It’s common to feel a little blue down at this time of year, with the winter weather and pressure of the holidays causing many people to feel down and even depressed. The winter period is a long one, and it’s important to find ways to help you get out of the funk and lift your spirits. Here are some suggestions for ways you can beat the winter blues.

Bring some more light into your life

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a real condition that can occur during the winter months. One of the ways to ease SAD is to bring more light into your life. Stick to a good sleeping pattern and make sure you’re awake when the sun’s up – this will help to get you out of bed and give your body some much-needed vitamin D. Try and get a walk in during your lunch break to make sure you get some fresh air and see some natural daylight. If your home is particularly dark, you can buy a lightbox or a special lamp to help as proven ways to help you fight against SAD.

Keep exercising

The thought of going for a run in the cold or making your way to the gym in the dark isn’t the most appealing, but keeping up your exercise routine can do wonders for your mood. Exercise releases endorphins that activate the brain’s feel-good chemicals that will keep your spirits up during even the darkest days. Get yourself some cold-weather gym clothes to make it easier for you to go to the gym in winter. If you don’t want to venture outside, take a look at some cold weather exercises for workout ideas to help you through the winter months.

Winter-proof your diet

Your diet can have a lot of influence over your mood, especially during the winter. Eating foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants is important at this time of year to help you ward off colds and viruses, which can leave you feeling even worse. There are many foods which help to boost your mood and energy that you should include in your winter diet. A bit of chocolate in moderation can also help to lift your mood, but don’t rely too heavily on sugar or carb-filled foods as the temporary uplift they can offer can soon wear off and leave you craving more.

Play upbeat music

A study by the University of Missouri found that playing upbeat music can be effective for making you feel happier, both in the short-term and long-term. Create a winter playlist full of upbeat, happy tunes that will have you dancing around the room and put a smile on your face. If you enjoy Christmas music, why not start the festive season early and sing along to your favorite holiday songs?

Find things that make you laugh

In the same way that uplifting music can help you feel better, a funny film or TV show can also help to boost your mood. Even if you’ve watched them dozens or hundreds of times,  they’ll still make you smile. Dig out some of your feel-good favorites and start laughing through the winter blues. You’ll find no shortage of comedy entertainment online, so there’s no better excuse for some Netflix and chill.

Help others

There are many reasons why helping others can help you too. Volunteering your time for good causes can help you forget about your own problems through realizing that there are others with serious hardships that could use your help. Soup kitchens and community projects can struggle for volunteers, and this is a good way to spend your time and give back. Instead of dwelling on your misery, focus your energy into doing something good to help you forget about the gloomy winter months.

Spend time with friends

Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy is a great way to lift your spirits, as well as lift the spirits of others. Whether you decide to head out for a night on the town or take it in turns to host a pizza and movie night, spending time with your friends can instantly boost your mood. People tend to be more careful with their money at this time of year, so some nights in with good company could be just what the doctor ordered to feel great on those long winter nights.

Plan ahead for next year

Winter can feel like a long road ahead, especially if you’ve had a fun-filled summer. This is a great time of year to look at the year ahead and start making plans, giving yourself things to look forward to over the coming year. Whether it’s a dream vacation or setting out to achieve things you’ve had on your bucket list, having some plans in place will help the winter months pass by a bit quicker as you count down the days to your next adventure.

Recognizing when you’ve got more than just the winter blues

When you’re feeling low, anxious or depressed at this time of year, it can be easy to dismiss your feelings as just having the winter blues. However, the season can highlight or exasperate issues that might be there the rest of the year, and can’t always be fixed with some mood boosters. If you feel as though you might start to need help, consult with your doctor who can help to diagnose any mental health issues you might be facing. You could also consider programs like Recovery Ways addiction help for more focused recovery with experts who can get you the treatment you need. Asking for help isn’t always easy, but it’s an important first step towards your recovery.

While lifting your spirits isn’t always easy, finding ways to take your mind off things can make all the difference. Instill some positivity in your life with these ten quotes for positive living and change your attitude from sad to great. Surround yourself with things that boost your mood and help yourself to beat those winter blues.

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