7 Ways to Stay Cheerful in Winter

Last Sunday marked the end of the 2012 Daylight Saving season, and many of us set our clocks back one hour. With colder temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight each day, the transition from autumn to winter can weigh us down physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Seasonal Affection Disorder (SAD) is extremely common during the long and dark winter months, leaving many people feeling sluggish, irritable, and blue. However, being prepared for the transition, and focusing on the balance of primary food in our lives, allows us to maintain a positive worldview and fully enjoy the excitement and energy of the holiday season.

Here are seven easy ways you can stay cheerful during the winter months:

Take it outdoors – Make it a priority to bundle up and get outside for a short walk during the daylight hours – even if it’s chilly! The fresh air and dose of Vitamin D from the sunshine will keep you happy and healthy.

Get regular exercise – You might be inclined to hibernate under warm blankets as the temperatures drop, but that won’t do anything for your mood. Working out releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy, and a regular exercise routine will do wonders for your energy levels.

Keep it socialFriendships provide the support we need to live fulfilling, balanced lives. Sharing stories and laughing with friends can lift our spirits and give us a fresh perspective. Make plans to meet for a visit, or schedule a phone call to keep in touch.

Journal for gratitude – Take time in the morning or evening to make a list of things you are grateful for. Studies show that cultivating happiness helps combat depression. When you focus on the positive things in your life, there’s no room for the negative!

Wear your chef’s hat – Prepare nourishing meals at home to create a sense of warmth and inner peace. Incorporate a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables into your meals to boost your mood, and experiment with new recipes or comforting family favorites.

Embrace the season – Rather than spending your time and energy complaining about the weather, or longing for a different time of year, find beauty in the present moment. Boost your health through a spiritual practice, catch up on your reading, or bundle up in your favorite sweater and have a cup of hot cocoa, cider, or tea.

Buy a full spectrum lamp – If you find yourself feeling really blue during the winter months, talk to your doctor about investing in a light box that mimics the spectrum of the sun. Light therapy can be a very effective treatment for SAD!

What are some ways you stay cheerful during the winter months?

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