How To Beat The Winter Blues In Retail

How To Beat The Winter Blues In Retail

As I sit here watching the beautiful snow fall that I have wished for all winter, it’s hard to believe that people don’t love snow or winter. Perhaps it’s because after spending the last two winters the Southwest where only the Summer season existed. It made me appreciate the beauty of all four seasons and appreciate them for their uniqueness.

If you didn’t know, there is actually a type of psychological affliction called Seasonal Affective Disorder is a rare phenomenon that has been exaggerated. Out of 800 people who were surveyed in the initial SAD study 92% of participants reported seasonal changes in mood and behaviour and 27% said these were a problem. According to WebMD, “In Fairbanks, Alaska, in the dead of winter, less than four hours separate sunrise and sunset. With so little sunlight, it seems like no one could escape winter depression; but in fact, many Alaskans fare just fine. One study found that only about 9% of Fairbanks residents had seasonal affective disorder. That’s about the same percentage another study found in New Hampshire.”

However, especially at work, the pace seems to slow, our productivity seems to slip. We aren’t feeling as motivated. But, understanding that we are creating and perpetuating our own little winter doldrums is actually great news. It means we can take steps to snap ourselves out of it.

Here are some suggestions how to do that:

(1) Make your work space super comfortable
If you are constantly cold [especially after coming in from the cold outside] at work invest in this: USB Heated Shawl and Lap Blanket. Brighten up your work space with a fun, bright desk lamp like this one or this one. Bring in flowers or a flowering plant to liven up your work space.

USB Blanket


(2) Stayed Hydrated in the office
According to UNH, “cold weather studies show increased risk for dehydration, a condition more commonly associated with hot weather.” and “Humans don’t naturally hydrate themselves properly, and they can become very dehydrated in cold weather because there is little physiological stimulus to drink.”
Drink spring/summer themed infused water by keeping a Infuser Water Bottle at your desk and bringing in fresh produce (I like cucumber-lemon) to add to the infuser and stay hydrated with delicious summer-essence water. You can also outfit your desk with a Desk Humidifier with an Essential Oil Diffuser, this will help you forget the dryness of winter outside and you can select some essential oils that boost energy/mood. Something else I swear by year round is Evian Facial Spray. It’s amazing in summer and a spritz to the face in winter can help keep your mug from feeling like it’s going to crack from dryness inside the office.


(3) Listen to music that makes you happy, motivates you
“Specific brainwave rhythms are associated with specific emotional and cognitive outcomes”. There is a science around how music can effect one’s mood:
Listening to music can improve:
-Language Skills
It can also:
-Decrease anxiety
-Speed healing
-Increase optimism
-Decrease pain
According to David Webb, Psychology Tutor, Author, “listening to music that gives you goosebumps are a results of a dopamine rush. Dopamine is a neurochemical transmitter that helps regulate the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.” Listening to music that resonates with you will produce involuntary musical imagery to elevate your mood. In the linked SlideShare Mr. Webb included a quote by Dr. Oliver Sacks, “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears. It is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear”. In other words…listen to music that makes you happy gives you a boost of energy.

(4) Make good use of downtime
Whether in a store or in the office you can use your downtime to create, innovate, and strategize your business. What will get your team motivated? What do you need to support business that you haven’t had time to find or create? I always have a list of not critical ideas/programs I want to start working on and there is no better time to keep yourself engaged and mentally active than when you have downtime or you are working from home because you can’t make it into the office. It’s also a great time to schedule mandated training for your team…especially if you have lots of people working remotely on a certain day. Sexual harassment training is, usually, done online and usually takes 2-4 hours depending on the program – use this time to offer compliance for this required training. Just because it’s a snow day doesn’t mean people should have to waste a PTO because of inclement weather. Let them get work done, be productive, and save their personal time for real time off. If your company is like mine, we have video meetings available. It’s a great time to collaborate and partner with people that you have been trying to connect with without the normal business interruptions that exist in the workplace. It’s also a great time to prep tools for employee recognition [my task for today]. Having time to go through Pintrest and find incredible and fun ways to celebrate success:


(5) Keep to your norms as much as possible
In winter we tend to hibernate. We don’t go out as much as we should or do during the other three seasons. But there are ways to maintain a schedule and a standard and let’s face it – where there’s a will, there’s a way…
-Keep to an exercise/workout routine, if you can’t get to the gym or outside to run/walk you can exercise indoors [yay for yoga]. In my house…we dance a lot…especially during winter and before school. There are 9 Health Benefits of Dance, such as:
-According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing may boost your memory and prevent you from developing dementia as you get older;
-It improves flexibility;
-In a controlled study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, researchers found that partner dance and musical accompaniment can help bring about stress relief;
-Diminishes depression;
-Helps your heart;
-Supports weight loss;
-Better balance;
-Increases energy;
Don’t just dress warm – dress stylishly warm: I have seen some of the most stylish women I know go for only warmth in winter. There is a balance and what you wear can determine your outlook on the day. Be the best you can be – even in the worst weather scenarios. Your personal aesthetic is your silent first impression…make it great, always:
What we wear absolutely effects our mood;
-From Daily Worth, Change Your Clothes And Your Mood;
-This article from Good Therapy, outlines The Link Between Clothing Choices and Emotional States;
-From Vogue, How to Stylishly Layer for the Cold (Without Looking Like a Snowman)

Mens Winter Wardrobe WomensWinterWardrobe

And for those of you who are on a countdown to Spring here is a link for you…Countdown To Spring!!

Here’s is what that looks like as of this post:


Everyday is a gift. It is also what you make of it. Those of us who are committed and dedicated retailers are known for being resourceful, positive, and optimistic even in the most grim moments. The gloom of winter is just another opportunity for us to find out how we CAN make the best of a situation and how to make the most of every single day. Be safe out there!


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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