Shorter days and a jam-packed schedule can make this a very stressful time of year, especially if you’re running a business. But luckily you’re not alone in the struggle to stay afloat and beat the winter blues.
Dr. Kimberley Wands is an Ontario-based clinical psychologist — and Square user — focused on providing services for children and adults who are dealing with the effects of depression, anxiety and stress. She says the “‘winter blues” are caused by a combination of factors. “Often there are more costs associated with the winter. You have a whole bunch of holidays and you’re dealing with the stress of that. In addition you’ve got less sunlight and you’re not being as active or doing as much physical stuff. All of that stuff negatively affects your levels of serotonin,” she says.
Here are Dr. Wands’ suggestions for beating the winter blues and enjoying a low-stress season.
Be kind to yourself.
In addition to getting outside and moving more often, Dr. Wands also suggests trying to do pleasant things for yourself. “We’re so busy and overworked that we often don’t take the time to do what we enjoy,” she says. “Listen to music, get your nails done — activities don’t have to be expensive or huge. Just add something into your regular day that makes you smile. It could be buying a little something, spending time with your family or helping somebody.”
In the season of peace and goodwill it can sometimes be hard to find either. “Take a little bit of time for yourself so you actually have a chance to be quiet and regroup,” says Dr. Wands. “Some form of spiritual practice or meditation — whatever’s right for you — is important.”
Dr. Wands suggests listening to positive audiobooks when you’re driving or out and about. Often, when we slow down, our minds are flooded with worries. Dr. Wands suggests repeatedly listening to positive messages in order to instill confidence in yourself.
Be kind to other people.
“Donate to a charity that reflects your values. Or help someone on a streetcar. Wherever you’re at, take that moment to be kind,” suggest Dr. Wands. “Doing something good for other people also helps us feel better.”
Dr. Wands was inspired to try Square after first seeing her hairdresser use it. She now relies on Square to help her take payments in the two offices where she sees patients. “I use Square Reader on my mobile phone,” she says. “The convenience of having something I can use in more than one location is good. Clients seem to like it and it has improved business by making it easier for clients to pay.”