Don’t let Old Man Winter micromanage your mood! Keep your spirits bright with these telecommuting tips for mitigating the effects of the winter blues.
18 Winter Blues Busters for Professionals Working Remotely
When the temperature drops and the streets are all slushy, it’s wonderful to work remotely at home. However, it’s normal for telecommuting professionals to feel cooped up and lose motivation during the winter season. Instead of succumbing to the winter blues, use these 18 tips to help build momentum and keep your days productive.
Disclaimer: Our 18 tips for busting the winter blues are not substitutions for medical advice provided by a trained mental health professional. Please consult your primary care doctor and/or a mental health provider if your seasonal symptoms persist, worsen, or you believe they could be indicative of other conditions.
1. Play Outside
On chilly days, the last thing you may want to do is go outside. Despite the cold, try to get some fresh air every day. Channel your inner child occasionally and make ice forts in the backyard and collect snowflakes on your tongue. You don’t need any fancy gear for simple outdoor adventuring. Just layer up with extra socks and shirts, go for a walk around the neighborhood, and enjoy the peaceful quiet and crunching snow.
2. Drop Into a Coworking Center
Working at home is great for days you don’t feel like changing out of your pajamas. However, to prevent feeling shack wacky during the winter season, consider dropping into a coworking center for a few days per month.
Most coworking spaces offer day passes or 10-day flexible plans that give you access to open work areas, coffee and tea, and business amenities like printing and copying.
Plus, they’re excellent spots for remote workers to network and spark lasting connections with professionals in a range of industries. Even if you don’t talk to anyone while you’re there, sometimes changing your work environment can invigorate you and help you regain focus.
3. Hit the Gym
Your health is paramount, so take good care of your body and mind by getting regular exercise. If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, join a local gym or set up a workout area in your home. You don’t need to set dramatic goals or do high-intensity workouts all the time. Instead, you can perform daily, light exercise to keep your blood flowing and muscles flexible.
4. Turn Up the Music
As they say, music can heal the soul. So, throw on some tunes that pump you up and make you feel invincible. If you’re tired of all the holiday hustle and winter commotion, opt for soothing tracks to serenade you through the workday. As a tip, consider your typical workload and create a playlist to help keep pace. Let the music pick you up and keep you on target all season long.
5. Decorate Your Home Office
Who says you can’t wear hula skirts and board shorts in the middle of winter? When you work at home, you can turn your winter wonderland into a tropical escape without judgment or corporate sanction.
Brighten your home office with paint, art, and spunky office supplies. If you prefer more neutral and subdued tones, consider a monotone look that makes you feel sharp and sleek. Have fun discovering your personal style and craft your ideal workspace so that you’re inspired to do your very best work every day.
6. Set Clear Goals
It’s normal to feel exhausted at the end of the calendar year and without much energy for thinking about the future. However, you can turbocharge your career by setting new, obtainable goals. Both short-term and long-term goals give you something to work toward and help sustain your enthusiasm. They also provide a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and pride when you’ve achieved them.
Whether you work as much as you want or have quotas each week, set clear goals and create simple strategies to achieve your objectives. Don’t forget to reward yourself for each accomplishment to stay motivated and strive higher!
7. Plan a Vacation
Even if you spent your squirrel fund on last-minute holiday gifts, put a trip on the calendar for some dedicated R&R. Vacation doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. It can be a simple camping trip, a visit to an old friend’s house, or even a staycation where you explore your own city. Though telecommuting gives you the freedom to plan your days how you want, it’s helpful to know there’s a rich reward to be enjoyed after all your hard work.
8. Pick Up a New Hobby
Hobbies are wonderful ways to express yourself creatively and sharpen your mind with new skills. They create fun challenges and give you an outlet when work bogs you down or when you feel stressed.
Though hobbies can help you switch gears and escape from your daily tasks, you can always choose activities that are job-related and potentially boost your career. For example, if you’re a transcriptionist, you might learn a second language. Once you’re fluent, you can expand your business to offer translation and interpretation services to your clients or employer.
9. Redo Your Indoors
Liven up your living spaces so that they conjure energy and happiness all year round. Since repairs and improvement projects can incur hefty costs and time constraints, make a list of all the things you’d love to do, estimate cost and time budgets, then prioritize each task or room accordingly.
