Don't let the winter keep you down

When the leaves start to fall in autumn, we all get a little bit excited. What’s not to love about the changing colors, crunching leaves and pumpkin-spice everything? There’s also Halloween and Thanksgiving, which fade nicely into the hallmark of the winter season, Christmas holidays.

Once the excitement of Christmas dies down, though, you’re still smack-dab in the middle of the coldest season with a few more months of shivering ahead of you. It’s no surprise this realization can be a downer — in fact, some people’s internal clocks get thrown off by the change in sunlight that they have what’s called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which leaves sufferers feeling sad just because it’s winter.

Now, not everyone has SAD, but the winter can still bring your mood down, whether you like it or not. That’s why we’ve put together the following five ways to fight back against frigid temps and icy precipitation: each one will help you relax, warm up and be a bit more okay with the fact that spring is still a few weeks away.

1. Go to the Spa

Everyone deserves a day of pampering, especially in the midst of the year’s most gloomy months. It’s up to you to decide which treatment will best fit your needs, though most spas offer facials, pedicures and massages, to name a few.

The latter is a proven method for improving one’s mood — studies have shown that a massage as short as 15 minutes can make recipients feel better. Massage can also ease anxiety, stress and depression, as well as anger. In short, no matter what you’re feeling this winter, a long massage might just help knead it away.

2. Host a Bake-a-Thon

You probably did this at some point prior to Christmas, and you probably remember now how much fun it was. Why not schedule another baking fest for you and your friends? It’ll do triple-duty by giving you something fun (and cheap) to do, allowing you to socialize and providing you with a table full of tasty treats in which to indulge — there’s not much better than that.

Because this activity incorporates a bit of camaraderie, you’ll walk away feeling fantastic, whether or not you burn your cupcakes. Friends have a slew of positive effects on a person’s state of mind. They can make you feel calmer, more cheerful and less stressed; they can also help you live longer. We think it’s time to schedule that party, huh?

3. Head to the Cinema

Now, this might seem counter-intuitive: why would a day at the movies by myself make me feel good if friends are so valuable to my state of mind? You have a point, but you are also showing that you have yet to go to the cinema by yourself.

We promise it’s a relaxing experience, as you get to pick the movie, the theater, the time, the seats, the snacks. Make the experience even more serene by choosing a matinee showing when the theater is even less likely to be crowded. You’ll feel like the only person in the room, and you will be very happy about that.

4. Spice Up Your (Accessories) Wardrobe

It’s time to treat yourself in the most traditional way: head to the mall and start shopping. We’re not suggesting you go on an over-the-top shopping spree, but there’s no harm in buying yourself something special on a dismal winter’s day.

You might even consider going extra special and buying yourself a piece of jewelry — it’s sure to lift your spirits, unlike trying on itchy wool sweaters and snow boots. There’s certainly an art to buying an affordable accessory. For example, it’s best to avoid big brand names in favor of lesser-known designers so that you don’t break the bank. The best thing about buying a new piece of jewelry, though, is the fact that you can wear it from now until warm weather and beyond.

5. Bulk up your bedding

Sleep is a foundational part of those feel-good vibes you seek, and a beautiful, comfortable bed is one way to ensure you’re catching the best possible Z’s, Take a good, hard look at your bed set. Is it soft and fluffy? Do you look forward to cozying up in warm sheets tucked under a plush duvet? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, the shopping trip mentioned above might have to include a trip to the nearest department store’s home linens section.

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