Ways To Stay Sane As It Gets Colder

It can be difficult to not go completely insane during the winter months — the days are shorter, the weather is freezing, and sometimes the snow keeps you stuck inside for days on end. It's all enough to give anyone a case of cabin fever. But during these shorter days, some people may even feel downright depressed. The lack of sunlight during winter can do a number on your mood, and may even cause some health problems, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression linked to the changing of the seasons. It usually starts in the fall and can last all winter, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have SAD, you may feel depressed, lack energy, gain some weight, sleep a lot, and really feel like you want to be alone.

While those suffering with SAD may have a harder time dealing with winter (and there are treatment options available), the rest of us can try to lift our spirits by turning to those weirdos who love cold weather for some guidance. We all have one friend who loves to snowboard, who feels totally unaffected by winter's icy grip, and who goes marching off through the snow like it ain't no thing.

We can learn something from them, and try to see winter as the wonderland it can be. But if you're still having trouble imagining yourself enjoying the snow and slush, then take a look at these tips for surviving the season without totally losing it from boredom or frostbite.

1. Bask In The Wonders Of Indoor Activities

Since it's far too cold to be outside, you might as well take advantage of all those indoor activities you've been dying to do. Remember last summer uttering the words, "We can't see a movie; it's way too nice outside!" Well, now's your chance to see all the movies you want. See? Winter and fall aren't so bad after all.

You may also want to expand your horizons at your local museum, get lost in an art gallery, read as many books as you can, or spend a day sifting through albums in a record store. Come spring, you're going to be one cultured babe.

2. Invest In Real Cold Weather Clothing

Our grandmother's have been saying it for ages, and it's true — to really be warm in the winter, you have to dress in layers. And I'm not talking about tooling around town in a dress and thin coat. I'm talking about really laying it on thick, starting with some long underwear. I know that may sound horrible, but modern long underwear is way nicer than you may think. Pad yourself with some sleek long johns and you'll be amazed at how much more enjoyable cold weather can be when you're properly (As the saying goes: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.")

Once you've layered on a T-shirt and sweater, be sure to top it all off with a real winter coat. I say "real" because, winter coats can often be super cute, but not very functional. So be sure to invest in a coat that will actually keep you warm.

3. Give Outdoor Activities A Try

Now that you're all suited up for the weather, some outdoor winter activities may be of interest to you. Think back to when you were a kid, and how enjoyable it was to start a snowball fight or to spend the day sledding. See if any of your friends would be game for a day of reliving those winter glory days. Or, for a more relaxing time, head over to your local ice rink to try your hand at not falling on your face.

4. Enjoy The Excuse To Be A Hermit

The good thing about winter is that everyone is stuck inside. So if your true and only desire in life is to hang out at home, then winter is the perfect time to do so without seeming like a total recluse. Consider sticking your head outside occasionally, but if you want to hang out and go nowhere, that's perfectly fine.

5. Turn Your Home Into A Winter Oasis

Before the next snow day hits, make sure your home is a nice place to be stuck for the day. Start by doing a little "spring" cleaning — wash your sheets, vacuum, and get rid of any clutter. Then, stock up on winter essentials like hot chocolate, tea, soups, and other comfort foods. And finally, have your slippers, blanket, and robe on standby so you're ready to be cozy it up the next time you're cooped up inside.

6. Be Sure To Get Some Sun

One way to help yourself feel better during these cold and dark times is to get some sun, even if it's just for a few minutes in early morning. And this is especially helpful if you suffer from SAD. But if popping your head outside isn't possible, you may want to get yourself a light therapy lamp. Sitting in front of it for a few minutes each day will trick the brain into thinking it's sunny, which may help lift your mood.

While many people love winter and fall, for some of us it's just a long, cold, dreary couple of months. But winter actually has a lot to offer, whether you get out on a sled, or spend the entire five months under a blanket. Do whatever makes you happy, and it'll be spring before you know it.

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