As daylight hours decrease, many people experience sadness and fatigue. At work it may be difficult to concentrate, you may feel irritable, and your to-do list might feel more daunting than usual. Winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder, affects up to 20 percent of us and there’s more to it than just feeling unmotivated. The winter blues can lower your resistance and leave you vulnerable to colds and flu.
So how can you stay healthy and energized at work when all you want to do is hibernate til spring? Here are some easy ways to beat the blues.
Move it. Just ten minutes of activity can do the trick. Take a stroll around the parking lot; walk up a few flights of stairs, even gently stretching your arms, neck and legs can revitalize your body.
Play outside. Physical activity releases endorphins that can boost mood and health. Since most of us spend the majority of your lives indoors inhaling stale air, it’s a good idea to take every opportunity to get outside despite the cold weather. It’s even better if the sun’s shining and you can soak up some mood-boosting Vitamin D.
Breathe. Sit in a chair and slowly count to four while inhaling through your nose. Visualize peace, energy and light filling your body. Hold it for a second then slowly count to four exhaling through your mouth while imagining tension and tiredness floating away. Repeat three to five times during the day.
Help out. Helping others less fortunate keeps your own life in perspective. Organize a group of co-workers to volunteer at a homeless shelter, for Meals on Wheels, or Habitat for Humanity. You’ll break up the monotony and see your co-workers in a new light while helping out your community.
Have some fun. What’s more fun than food? Plan a regular department potluck to liven things up. Consider adding a theme ? say Hawaiian ? and ask for tropical food and dress. Doing something different even for a few hours can boost your spirits and immune system.
Eat smart. Since most of us get sleepy in the afternoon, eat a healthy lunch that includes protein, non-starchy vegetables and fat for long-lasting energy. Good examples of balanced combinations include cooked chicken breast and carrot sticks, canned tuna and a lettuce salad, or fish with vegetables. Same principle applies for mid-afternoon snacks. Don’t expect to stay energized if you’re not eating right.
Set some goals. If you’re feeling like every day is the same, shake things up by setting goals for yourself. Tackle your list of must-read books, finish a long-neglected project, brush up on your skills, attend a seminar or take a class outside your comfort zone.
Go fruity. Bananas, apples and grapes can give a much-needed lift because they contain natural sugars, vitamins and fiber. Bananas are one of the few fruits containing both simple carbohydrates, for instant energy, and complex carbohydrates, for endurance. Need something to keep at your desk? Try dates. They also include both simple and complex carbs and are loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins.
Keep it clean. A recent report states that the average desk has 400 times more germs on it than a toilet seat! And under the right condition, these germs can double every 15 minutes on shared equipment like copy machines, light switches, and coffee pots. Think about all the items you touch on your desk alone – keyboard, mouse, phone, pens. They carry a surprising amount of bacteria. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, use hand sanitizer after touching shared equipment, and regularly wipe down your office area with antibacterial wipes. You also might consider upgrading your mousepad, keyboard, and other items to the new antimicrobial products that inhibit the spread of germs.
Don’t let Mother Nature wreak havoc on your mental and physical well being. Check with your local Office Supply Dealer for even more ways to keep you happy, healthy and energized all winter long.
|This was a huge week for solar energy in LA. After over two years of research and outreach on the part of the Los Angeles Business Council and our partners, the Los Angeles City Council cleared the way for the launch of an innovative rooftop solar-energy program Tuesday morning, unanimously approving a measure to allow the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to move forward with the groundbreaking CLEAN LA Solar program!|
LA City Council votes unanimously to pass the CLEAN LA Solar Program after DWP General Manager Ron Nichols (center right) answers questions from Councilmembers.
|The CLEAN LA Solar program will allow local property owners to sell solar power generated from rooftops and parking lots back to the DWP, using a mechanism called a feed-in tariff, or FiT. Los Angeles will be the largest city in the nation to adopt such a program, which will supply renewable energy at a reasonable cost while spurring private investment, creating high-quality jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping the state and city meet renewable power requirements.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa helped set the CLEAN LA Solar plan in motion in 2008, when he ambitiously called for a 150-megawatt FiT program to be created in Los Angeles. The LABC has been the leading advocate for the CLEAN LA Solar plan since then. Research conducted by the LABC and the LABC Institute has demonstrated that enacting the 150 MW CLEAN LA Solar program will create 4,500 jobs and $500 million in economic activity by 2016. Recognizing this tremendous potential, a broad coalition of businesses, environmental groups, labor organizations and other groups have joined the LABC to support the plan.
The ordinance approved this week authorizes Ron Nichols, DWP’s General Manager, to move forward with a solar FiT of up to 150 megawatts without returning to the City Council to approve various contracts or agreements. The measure also provides a streamlined FiT application process and lowers the program’s administrative costs.
DWP will immediately move forward on a 10-megawatt demonstration project. The first 75 megawatts of the program are expected to come on line this year as well, with an additional 75 megawatts expected by 2016 (to take advantage of the federal tax credits set expire). A full 150-megawatt FiT program would power the equivalent of 34,000 LA homes.
We’re looking forward to co-hosting workshops with DWP on the solar program on the week of April 16. Please contact Michelle Garakian at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating.
LABC also has advocated to double the LADWP’s Energy Efficiency (EE) and we have hosted workshops in partnership with the DWP providing information on what a successful energy efficiency program would look like. We are happy to report that the proposed EE budget has been increased from $50 to $88 million per year!
Most importantly, we would like to thank all of our partners who have helped make the CLEAN LA Solar program a reality today!
This happened because a group of participants who often have disparate interests, unified in an unusual coalition and determined that the CLEAN LA Solar program was important for this city. Without the leadership of our Mayor, City Council, DWP GM Ron Nichols and his staff, researchers at UCLA and USC, the business community and our coalition, this program wouldn’t exist. Of course, to make sure this program is implemented correctly and to the level we desire, it will take continued diligence.
Mary Leslie, LABC President
Jacob Lipa, LABC Chairman
Brad Cox, LABC Institute Chairman