As a bonus, planning and implementing home renovations helps you practice project management skills, which employers desperately need. The Project Management Institute (PMI) anticipates that employers around the world will need 87.7 million project management-related workers by 2027 to avoid suffering a $207.9 billion loss. So, leverage your home projects to practice planning, budgeting, prioritizing, and evaluating so that you can transfer your skills to your career.
It’s just as important to rest your mind as it is to stimulate it. So, set aside only five minutes at three different times throughout the day to quiet your thoughts and give your brain a break. Put the day’s chaos down for a nap while you sit still, relax all your muscles, and focus on deep breathing.
There’s no need to change into yoga clothes or buy a meditation gong. Just find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, release the tension, and take slow, deep breaths. To avoid worrying about the time or whether you might fall asleep, set an alarm on your phone or computer so that you can focus on relaxing.
11. Get a Side Hustle
In a recent survey, Bankrate.com found that 44 million American workers have a side hustle these days. If you’re interested in earning some extra bucks, learning a new skill, or deducting more expenses on your federal tax returns, you might want to invest your spare time in the gig economy. Here are some flexible, part-time, remote job categories that Virtual Vocations members favor:
Check out more part-time and temporary telecommute job ideas by using the “Weekly Hours” and “Employment Status” search filters in the Virtual Vocations database.
12. Meet Up with Friends
Brace the cold and have fun with people that make you feel alive and youthful. See a musical, take an improv class, or attend a beverage tasting. If you love to host, throw a potluck-game-night-slumber party for adults and kids so that everyone gets to play together in the warmth of a home.
You might have the work-at-home winter blues, but there are people out there who are suffering much more. Take your skills to the streets this season and help individuals and families in your community. For example, if you have an education-related occupation, consider assisting with literacy classes at your local library.
You don’t need to join an organization or participate in a community event to be helpful. Volunteering your time can be as simple as paying a visit to an elderly neighbor and running errands for an injured friend.
Small acts of kindness keep our hearts happy and remind us of what’s important.
14. Tackle Your To-Read Pile
You know that stack of books by your bedside that keeps piling up? Well, winter’s the perfect time to snuggle under the covers and plow through best-sellers. You might even sneak in a few career-related books that can help you expand your professional network, get a promotion, or turn a side gig into a full-blown business. Choose titles that motivate you, help you grow, and give you the warm-fuzzies.
15. Write Your Story
What’s even more exciting than reading a book? Writing one! Consider getting in touch with your creative side or documenting your occupation on paper. For example, you could write a guide for professionals and jobseekers in your industry or a fictitious story about someone in your field. No matter your career level or knowledge, you have a unique take on life and others may find your experiences encouraging and helpful.
16. Catch Up on Re-runs
Do you like watching movies and TV shows? Set aside time for some guiltless binge-watching of your favorites (just go easy on the showtime treats). You can even combine movie night with that group slumber party or visit at your elderly neighbor’s house. Consider making it a weekly thing, where each person picks a flick that they’ve never seen to explore new genres and eras of filmmaking.
17. File Your Taxes Early
Though employers have until January 31 to send your W-2s and 1099s, you can get a head start on your taxes by entering your expenses and estimated income and withholdings. Also, be sure to research the latest tax regulations to see if you qualify for any credits or deductions. Better yet, hire a CPA or professional tax preparer to help you organize a system that makes tracking your money and filing taxes much easier in the future.
18. Take an Online Class
Winter is an excellent season to study without distraction. Consider taking an online class or completing a professional certification. According to the Linux Foundation and Dice 2018 Open Source Jobs Report, 80% of surveyed professionals state that certifications help them demonstrate technical knowledge and specific skills to potential employers. Certifications can also boost income without having to enroll in expensive, long-term degree programs.
Warm Up Your Work Life with a Telecommute Career
Telecommuters sincerely appreciate the benefits of working from home during the winter season. If you’re not a remote worker yet, browse through the Virtual Vocations telecommute job database for inspiration and ideas. You’ll find hundreds of positions related to your industry and occupation. If you really want to light a fire in your life and career, sign up as a member and receive complete access to everything Virtual Vocations has to offer.
Photo Credit: 1. iStock.com/svetikd; 2. iStock.com/YinYang
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