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Beat the winter blues this January and February.

old people playing chess

After the festive season is over and before spring arrives, many people feel down.

Maybe it's the cold weather or shortened daylight hours. Those things can lead to very bad moods and a profound lack of optimism about the future. However, there are some things you can to help improve your chances of staying upbeat.

1) Stay active

It is easy to stop getting as much exercise in winter, as the weather is not really suitable for many outdoor sports or active pursuits. However, don’t let this stop you from exercising; exercise releases chemicals called endorphins that help to bolster mood and increase your sense of well-being.

Try to find a nearby gym where you can work out, or simply opt to do workouts in your own home. For example, you might want to order an aerobics DVD, or start learning yoga in the house.

2) Take advantage of the daylight

Whenever you can, try to make sure that you spend some time outdoors. For example, you may choose to have a walk in the park after work, or perhaps walk to the store instead of driving.

Even a little exposure to the light could lift your spirits, and some places look beautiful in the colder seasons. With a thick coat and a warm scarf, you might find fifteen minutes outsides to be truly pleasant.

3) Plan for the summer

It can be easier to wait out the unpleasant winter weather if you focus on the good things that are to come. Try investigating possible vacation destinations and looking at inspiring pictures of your destination.

If possible, you can even book plane tickets or hotel rooms for your summer getaway. When your vacation plans are in place, it is just a matter of counting down the days until the sunshine is back in your life.

4) Don’t make unrealistic new year’s resolutions

If you set yourself unachievable goals, it is easy to become depressed shortly after the new year begins. For example, if you tell yourself that you’re going to lose a stone within the first 2 weeks of January, you’re likely to be disappointed.

However, choosing realistic and sensible new year’s resolutions can actually help to keep your spirits up, as you will see yourself making tangible progress towards your goals.

Good examples include making more time for significant relationships, spending at least 3 hours a week on cardiovascular exercise, and allowing yourself to spend more time enjoying your more relaxing hobbies.

5) Find fun things to do indoors

Instead of feeling sad when heavy snow or rain makes outdoor activities impossible, find exciting and entertaining things to do inside your house.

You may want to play board games with family members, take up indoor hobbies like knitting or playing a new instrument, or just spend some time reading enthralling new fiction books. By combining any of these activities with a warm fire or a candlelit living room, you can find yourself beginning to relish the winter weather instead of resenting it.

6) Consider a light box If your low mood relates to seasonal affective disorder (or SAD), you could find yourself feeling much better if you choose to buy a light box. These devices can simulate sunlight, and some sufferers find that light boxes transform their lives in the winter months.

7) Be smart about your finances A large source of depression in January and February relates to the excessive spending that typically characterizes the festive season. If you have found that your savings have been dwindling and you’re really beginning to worry about your money situation, try to make a clear budget and stick to it each month.

If you struggle to do so, you can ensure that a portion of your money is moved to a savings account on a monthly basis, preventing you from spending any more than you have allocated for your budget. You may also want to consider ending your use of credit cards, especially if you tend to be impulsive about purchases.

8) Plan indoor trips Even though it is winter, you can still plan to go out with your partner and make dates with friends or relatives; you just have to think of destinations that are warm and covered. Good ideas included a dinner date followed by a trip to the cinema, a trip to an indoor aquarium or a day at a spa,

9) Nurture your relationships Unfortunately, January is a peak time for divorce lawyers. Stressful family gatherings and high expectations around the time of the festive season can build resentments and lead to couples having arguments early in the new year. As a result, it is good to make time for your partner.

Organize dates, make sure you have sincere conversations, and try to be kind to each other in times of stress.

10) Acknowledge your problems and work towards solutions If the above tips do not seem to be helping you to stay cheerful during the months of January and February, perhaps something more significant is causing you to feel down.

You may want to try making a list of all of the things are bothering you, whether they are large or small. After that, you can think about potential solutions, and develop an action plan for each issue. This act in itself can help to relieve some of your burdens.

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