January launched the new year with enthusiasm and gravitas for your business's goals. However, by February, you and your team, begin to fight what is known as the February Funk. What is February Funk? February Funk is also known as winter blues or seasonal affective disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in the seasons." February Funk (SAD), is known as sadness, low energy, and moodiness brought on by the following:
- The afterglow of the holidays ending or the after-trauma effects of the holidays
- Shorter days and fewer outdoor activities due to winter weather (Reduced sunlight can actually disrupt our body's internal clock.)
- Business slow for some organizations and industries
What are six things your organization can do to fight February Funk and stay goal driven?
- Get outside. - Encourage your team to get outside for 10 to 20 minutes a day to get some much-needed vitamin D and to lower stress. How can you do this? Hold your stand-up meetings outside, or take your one-on-one meetings outside on a walk. What can you do if you and your team are virtual? Don't discourage a 10-minute meeting being taken outside on a phone.
- Spruce up your workspace. - Take advantage of natural sunlight when you can. Position desks closer to windows, so people can get more natural light. Organize, clean, and personalize the workspace. Bring nature indoors by introducing plants into the workspace. (If you don't have a green thumb, succulents and cacti are valid options.) Don't forget about your sense of smell. Aromatherapy can help in a variety of ways. Orange is known to help with anxiety. Peppermint improves performance, and rosemary boosts focus. Just remember to take into account those sharing the workspace. Make sure to consider others' aversions and allergies.
- Offer healthy foods. - Let's face it. When people get into a funk, they tend to emotionally eat. Therefore, try to offer healthier foods rich in nutrients. Swap the donuts with fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fiber-rich foods. (OK. So maybe don't eliminate all of the carbs. We all enjoy an occasional donut. Just make healthier options more accessible.)
- Focus on the positives. - When people are in a funk, it is impossible to "just snap out of it". Focus on the positives and the small wins. Every bit of encouragement will lead your organization to success.
- Offer flexible hours. - If possible, allow employees to have flexible hours. By allowing them to have flexible hours, they can get the counseling, light therapy, and exercise they need to get out of the funk; thereby, helping them to stay goal driven.
- Focus on goals. - When business is slow, use this time to plan and strategize for the busy season. Oftentimes, small business owners and nonprofit executive directors spend so much time working in the business, they often don't have the time to work on the business. During this slow time, use it wisely by focusing on strategy, educating your employees, increasing your content and SEO, building relationships with existing and prospective clients, and networking.
I leave you with the following Chinese Proverb:
"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still."
Or as Lailah Gifty Akita said:
"Keep moving, no matter how slow you move, you will definitely arrive at your destination."