Beating the Winter Blues

Winter is quickly coming upon us. Finals are coming up soon, it’ll be cold and dreary, and most people will be spending a lot of money with all of the holidays in the near future. All these stressful situations can really mess with your mood. Make you humdrum and/or just plain off.

What is there to do about it? You can’t really just change your moods right?

Well wrong. While you obviously can’t adjust serious medical problems with the following advice, you can definitely improve your general wellbeing and sense of happiness during this darker season.

There are a lot of proven methods that lead to increased levels of happiness out there. From taking walks outside, to growing some plants the ideas are almost limitless and are usually pretty easy, cheap and fun to do.

One of my favorite ones is cultivating things. Growing plants, taking care of fish.. Succulents, like cacti and aloe plants, are hardy and pretty easy to take care of if you need a plant that is hard to kill. I personally love picking bright blooming flower plants so that when the flowers finally pop out it adds some color to the living room There’s nothing quite like walking in the door after a long day and seeing the plant you’ve been taking care of with a new bloom on it.

This has to do with the idea that setting a goal and working towards it really helps bring you out of a rut. It doesn’t have to be flowers. Have a workout goal, and academic goal, maybe something as simple as keeping a goldfish alive. Having something to work towards gives you a sense of purpose and you can’t help but feel awesome when you accomplish it and get to make a new goal.

Speaking of exercise, Brigitt Hauck writes in her article, 8 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Beat the Winter Blues, “A 2005 study from Harvard University suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression…”.

It may be chilly, but making an effort to get to the rec center this winter is a great way to get some extra endorphins flowing through your body. As Elle Woods from Legally Blonde says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

Another great way to increase your happiness is to spend some more time with friends and/or family. Investing in experiences makes you feel way better than material objects, that’s just proven fact. So spending some time with people who care about you and making memories with them is absolutely worth it. Go to the movies, dinner, or just hang out at home and play some board games. It’s a sure fire way to improve your mood.

Especially during this time of year, helping others is a fantastic endorphin making option. Volunteering at soup kitchens, donating to food and toy drives. Even helping animals can do you good, especially since you get the opportunity to snuggle some puppies or kittens. There’s so many ways you can get out there and make the world a little bit brighter.

“…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested,” writes Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage.

There’s a lot of awesome ways you can be happier this winter. Simple changes to your regular schedule is all it can take to put you in a good mood. If these don’t work for you go online and find some more, there’s countless ideas out there to help you beat the winter blues. Here’s to a brighter, happier winter!

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