How To Be Productive In The Winter
New Year’s has passed, all of the shopping, holidays and social functions are a thing of the past and it almost feels like you’re hungover (maybe you are!). The problem is that this drop off feeling tends to linger for many of us. It can almost feel like you’re drifting. Particularly in January.
Why Is It So Hard To Get Motivated In January
There isn’t just one reason, there are many reasons. First, it’s Wintertime and the days are shorter which can cause, or make worse, vitamin D deficiencies. If you don’t know already, Vitamin D is critical to a ton of different functions from our immune health, to our brains, skin and everything in between. Being deficient can easily lead to brain fog and is even associated with depression which is also brought on by lack of sunlight, at least seasonal depression. For people living up north, it can be even more difficult as snowfall and freezing conditions make pretty much everything in life more difficult to do which makes us far less productive. Finally, you’re likely feeling some post-holiday blues. It’s not that Christmas or New Year’s or any other single day is highly stimulating. It’s that most of us are in holiday mode from some point in November as we approach Thanks Giving and from there it’s almost like a holiday blitz of food, fun, socializing, being consumed with different items related to the holidays or just accustomed to a go-go pace that is brought on by all the activity. Then, suddenly you snap out of it and instead of November which brings relatively warmer and longer days – you’re now stuck in January which has among the least sunlight and brings the coldest of temperatures. Oh and there’s a massive lull as you go back to normal life, normal food and everything else. While this isn’t even close to an exhaustive list, you get the idea. Post-holiday blues and winter blues (or seasonal depression) is real and easily experienced.
How To Stay Productive In The Winter
Coffee!!! No, I’m not suggesting that you need to drink more coffee (not discouraging it either). I’m suggesting something related to coffee which shouldn’t be a big surprise since most of you know that I’m coffee obsessed to the point where my husband, Peter, bought us professional equipment for making cappuccinos then went out and took a barista/latte art class lol In fairness, he also loves to just obsess over things and learn all about them to the point where it’s like “Wow…you really went deep here…”. Anyhow, enough about all that, I’m talking about spending time in coffee shops! But before you ask, yes, you could substitute what I’m about to explain with a tea house, quiet restaurant or otherwise but for the sake of this blog post, we’ll stick with calling them all coffee shops.
Going to a coffee shop simultaneously inspires, stimulates and settles your mind down (for many). How does that happen? Well, it’s proven that staying in the same environment can lead to stagnation and that changing environments support creativity. So getting out of your usual habits and going over to your favorite place can help your mind feel alive with all of the new sensations, visuals, sounds, etc. Not only that, for many people it calms your mind down. How does that work? It’s exactly like the concept of using white noise to feel more relaxed. Many people don’t like falling asleep in dead silence since any random sound will grab their attention and distract them or keep them awake. However, when you play a white noise track or other ambient sounds, it can help a lot of people fall asleep. It’s the same in a place like a coffee shop where all of the ambient sounds create a sort of white noise in the background so that your mind can calm down and focus.
Now here’s one that’s personal but probably applies to most of you reading this. I find that when at home, my mind wanders and I get distracted easily. I go into the kitchen 10 times to get a snack or drink, I start tending to different tasks that weren’t initially on my mind and overall my time gets broken up. When I’m sitting in a coffee shop, I know that I don’t have those options and there’s nothing to pull me away. I’m there to work, I have my ambiance in the background and there’s no temptation to get up and fidget with anything since I’m not at home. I also don’t have this anxious feeling telling me to get up and go do something else as though I’m missing out on doing something more fun or being out somewhere because I am out somewhere.
What Do I Do Personally?
All of the things I’ve listed. In fact, there are two things that Peter and I love doing when we travel (which is often). We absolutely LOVE experiencing what different hotels and resorts have to offer in terms of their location, their amenities, dining experiences, and overall experience. Then we obsess about going to different coffee shops and doing the same. From the ambiance to the menu offerings right down to the flavor of the coffee. In fact, you may or may not have seen it but I’ve actually written a coffee shop guide for Denver, Colorado, and Austin, Texas ( read my Denver Coffee Guide here) with more to come from places like San Diego, California – Ottawa, Canada and more. In fact, we’ve been to dozens of different cities and exploring coffee shops is one of the things we’ve done in each of them. It’s a quick, cheap and fun day date that also lets us learn, get photos or videos for my content and other work done. In short, I like to explore and try as many as possible but when I’m getting started, I’ll find the top 5 reviewed shops in a city then try to visit each of them and make my own decision as to which is best. I also avoid most big-box chains as that takes away a lot of the fun but anytime I’m in a pinch or an area where the selection is low – Starbucks does perfectly fine!
So there you go, coffee and coffee shops solve all the problems! Not really but the idea is to go somewhere new. This allows you to calm your mind down while stimulating it and also gives you the sense of satisfaction of knowing that you’re out doing something instead of just sitting at home doing and seeing the same old. Make sure to mix it up and try different places. That way you’re not only getting all of the benefits that I listed above, but you’re also actually trying out new places and figuring out what you like for future visits!