January 9, 2018

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to Beat Seasonal Stress

Posted by AGU Career Center

Every Tuesday, Patricia Yaya, AGU Vice President of Human Resources & Administrative Services, sends a message to the entire AGU staff featuring five short tips for getting by in the workplace.  On the Job publishes these tips in our weekly segment, Tuesday Top 5.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter has brought shortened daylight hours and cold weather. Combined with year-end activities (e.g., AGU’s Fall Meeting and the holiday season), this can add up to a lot of stress.

Listen to your body. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to headaches, sweating, dizziness, sleeping problems, and more. Find and practice ways to ease seasonal tension. Take care of yourself and beat back the winter blues!

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to beat seasonal stress:

  1. Socialize. ‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and talk to family, friends and everyone else you can. Do not isolate yourself. Connect, share, laugh and keep that sense of humor. A good belly laugh releases endorphins that help your mood. Limit caffeine and alcohol, which are both depressants. Choose healthy alternatives that boost energy and reduce stress-activated hormones (e.g., herbal teas, lemon water, or fruit).

Hint: Peppermint tea helps with digestion and calms your nerves. Licorice tea, which is sweet and spicy, boosts your energy and reduces stress. Ginseng tea boosts immunity, helps with digestion, and lowers stress. Green tea contains antioxidants that offer many health benefits including improving blood flow, reducing cholesterol, and regulates blood pressure.

  1. Relax. One way to relieve stress is to relax. It takes less time than you think, and the methods vary for everyone. A few minutes of relaxation can ease anxiety.

Practice relaxing. For example, you could try breathing exercises. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Get a massage to work out the tension. Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders. Listen to soothing music, rock out, or sing as loud as you can. Enjoy a cup of tea. Write, read, or do something to “escape” and rejuvenate yourself.

Hint: Mindfulness exercises relieve stress and are used for pain management. Try these simple exercises.


  1. Exercise. Walk, jog, spin, swim, do yoga, push-ups, jumping jacks: what you do is less important than that you are doing it. Get active for at least 3 days a week. Everyone benefits from exercise no matter age or physical ability. Exercise not only controls weight and helps fight some diseases, but it also improves mood and boosts energy.
  1. Find your positive. Take a few minutes for silent reflection. What’s in your mind becomes your reality. If you are constantly negative, it will be difficult to find your positive. Yet, you can consciously decide to change your mindset (i.e., your attitude) to free your mind from limitations. Thinking positive can be learned and will go a long way toward relieving stressful times.
  1. Invest in yourself.  Find and then make time for a hobby. What are you passionate about? Do you enjoy photography? Take your camera for a walk. Do you like looming, sewing, painting, browsing through a bookstore, watching the ocean waves crash to the shore, or any other hundred thousand activities? Take the time to have fun.

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.