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5 Ways To Stay Happy During Shorter & Darker Days

5 Ways To Stay Happy During Shorter & Darker Days

Everyone has a favorite season, and if you feel alive and joyful during Summer’s long, warm days, you probably view the impending chill with some apprehension. Although the science of whether the seasons affect our mood is inconclusive, there are a few things we know for sure: colder weather keeps us cooped up indoors, out of the sun, and it’s easy for that claustrophobia to lead to depression.

The good news is, snow on the ground doesn’t need to mean a three month-long case of the blues. Here are five ways to stay in good spirits during shorter, darker days.

1. Go Outside or Open A Window – If you hate being cold, or are trying to reduce your energy bills, this might not make sense, but bear with me. Keeping your house or apartment buttoned up too tight during cold weather creates stale, stuffy air. Considering that indoor air can be much more polluted than the outside, this is both unhealthy and gross. Let a bit of fresh air in, just for a minute, to reinvigorate yourself and breathe easier. It’s also known that exercise goes a long way toward good mental health. When the weather gets colder, bundle up and go for a walk with your kids. Your cheeks will be rosy in no time.

2. Grow Something – Who says your gardening adventures need to end just because summer’s over? Think about starting a small windowsill garden–just a few easy-to-grow herbs–or incorporating a few more houseplants into your decor. The greenery will help to clean the air and bring a vibrant touch of life to the heavy, dark trappings of the season.

3. Maintain Vitamin Levels – Vitamin deficiency is the fast-track to poor health, so make sure you’re getting enough. ”I ask patients to have their Vitamin D and B12 levels checked,” Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and author of “The Happiness Diet” told HuffPo. A lack of Vitamin D has been linked with longer and worse depressive episodes. Maintaining vitamin levels will also strengthen immunity and help you fight off winter illnesses.

4. Eat Brain and Mood-Enhancing Foods – Vitamin supplements are just that, a supplement. Food should be your main source of vitamins, minerals, and other health-enhancing nutrients. “Food and nutrients represent fuel to our bodies the same way that when we use our car we need to fill the gas tank,” explains Diets in Review. Learn more by reading “10 Foods That Promote Brain Health.”

5. Volunteer – Along with cold weather and dark mornings, fall and winter bring us the dreaded holidays. Try as we might, it’s especially easy to get caught up in the soul-sucking consumerism and social chaos of the season. Keep yourself grounded and positive by trading in shopping time for volunteer hours. Find a worthy cause, whether it’s the local food bank or cleaning cages at the animal shelter, and donate some of your time. Chances are, you’ll find yourself feeling grateful and grounded. Check out “10 Tips For Being The Best Volunteer You Can Be.”

How do you stay happy during the colder months? Share your ideas in a comment!

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, Health, Holidays, Mental Wellness, , , , , , , , , ,

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

124 comments

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10:20AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

this is a common issue, seasonal depression is big especially since a lot of people don't realize that is what it is. Nor do they talk to their doctors or figure out ways like this to help control or prevent it. My wife suffers from this from time to time, I just emailed her this article to help her, thank you!

1:45AM PDT on Oct 6, 2013

People who live in British Columbia really suffer because the grey skies stick around for months on end. The rainfall is 2000-2700mm a year which indicates how few clear days there are.

6:10PM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

We can not forget the love. Volunteering is a great way of showing it.

5:43PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Longer hours of dark make me want to sleep more, not want to do much of anything too physical.

7:25AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Find things that work for you - and write them down in an obvious place for when you are exhausted and blue - as you don't think as well then - then try them out!

5:55AM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

The attitude counts

4:40AM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

Nice ideas

11:31AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Thanks for sharing this Beth, some people are really affected by the short dark days.

2:54AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Thank you :)

6:21PM PDT on Sep 24, 2013

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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