by Sue Parks-

‘Tis the season to be merry, but for many, the winter months are the hardest. If you or your employees are depressed, it can impact productivity, challenge team dynamics and worse.

Depression is a serious health issue. For ongoing depression, ask your friends and/or physician to recommend a therapist. Do it now!

But if you’re just in a short spell of feeling blue, here are some ideas that may help:

  • Get into a routine. Work can be therapeutic!
  • Set goals—have something to look forward to. Celebrate achieving them.
  • Exercise regularly as it boosts endorphins.
  • Eat healthy. Although not definitive, there’s evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) can help ease depression.
  • Get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap.
  • Stay involved and do not isolate yourself. (Go to your NAWBO events!)
  • Challenge negative thoughts. One idea is to keep a gratitude journal. At the end of the day, write what was good in your day. Review it the next morning, so you start the day positive.
  • Do something new. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Read a book on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Go to a language class. New behaviors change brain chemistry!
  • Try to have some fun. Plan things you used to enjoy and push yourself to engage.

Some people try supplements. Before you go that route, be sure you consult your physician to assure that they do not negatively interact with other medications you are taking.

Other natural solutions that may help include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Guided imagery
  • Music therapy
  • Aromatherapy

Again, if your depression is deep and lasting, please seek medical help. Ongoing therapy and drug treatment may be needed.

In addition, be conscious of your team members.   You want them at their best and happy, too. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:

  • In men: complaints about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, memory loss, lack of focus, loss of interest in work and hobbies, anger, aggression, violence, reckless behavior, and substance abuse.
  • In women: pronounced feelings of guilt, excessive sleep, excessive eating, weight gain, lack of focus, memory loss, and substance abuse.

Remember, if you or your team members are blue, there is a lot that can be done. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015 for all of you!

*I’d like to thank Dr. Valerie Wright of UCI for her input.

Sue Parks
Sue Parks is the Founder and CEO of WalkStyles, a corporate wellness provider that helps companies reduce healthcare related costs, improves productivity, and increases job satisfaction.