5 ways to beat the winter blues

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As joyful as the holiday season can be, fewer daylight hours can leave us feeling a little less upbeat than usual. These simple tips can help you stave off the winter blues and leave you feeling cheerful:

Take a walk outside

Soak up as much natural daylight as possible by taking a walk outside. Bundle up, make some hot cocoa in a to-go cup, bring a few friends and walk around the neighborhood to admire the holiday lights. It might be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the outdoors entirely. When you come back inside, pull back the blinds to let as much warm light stream into your house as possible.

Give yourself a massage

You don’t need to make a trip to the spa in order to experience a relaxing massage. Schedule some “me time” into your day and tend to the areas of your body that might be sore or fatigued, like your feet and back.

Avoid refined flours

It can be tempting to stock up on comfort foods like cookies and macaroni and cheese, but your body needs carbs and natural sugars that take longer to digest. With whole grains, you won’t experience a spike in blood sugar and your body will produce elevated levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining mood balance.

Make time for exercise

A healthy diet isn’t the only factor that controls mood. Exercise is a big help when it comes to warding off depression. Working out releases endorphins throughout your body, which improves one’s natural immunity and boosts mood. If you don’t feel like jumping on a treadmill, though, you don’t have to. Find other creative ways to exercise that you’ll actually enjoy, like skiing or ice skating.

Schedule fun activities

When it gets dark at 4 p.m., it can be hard to motivate yourself to go anywhere or do anything. However, having that social time with friends and family is imperative to brightening your mood.

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