How to Arrange Your Office to Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s the time of year when the sun goes down earlier and spends a lot more time rising above the horizon. The temperatures turn colder, people pull their sweaters out of their closets, and many start spending a lot more time inside than outside. This happens for thousands when fall and winter comes, but something else comes with it. That something is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
What is it? According to Google, Seasonal Affective Disorder is: “A mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. Seasonal affective disorder occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. Symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal.”
If you’re wondering how that can affect your work, consider the following:
· Low work output. When you’re tired, the output drops, as it also does when experiencing depression.
· Making more mistakes. When you’re tired and your mind is not in the game, mistakes get made and then missed.
· Lack of creativity. Fatigue is mental as well as physical, and you become less creative when exhausted or depressed.
· Lack of motivation. When you’re tired, depressed, and thinking about heading off somewhere sunny, you are not as motivated to work. It’s hard to produce when your mind is not in the game.
The good news is you can do some things in your office, whether at home or downtown, to help ease SAD symptoms. Also, we believe investing in the right office chair can help, so if you’d like to see why our chairs are different, contact us today.
What does Seasonal Affective Disorder do to a person?
Although we are not medical experts—and if you have a serious problem with depression or depressive thoughts, you should seek professional assistance—let’s look at some of the documented and confirmed symptoms and affects SAD has on people.
· Effects on mood. You know what you’re like when you don’t get enough sleep or are feeling tired all the time, right? You get irritable very easily. All of your emotions are right near the surface and can explode for even the smallest of reasons. When a person suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, they might be angry and irritable, hard to work with, and prone to making decisions out of anger instead of thinking them through.
SAD also brings with it all of the emotional baggage of depression. This means, even if you aren’t angry, but are sad or depressed, you lack a positive attitude, and it’s hard to work, focus, or be an effective co-worker or leader.
· Disrupted sleep patterns. It’s been mentioned a couple of times already, but when you suffer from SAD, the fact that the sun goes down as early as four in the afternoon in some places (or earlier the farther north you go) can really disrupt sleep patterns. It can lead to insomnia, as your body tries to adjust the extensive darkness. Conversely, if Seasonal Affective Disorder triggers a depressive episode, it can increase sleep. Sometimes those who suffer from depression just want to sleep all the time. Either way, your sleep is disrupted, leading to lack of rest, which can lead to confusion, frustration, and other problems.
· Aches and pains. It’s well known that mental health affects the physical health of the sufferer. Plus, the colder winter months can affect joints and other physical parts of a person’s body. This can include:
o Migraines. If you suffer with them, you may find yourself having more of them during the fall and winter months. Stress, strain, lack of sleep, and other factors can help trigger them.
o Joint pain. Depression and other serious mental health issues, triggered by SAD, can cause pain in your joints. This can affect those who already suffer from arthritis during the colder months, making them less mobile, causing further mental issues.
o Back pain. If you have a bad back, you may reach for the ibuprofen more often when affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
o Body aches.Your entire body may ache, much like when you have a cold or flu. These pains are real, not imagined, and can put someone in bed instead of allowing them to be out and about.
· Work output problems. We’ve touched on this a few times already. When you are feeling down, unfocused, tired, achy, and sad, your work output can be affected. You may not be able to produce as much, lack creativity needed for important projects, or perhaps turn out work at a much lower quality standard than normal.
How do you deal with SAD at work?
Now that you know what the symptoms are and how it can affect your work, how do you prevent it from happening? Well, that may not be possible, but you can make it easier on yourself during the fall and winter months by trying a few things around your office, whether at home or not. A lot of the problems come from the fact that it’s so dark so early and for so much of the day. This can be ameliorated by trying a few things.
· Arrange your office to be more winter-friendly. What does that mean? It means it might be time to move your desk closer to a window. If you’ve been a “center-of-the-room” type, during the shorter days that come with fall and winter, it might be time to move closer to a window or light source.
· Add more natural light. It’s time to open the blinds. If you are unable to move your desk, opening the blinds and letting the light in can do wonders. Absorb the sunlight while you can and for as long as you can.
· Take exercise breaks. Getting up and moving is important, especially when there’s a lack of sunlight. Getting the endorphins going can really help elevate your mood. During the course of the day, start moving around, and start exercising:
o Yoga. Yoga is an exercise meant to keep you flexible and toned, which can help ease those aches and pains. It also improves mood and provides an overall feeling of well-being.
o Stretching. If you aren’t quite ready to start a yoga routine, just stand up and stretch. Again, this can keep you flexible, help your joints, keep your back from aching, and improve your mood.
o Walking. If the weather permits, you can get up and take a walk. It clears your head. Some fresh air will do your mind good, and it’s great exercise. It gets the blood and endorphins flowing.
o Running in place. If all else fails, just get up and run in place. You can do that right at your desk a few times a day to get the blood pumping.
· Use ergonomic principles. Ergonomics means you arrange your office so that it requires minimal strain on your body. This includes using equipment like keyboards or a computer mouse that eases up on the joints. Keep pens and other office supplies you might need close to you. Finally, the right office furniture, like a superb, adjustable office chair, can ease up back pain, help keep you alert and make you much more comfortable.
· Bring the outside inside. There is a concept known as “biophilia” which says humans have a connection to nature that is inherent within them. Therefore, humans do better when they can see, access, or be near nature. This is why being closer to a window or having access to a window can help. If you can, have plants inside the office, and if you don’t have a green thumb, then fake plants will help. If you absolutely cannot do plants at all, carpeting and photography showcasing nature can also have the desired effect.
How the right office chair is a key part of battling Seasonal Affective Disorder
Of course, here at DLX, we believe the right office chair can make all the difference. An office chair with several ways to adjust the back, neck, and arm rests can make a person more comfortable. The chair can also create the right posture, which improves blood flow. Here are some of the benefits an effective office chair can provide, which can combat the effects of SAD:
· Better posture. Adjustable back and neck can keep you sitting up straight, which can ease headaches, shoulder pains, arm pains, and back pains.
· Helps ease lower back pain. If the right office chair has a lumbar support option, this can ease pressure on the lower back, which also helps your overall physical health.
· Increased productivity, improved creativity and efficiency. When you have a comfortable chair that puts you in the right posture, it helps improve all the areas affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
· Increased comfort improves mood and more. Basically, the concept is, the more comfortable you are, the longer and better you are likely to work.
Contact DLX for a chair that will help combat SAD
It’s time to make an investment in your comfort so you can work better. It’s also time to add the things to your office which can help you remain comfortable even during the fall and winter months. Remember, there are people who can experience SAD anytime of the year, so having the right chair is important all the time.
DLX has a series of chairs that are customized for your needs. It can be adjusted for maximum comfort to keep you working tirelessly without wearing yourself out. Check out all of our chair models and book time with one of our reps to start the process of getting a chair for your office.