Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) is as sad as it stands for, and it affects millions of people every winter season.
If you're already feeling a little gloomy, here are some scientifically-backed methods to lift your spirits.
1. Plan a vacation - even if there's an indefinite date
Research shows that just thinking about going on a vacation significantly boosts your mood.
Even if you don't go on that vacation, or if that vacation is months or maybe even years away from now, thinking about those lapping waves and bright sun will increase your overall happiness.
Here's a tip: change your phone wallpaper to where you'd like to be now.
2. Leave your house, but keep warm
It's easy to crawl into your bed and cover yourself with a warm blanket, but that's probably not doing you much good.
Spending time outside is proven to lower your stress levels and reduce symptoms of SAD.
3. Eat healthy
Do you find that you crave sugar more in the winter than in any other season? Those savory Christmas treats should not be expelled from your diet, but they shouldn't compromise how healthy you eat on a daily basis. Make sure your diet consists of vegetables, fruit, protein sources, and healthy fats.
Eating healthy carbohydrates is considered a dietary "trick" to boost your serotonin or mood levels.
4. Get enough exercise
Exercising has always been a mood-booster.
Here is an article that lists five exercises that are perfect to fight those winter blues: 5 Mood-Boosting Workouts.
5. See your friends and family
You probably always feel good when you're around the people you care about. That's because your body is releasing feel-good hormones like oxytocin that have a wonderful effect on your body.
If you love warm and long hugs, you definitely need to cuddle more this season. Cuddling will improve your immune system, relieve pain, and make you feel happier.
6. Brighten up your life - literally
Research has shown that sitting next to artificial light for 30 minutes a day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Getting that extra dose of sunshine can make a huge difference in the winter season.
Purchasing a dawn simulator, which causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten at the time you set, can make it easier to get out of bed and start your day.
7. Listen to the right music
Researchers found that listening to upbeat, cheery music not only boosts your mood at that moment, but impacts your mood in the long run.
Once the new year rolls in, try making a playlist that brightens up your mood.
8. Find a hobby
The key here is to try something new.
Social media users have shared their thoughts on the powerful effect hobbies can have on those suffering from SAD. They recommend people going through a bout of the winter blues to read, write, play an instrument, cook new foods, volunteer, or take a class to boost their mood levels.
9. Take the right supplements
Vitamin D, fish oil, and mineral supplements have been scientifically proven to beat the winter blues.
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we are less exposed to the sun, so low vitamin D levels may be responsible for seasonal depression.
Vitamin supplements and fish oil will boost your immune system so that you're not ill the whole winter season.
10. Don't have too much caffeine.
Caffeine spikes your insulin levels and drops your blood sugar, which will actually make you feel more tired in the long run.
What keeps you going in the winter?