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Creating Successful Leaders

In many parts of the northern hemisphere, winter is right around the corner. While some people enjoy the cold weather and relish the thought of hot cocoa and sweaters, others dread the winter months and see this period as a time of isolation and darkness. Whether you love or loathe winter (or fall somewhere in the middle), it’s probable you occasionally struggle with maintaining a high energy level during a time when days are shorter and we’re more prone to staying indoors for long stretches of time.

How to deal with the inevitable lack of energy? Here are 4 ideas:

1. Find a winter buddy

Maintaining human connections can be enormously helpful when you’re trudging through the winter months. Find a friend (or multiple!) who also has trouble staying energized during winter and plan small outings together. Visit a conservatory (a warm reprieve during chilly weather!), grab a cup of coffee, see a movie, or walk laps at a local mall. These small moments of personal contact can make a big difference.

You might also consider joining a local club or social group (painting, knitting, storytelling, books, volunteering, etc.). Find these groups through Meetup.com or by simply asking about them on social media (Facebook or Nextdoor are great places to start).

2. Reward yourself

If you find yourself with little energy and a full workload, try breaking up your work into small pieces and bribing yourself with a series of mini rewards. For instance, if you have five items you need to accomplish on a given day, reward yourself after each item. Rewards might include reading for 10-15 minutes, working on a crossword puzzle, eating a piece of chocolate or other treat, or playing an online game or browsing social media for 15 minutes. To keep yourself on track, set timers for both your work (to motivate you) and your breaks (to make sure your break isn’t too long). 

3. Exercise regularly

Though it may sound counterintuitive, exercise is one of the best ways to combat low energy. Moving your body not only gets the blood flowing, but also releases mood-boosting endorphins. If the idea of going for a winter walk or hitting the gym feels daunting, start by simply putting on your workout clothing and shoes. This act, alone, can get you in the right mindset and carry you into your workout. Additionally, it’s a good idea to find something you enjoy doing, whether that’s swimming, lifting weights, walking, or doing group yoga or pilates sessions.

4. Take Vitamin D and use SAD lamps

A lack of sunshine can have a very real psychological effect. According to Healthline, “Decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in your serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression with seasonal pattern.” To help overcome the lack of sunlight, try regularly taking Vitamin D (which is associated with exposure to sunlight) or purchase a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamp. A SAD lamp produces the kind of light that mimics sunshine and can help elevate your mood.

There are many different ways to ease winter woes and improve your energy. Make a plan, try different approaches, and see what works for you. If all else fails, seek help from a certified professional to help you through the cold, dark months.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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