By Rowena Horne
This is my second installment about the feelings evoked by seasons and the affect that I have observed they have on our behaviour and interactions with society.
Let me state upfront that as someone who is a little bit reptilian, winter is not my favourite season (which puts me in the majority, with 59% of Australians saying the same thing).
Though as it passes its half way point, I am finding reasons to love it:
Hearty soups. Scarves. Open fires.
You feel elated after exercising outdoors, your pinked cheeks being a badge of honour.
A shared smile and depreciating laugh as you barrel into a warm café shaking rain drops from your umbrella ready to wrap your hands around a steaming mug.
Mulled wine and cider.
Watching the leaves turn, busting out boots and puffy jackets. Suddenly all the bodies sardined into a tram have an upside and a ‘morning’ expelled on a puff of breath links strangers.
We seek warmth – from thermals, heaters, food – but should we also seek it from each other? Not literally of course but as 42% of people are less socially active in winter, it can be hard to battle through blizzards alone. Together with cravings for sweet foods and carbs, increased irritability, pessimism and 1 in 3 of us reporting feeling more down or depressed, it is the season to keep an eye on each other…and on our colleagues.
Winter affects the workplace too, with 28% of Australian employees feeling less social connection and reporting reduced effectiveness at this time of year. Interestingly a lot of our engagement work takes place over the cooler months with businesses, consciously or unconsciously, asking for experiences to help bring people closer together and connect them to a story.
So did my list of things to celebrate about winter work for you? Did it help you take a warmer view of the season and look on the bright side if even only for a moment?
If not, then perhaps some of the tips in this article might help – we recently held a Christmas in July lunch that was very effective. At home and in the workplace we need to take a leaf from the book of our Nordic cousins (beyond Swedish furniture) and ‘culturally prime ourselves to deal with winter’.