The impact of changing seasons on health and wellbeing

A quick summary:

  • Oh no, here comes Autumn! 🍂
  • Reframing your outlook on the changing seasons 🔎
  • Conclusion on the changing seasons and workplace wellbeing

Who doesn’t love autumn? When the leaves change colour, the temperatures drop and we get a glimpse of the weather to come – but that’s a very biased point of view. It really depends on you as a person, how you feel towards autumn. 

What we can all agree on, however, is that the changing seasons can have a huge impact on our ability to work at our best. 

And autumn changes to winter, these changes happen yet again. This time, many people begin to experience symptoms of SAD (or seasonal affective disorder). However, the emotional whirlwind of SAD can begin as early as September.

We’re going to explore how the changing seasons, i.e autumn, can affect our health and wellbeing, especially, for and as, employees – with workloads, deadlines and expectations.

Top tip: after you’ve read through this guide to the impacts of seasonal changes on wellbeing, pass it to a colleague or manager. The more equipped your team is, the more supportive and understanding everyone can be.

What does autumn mean for employee wellbeing?

Oh no, here comes autumn! 🍂

Do you know exactly when autumn begins? No, not everyone does. For some, it’s when the temperature drops or the rain pours. For those who like to stick to facts, it’s the 23rd of September. 

As we enter October, it begins to feel like the temperatures really drop. From torrential showers to shorter days and fewer hours of natural light, it’s very clear why changing seasons can run wild on our wellbeing. 

Some people experience mild mood swings, feelings of melancholy and anxiety. And as many of us have found out, when we’re not at our best physically and mentally, our ability in the workplace can take a hit. 

According to Holidaygems.co.uk, around 1 in 15 reportedly experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder between September and April. What’s more, Micro Biz Mag says that men are more likely to suffer from SAD than women. However, women do experience more from low moods during autumn and winter.

It’s clear that the changing seasons, the darker months of autumn and colder months of winter have an impact on everyone. It just so happens that your team falls into that category!

Now we’ve explored some of the statistics and findings, let’s look at ways leaders can help teams reframe their outlook on the changing seasons. 

These points apply to both employees and employers. Regardless of whether you run a business, team or department, you can share these with colleagues and/or managers! 

Reframing your outlook on the changing seasons

Reframing your outlook on the changing seasons 🔎

It’s time to address the elephant in the room – how to reframe your outlook, or that of others, on the changing seasons. 

Push yourself to exercise 🏃

During the colder months and darker evenings, it can feel much harder to motivate ourselves to visit the gym or go for an outdoor run. Need we explain why? However, it is essential (as it is throughout the year) that you push yourself to exercise. 

Exercising has huge benefits for our health and wellbeing. In fact, exercise has been known to help with feelings of depression, stress, anxiety and more. Believe it or not, by increasing your heart rate each week, you can actually improve your energy levels. 

Make the most of the light hours ☀️

Remember how we said that autumn and winter see shorter days and less natural light? Well, here’s the solution… make the most of the daylight! Get out and about on your lunch break, take a quick stroll to a café near your office to grab a coffee; do whatever you can to get outside. 

Although it may be hard, it isn’t impossible. Ask your manager (unless you are a manager) to conduct meetings outdoors. That way, you can get in your steps, keep it productive and enjoy the outdoors. 

If you work remotely, remember to use your mornings and lunch breaks wisely. Meet a friend or family member for a walk, eat your lunch outside in the garden or just take short breaks throughout the day to step outside.

Eat well to live well (regardless of the season)

We all know the importance of eating healthily. And although this is true regardless of the season, it’s harder to find that get-up-and-go during winter mornings. To combat those feelings of poor productivity and tiredness, it’s important you eat as healthily as possible. 

Doing so means you can consume the foods (fruits, vegetables etc.) that benefit your health, but also your mood and energy levels. In an article, Dr Cora says that eating a healthy and balanced diet can improve symptoms of depression

As we’ve explored, SAD can bring on feelings of depression and anxiety, so by eating healthier during the colder months of the year, people may be able to gradually combat these emotions.

As for energy levels, Healthline does a great job of highlighting foods that tackle fatigue. Ultimately, with the right foods equal the right moods, it’s that simple.

Conclusion on changing seasons and workplace wellbeing

Conclusion on the changing seasons and workplace wellbeing

There you have it! Although the list above isn’t by any means exhaustive, it should get you thinking about how our health and wellbeing changes with the seasons. That is, for everyone, and affects us both in and outside the workplace. 

Whether you’re a leader suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or you’re an employee with similar symptoms, we hope this article has helped! It’s important we learn from the steps above so we can better support our personal wellbeing, and that of those around us in the workplace. 

We recommend that you check in with your colleagues and managers; ask them how they’re feeling about the seasonal changes, and if they are suffering from less productivity, performance or general satisfaction at work.