How to Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder in the WorkplaceSave your employees from getting SAD this winter

Seasonal affective disorder, known appropriately as SAD, is a significant problem in the UK.

It is defined as a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, typically worse during the winter.

Why is this? The causes aren’t fully understood, but less sunlight is considered to be a possible factor.

The weather in general, as well as reduced social interaction and many other factors are also possibilities.

Estimates for how many people suffer from SAD range from 3% for severe symptoms to ten times that value.

It’s therefore likely that some of your employees will suffer from SAD to a degree. It can cause feelings of depression, a lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. None of these are things you want for happy and productive employees!

So what can you, as a business owner or manager, do to combat seasonal affective disorder over the coming winter months? Read on to find out.

Raise awareness

The first part of the battle is simply making people aware of seasonal affective disorder. Though it’s certainly been in the public eye more over the last few years, there are still people who don’t know about SAD.

As such, making employees aware that this might be something that they or their colleagues could struggle with is a positive first step. This will build empathy and understanding in your workforce and allow people to head off symptoms before they get serious.

Promote good health

Being in good health is a great way to combat seasonal affective disorder. Ensuring that your employees get natural sunlight, exercise regularly, and manage their stress levels make it more likely that they’ll be able to cope with the dreary days of winter.

Even if it’s just popping outside for a few minutes on their lunch break whenever it’s a sunny day, getting that little hit of sunlight could do wonders for them.

Promoting a good diet in your workplace will also help to make your employees more resilient to SAD and its effects.

Build a jungle

Looking for a quick and easy way to lift the mood in your office? Indoor plants can lower stress and increase positive emotions. They help connect us to nature and may even reduce our flight or fight response.

Combating the stress of screen work, difficult customers, or frantic holiday shopping makes indoor plants a worthwhile investment.

Add warmth and light

Keeping your employees warm (not too warm!) and comfortable is going to make them happier than if they’re sat shivering at their desks.

And while we’ve already mentioned sunlight, it’s often hard to come by in winter. Artificial light isn’t as good for us, but it can still help lift our mood. There are even artificial light boxes that are used as treatment for seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression.

Add positive steps to your business’s daily routine

Routines often make our lives easier by reducing the stress of having to make multiple trivial decisions. Many people find that wearing the same outfit to work every day makes them happier because it does away with the stress of choosing what clothes to wear.

You can add positive steps to the routines you do as a team at work as well. Consider starting everyone’s day with a motivational exercise or some breathing to reduce stress levels.

You could even rotate through whose responsibility the daily activity will be, and schedule this as a regular shift using a digital platform like Findmyshift. The simple spreadsheet shift editor makes it quick and easy to make these changes.

Set clear and achievable daily goals to keep focus and manage the mental burden on your employees. And celebrate wins, be they big or small, to show that you value your employees and their contributions.

Look after yourself

Finally, make sure you’re taking care of your own health too. Managers and owners aren’t magically immune to SAD! In order to best support your team, you need to be feeling well.

Start practicing healthy habits now and they’ll be well entrenched by the time the depths of winter roll around. Good luck combating seasonal affective disorder in your workplace this winter!

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