By: Alyse Kalish
We all love to hate on winter. Trudging through the snow while simultaneously ruining our nicest shoes, either freezing in several layers at our desk or burning up because the heat’s blasting, leaving the office in the late afternoon to a sad, pitch-black evening.
I get it, it’s not the best time of year. But it could be!
Bear with me here. I can come up with plenty of reasons why this should be your new favorite season, but when you’re also trapped in the office, I get that it feels like every day is destined to be a bad day. So here are eight little ways you can enjoy the comforts of winter at work—and hopefully start to love it a little more.
1. Bring a Blanket to Work
There’s nothing in the manual that says you can’t cozy up while you work (at least I hope not). Bring in your warmest blanket to snuggle next to. Or, maybe your favorite slippers, a comfy sweater, or a pair of moccasins. They’ll not only keep you warm, but they’ll carry the comforts of home.
2. Brighten Up Your Desk
If your cubicle is getting you down, it’s time for a makeover. With a happier workspace, you’ll hardly notice when it gets dark outside. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but you’ll notice it less.
So, embrace the winter wonderland and decorate your space by going with the cold theme (think: candles that smell like cookies), or by pretending you’re somewhere else altogether (think: a small plant or beach poster over your desk).
3. Take Hot Chocolate Breaks
Everyone needs to take a break at some point, so why not make it festive? Take 30 minutes, grab a co-worker or two, and experiment with some hot chocolate recipes in the kitchen, such as this snowflake cocoa or salted peanut butter hot chocolate. Or, for a quicker break, buy a box of packets that you can whip up at any time. (Bonus points if you remember to bring in marshmallows.)
4. Dress for the Weather
This one sounds obvious, yet so many people don’t take it seriously. But the more prepared you are for the conditions outside, the easier your transition will be from home to car (or train) to office. For example, if it’s snowing out—wear boots. Because nothing ruins a day more than stepping in a slush puddle in the parking lot and starting your day warming up your cold toes. Plus, if you’re dressed appropriately, you can more easily take a midday break, even if it’s only to run out and grab coffee.
5. Plan an Outing
One of the greatest things about the season is all the activities you can do outside—and in groups! Did someone say bonding? (Anyone?) Get a few co-workers together and go ice-skating after hours, or sledding at the nearest park, or if there is a ton of snow on the ground, you can even organize a snowball fight between departments. When it gets too cold, you can always turn in early, call it a truce, and warm up together at a coffee shop.
6. Pack a Warm Lunch
Nothing eases the pain of the cold better than warm food—soup, chili, lasagna, you name it. Make a batch the night before and heat up the leftovers at work, or plan an office potluck day and have everyone bring in their winter favorites. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could even plan a chili cook-off.
7. Add Some Ambiance
Studies show that listening to music can improve your mood, so try whipping up a winter playlist (even holiday music, we won’t judge you if you’re still going strong in February). Or, if you’re easily distracted, try noisli, a site that will let you create your own background noise—I recommend a mixture of “fireplace” and “coffee shop.” It’s so soothing, you’ll forget you’ve been staring at a computer all day.
8. Make Mulled Wine Happy Hour a Thing
Instead of the typical happy hour at the local bar, mix up some mulled wine or spiked cider for the team at 5 PM on Friday. Not only will you become a fan favorite in the office, but you won’t have to bundle up to get half-priced beers.
Who needs summer when you can have an awesome time right here and now? Stay warm, stay happy, and embrace winter—because it’ll love you back.