Winter is here and with so are shorter days, colder weather, and too many excuses to stay indoors. For some people, winter also brings a nasty companion: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you are one of the many people who feel a noticeable dip in spirits during the cold, dark months ahead, try following some of these Happy Tips.
- Look up ridiculous cat videos on YouTube. You will laugh, wonder who has enough time on their hands to video their cats, and thenpromptly videotape and post clips of your own. It’s inevitable.
- Dance like a mad(wo)man to music from the decade you were born in. If that decade was too boring, pick the 80s. If even that doesn’t perk you up, dress appropriately for your wild mini-celebration, tube socks and all (obligatory for men as well).
- Take a walk on your lunch break and “forget” to walk back to work. Enjoy the sunshine while you can!
- Eat dark chocolate. Enough said.
- Play the game “7 Degrees to Insert Name Here.” It’s best with Kevin Bacon. Trust me.
- Volunteer or just do something nice for someone you know. Instant feel-good karma.
- Play with your food. For instance, make spaghetti the mouth and meatballs the eyes to a food face, or have a competition with your lunch buddies to see who can make the coolest design with just lunchmeat, bread, and condiments.
- Cuddle. That’s the warm and fuzzy part of cold and gloomy nights.
- Exercise and eat well. Not as easy as the others, but probably the tips with the most significant, long-lasting happiness factor. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity (like fast walking or swimming) at least three days each week. Opt for lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and five servings of fruits or vegetables each day.
- Reconnect with friends. Sometimes, all it takes is a pumpkin spice latte and an hour of chitchat to feel cool as a cucumber.
- Break out the board games. Yes, remember those? You used to have so much fun! Rekindle some non-digital happiness.
- Rent a movie that is so bad it’s actually good. Hard to believe, I know, but B movies in the horror section are usually an entertaining place to start. Killer Klowns from Outer Space, anyone?
If happiness seems out of reach for you or a loved one during the winter, don’t delay: seek help for depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder and other forms of depression can have very serious consequences. After all, if the Happy Tips above aren’t doing the trick, it’s time you show your symptoms that you mean business!
Katie Brind’Amour, MS, is a Certified Health Education Specialist and freelance writer. She is working on her PhD in Health Services Management and has written hundreds of articles on health and wellness. She enjoys blogging about friendship and testing out new Happy Tips in her free time.