After the Christmas decorations have been put away and the mushy-snowy-slush of mid-February sets in, it can be hard to keep your spirits up. You’re in the full swing of work or school with no end in sight. It’s dull. I know.

Seasonal depression is a real thing, not just something we made up to explain our winter-weariness. The human body needs a certain amount of sunshine, and, frankly, in the winter it can be hard to get that. This cold-weather-funk can decrease productivity, increase stress, and just generally make you feel crummy.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to beat the winter blues demon.

Exercise

Working out, even if it’s only for twenty minutes a day in your basement, keeps your body running well and you feeling better. Sitting in your bed all day and binging on Netflix is actually the worst possible thing you can do for winter depression. Some of that is great, but try to get up and moving at least once a day.

Eat Well

This doesn’t mean that you should swear off dessert forever, but try to balance it with daily doses of fruit and vegetables, especially leafy greens. Your body needs these now more than ever. If you’re not much of a salad person, the best way to get two or three cups of spinach down is to mix it in with a smoothie. You can’t even taste it!

Get Enough Light

If you can combine the first step with this one, that’s fantastic. Even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, or every few days, try to go for a walk and a short jog. I know it’s cold, but your body needs that sunlight. If you live in a place where the sun barely appears in the winter, consider investing in a sun lamp. They replicate the sun’s rays to improve mood and boost vitamin D.

Get Out

If people invite you to partake in activities or social events, go. It’s easy to stay in bed all day, especially on winter weekends, but keeping your social life going will boost your mood and keep you from sinking further into depression.

Get Enough Sleep

You may feel like doing the opposite, but going to bed early and getting up early is actually the best option in the winter. This will maximize the amount of sleep you’re able to get during the lessened daylight hours. It will also make you feel better rested and ready to tackle the day.

Read a Book

A good book is a remedy to all evils. Seriously, though. While you’ve got all this time on your hands, find something great and dig in! It feeds your mind more than Netflix ever can.

Seasonal depression gets to almost all of us sooner or later. The difference this winter is that you’re walking in prepared, with a plan to shove those nasty feelings out of the way.

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