9 Ways to Fight Winter Blues

by Claire Luchette

SAD: the self-defining acronym. It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs the same time every year, typically in late autumn and winter. Now that the days are shorter, it's prime time for sadness and SADness, but you don't have to be blue all winter. Here are science's best tips for keeping your chin up in the cold months.

1. Have a cup of green tea.

Boosting your antioxidant intake has been found to help with stress and symptoms of depression, and the light touch of caffeine will give you just enough of a jolt.

Lipton 100% Natural Green Tea, $12, Amazon

2. Show some gratitude to someone.

Whether you call your mom and tell her how amazing she is, or you tell your best friend how much you value her advice, letting someone know how much they mean to you is a sure-fire way to feel warmer.

3. Get some exercise.

A study from the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology says that more physically active people report greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Go for a walk or jog, do some yoga, or stretch for half an hour. Get some endorphins any way possible. You can even get a personal trainer in the form of a fitness app.

Gaiam Print Yoga Mat, $21.98, Amazon

4. Heed the stress-reducing methods Marina Abramovic taught Lady Gaga.

Okay so maybe this one isn't backed by science, but Lady Marina taught Lady Gaga to employ the so-called Abramovic Method in order to find her center. This included sorting and counting grains of rice and lentils, and/or "hugging a tree and complaining for fifteen minutes or more to the tree." We'll probably stick with therapy, but hey, whatever works for you.

5. Talk to a therapist about how you feel.

The American Psychological Association states that “There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of therapy are far better off than untreated individuals with emotional difficulties.”

6. Get enough sleep.

Seriously, the reruns of Frasier aren't going anywhere. Get eight or nine hours a night, and don't bring your computer or phone into bed with you. Trying to tackle insomnia can be a very successful first method of attacking the blues.

7. Consider light therapy.

This involves sitting next to a light box that mimics outdoor light. Or just spend all the (bundled up) time outside that you can. The positive, mood-lifting effects of light therapy start showing in just a couple days, says the Mayo Clinic.

NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light Therapy Lamp, $66, Amazon

8. Volunteer.

Serve meals at a soup kitchen, take abandoned pets for walks, or tutor kids. Do something for someone else a couple hours a week. According to HuffPo, research in Britain showed that those who volunteer are generally happier and healthier.

9. Above all, be kind to yourself.

Take good care of you!