Ugh, winter. This season is a major, soul-sucking drag, and it's basically a full-time job keeping yourself from plummeting into total despair during the dark winter months. But, there are ways to cheer yourself up during winter, though it takes a little creativity. Like the sneaky monster he is, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) comes for us all when the temperatures start to drop. (Yes, I've made this disorder a male, because I'm sick of destructive storms and the like automatically being designated as female.) However, SAD can be defeated — you just need the right pick-me-ups.
With the correct combo of positive tricks, you can keep that beautiful smile on that even more beautiful face of yours all the way to May. The best part is that most of these things are free. And you don't even need to leave your house — which, especially for introverts (hi there!) — is really a dream come true. Also, none of them require a ton of effort, since most of us have zero energy right now anyway. Give one or all of them a try, and watch your mood instantly improve. Here are all the little ways to cheer yourself up during the winter, because despite the commonality of winter madness, happiness during the cold months is attainable.
1. Write a hate letter to winter.
Tell winter how much it sucks. Tell it to go straight to H-E-double hockey sticks. Put all that pent up rage on paper, and then toss it out into the wretched snow. (And then go pick it up, because you're no litter bug.)
2. Take a nap as often as needed.
Humans aren't bears, obviously. But the inclination to hibernate a bit during winter is something all of us beasts share. So lean into it. If you're tired, take a nap. As a nation, we're overworked and stressed-the-eff-out, so some extra snoozing during winter can only help.
3. Get all kinds of cozy.
Bundling up under a million blankets is fun! Remember how excited you were about sweater weather? Well sweater weather is still going on, so light a fire, make yourself a flavored coffee, and snuggle up on the couch. Say it with me now, "Ahhhhhhhhh."
4. Catch up on all the books you've wanted to read.
If the chilly weather is keeping you locked indoors, take advantage of this forced downtime by exercising your brain. Read, and read some more. It's a decision you will never regret.
5. Plan a trip.
Even if your bank account hates you right now after wiping it out for holiday gifts, plan a trip. You don't even need to book anything, because the act of simply planning something fun will cheer you up. It forces you to acknowledge that better days are coming, and winter will eventually end.
6. Catch up on your favorite shows.
This is the perfect time of year to do this. Binge on the shows you haven't been watching, and get all caught up by the time they return from winter hiatus.
7. Buy a lottery ticket.
Guys, the Powerball jackpot is huge right now. And I know that there's like a one in three million chance you will win, but the act of buying a lottery ticket inspires hope. And hope is something everyone suffering from SAD needs right now.
8. Rearrange your furniture.
Your space can use a change, and since you're stuck inside, now is the perfect time to Feng your Shui.
9. De-clutter your life.
All of us accumulate so much crap. Especially after receiving a sack full of new goodies for the holidays, our apartments are probably packed to the gills with things we no longer need. You can't exactly "in with the new" until you go "out with the old," ya know? So gather up the stuff you no longer want, and donate it.
10. Treat yo self to new spring attire.
You're entering that time of year when retailers begin cleaning out their winter stock for the new spring lines. Buy yourself one spring-y item, and it'll get you psyched to be able to wear it when the warmer weather arrives.
11. Look in the mirror and give yourself some love.
Stop looking out the window with a frown, and take a look in the mirror with a smile. It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like — everyone has features that deserve to be celebrated. So zero in on yours, and give yourself a compliment. Out loud.
12. Call your mom.
Your parents love you and they miss you every second you're not with them. Give them a call, and tell them you love and miss them too.
13. Watch summer movies.
There's nothing better during a miserable snow storm than turning on some Independence Day, or The Sandlot, and seeing your favorite characters enjoying some hilarious summer hijinks. Summer will come again, and this will hold you over until it does.
14. Drink all the hot beverages.
This is the season to suck down all the lattes you can stomach. Try 'em all. Make your own at home. Add some booze for adult versions. Go nuts.
Whether you like it or not, winter is the season for slowing down. And what better way to slow down than to learn how to meditate? You don't have to go all master zen with it and chant your mantra if you don't want to. This is really just learning how to breathe deeply, and focus on remaining supremely calm. You need this. I need this. We all need this right now.
16. Give journaling a go.
Every morning, set a timer and just write in a journal for 10 minutes or so. Don't think, just write. Then look back at what you wrote. This allows you to see where your head is at, what you need to change, and really how you feel. It will do you a world of good to let it out on paper.
17. Do some good.
You don't even need to go anywhere to do good. You can donate to a charity online. Or — my personal favorite — shop online at stores that donate to charity with every purchase. Example: Ten Tree plants 10 trees for every item sold. So you're basically saving the world while buying yourself new comfy clothes. Win-win.
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