New Year, New Us: Winter Wellbeing and Physical Health
- by Career Moves Group
- 10 Jan 2019
As Winter offers more than common illnesses, employees will need to take some personal responsibility to ensuring that they remain healthy and active during this time.
Knowing all the potential slips and falls common during the winter months can enlighten staff members to potential issues that require a proactive approach to combat the effects of Winter.
Lack of Sleep
Changes across temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and rainfall influence the body and its natural hormone production. This can often result in changes that affect both emotions and sleep.
When sleeping, if the room is too cold or too hot, then the melatonin production is disruption which will affect the body’s sensation of rest. When the room is too hot, this can dry the body out, including mucus membranes, that prevent infection and can result in illness.
For adults, the best temperature to sleep can vary between 15 and 19 degrees to ensure that the body is still successful within its rest period and melatonin production.
Changes in sleep patterns can result in migraine attacks, so even though the changes in sunlight hours can change the normal sleep pattern, in both morning and evening it is pertinent to maintain the same sleep schedule.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
The cold and damp weather brought during winter adds to SAD, which can increase stress in the workplace. It is common knowledge know that the ‘winter blues’ is often initiated through the lack of full spectrum of light from the outside environment when waking and returning from work in the dark.
Line management are often positioned identify problems with mental health at work. This means that they are able to have a major influence on successfully resolving the problem. As they oversee the performance of colleagues most will readily identify when someone is experiencing an ongoing mental health issue.
Making sure that line managers are prepared for alterations in performance and employee behaviour, with an educated arsenal to support their employees if they are affected by the changing season is a fantastic proactive means to resolving concerns.
The winter and seasonal changes can evoke migraines and severe headaches due to a number of reasons that can easily be addressing and solved with the following tips:
Due to the lack of sunlight in the winter months, the drop in vitamin D can lower serotonin whilst also provoking the onset of a migraine in an individual. To combat this common trigger cook vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs, fish, or fortified cereals to boost personal intake.
As the temperature drops, so does the pressure within the atmosphere. This often results in icy winds, heavy rainfall and nearing zero temperatures which can often result in sinus problems and then migraines. These changes places onus on the individual to remain hydrated, sleep, and exercise most days of the week.
During times of low humidity, the air often becomes dry, through wearing a scarf, the air being breathed in will become moist, fending off low humidity. Another resolution to this common trigger is investing in a humidifier, maintaining a normal humidity levels reduces likelihood of getting sick which will reduce the chances of a migraine as well.
The body takes longer to warm up and to detect cold as it ages, these biological developments can result in further health problems leading into the Winter which are important to note.
As the cold weather impacts lungs and the heart during winter, the body is forced into overtime to increase circulation around the body and maintain warmth. This can prompt spikes in blood pressure and increase the heart rate which can result in blood clots that lead to severe health issues.
To tackle this vigorous effect of the Winter, it is important to layer clothing to remain warm, either through using thermal underlayers, or thicker top layers. Being mindful that changes within temperature may not be identified in the first instance will be key to ensuring that more serious issues do not develop.
Keeping a spare jacket in the office, and a spare pair of socks for when it rains can be very important to retaining personal health during the Winter.