for a lunch that leaves you feeling fuelled.

Soup is always a winner, but you could go for a chilli, jacket potato, pasta - anything you enjoy, that makes sure you spend your winter working days in the right frame of mind.

5. Mood matters

Never be afraid of some gentle background music. Nothing too loud or karaoke-esque that it makes it hard to concentrate (or awkward to pick up the phone!), but background noise can help us relax on a subconscious level.

You can even download apps that create background noise for home workers. If you feel the silence creeping in or work alone, try a fireplace background track for instant warmth, or coffee shop if you work best in communal areas!

Whether you're working at home, remotely, or in a busy office, taking a little time to think about your workday, how you function, and when you feel most energetic and productive can go a long way to making the winter months just as successful as any time of year.

We hope these ideas are helpful - and don't forget, daylight saving ends at 02:00 on Sunday 25th October 2020!

If you're interested in other news, advice, and updates about COVID-19 financial support schemes and, of course, monthly reminders of upcoming filing deadlines and important dates, sign up to the SAS Newsletter HERE (scroll to the bottom!).