Wintertime can easily activate something known as the “winter blues” in many people. There is less daylight, the temperatures are colder, and it often seems as though the sun disappears for hours at a time. Luckily, there are different strategies available that can help beat the winter blues.

Make Your Surroundings Bright
Our bodies crave sunlight. When the sun doesn’t want to cooperate, being next to an artificial light source can help beat the winter blues tremendously. This device is often called a “light therapy box” and can be found online. For those who do not have one, keeping the curtains and blinds open to let in the sunlight can also help. Light therapy can help with both the winter blues and more serious signs of depression.

Get Out and Exercise
It can be hard getting out of bed when the winter blues hit. But research has shown that those who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can lower their rate of depression. Exercising under bright lights may also help those with seasonal depression. If the weather allows for it, getting out in the sun for a walk or run can help with the winter blues.

Listen to Your Favorite Music
Studies have shown that cheery and upbeat music can significantly improve how a person feels. According to one STUDY, the use of music therapy can help mentally and even physically. During the winter, it is especially important to stay happy and cheerful, so putting together a playlist of favorite tunes can help. Music you can dance to is especially beneficial to those fighting the winter blues.

Eat Healthier
It’s easy to eat foods that aren’t the best when the winter season rolls around. It’s even worse when the holidays come up, and there are a ton of extra temptations. However, certain foods are shown to help enhance moods in the winter. Dark chocolate, in moderation, is one of them. Healthy protein, such as milk, yogurt, and lean beef, can help boost mental alertness. A healthy diet may not cure the winter blues for everyone, but it can be part of an overall treatment for mild to moderate depression.

It is important to remember that while these tips can be beneficial, it’s important to see your physician if you find your symptoms getting worse or not improving over time. Your mental health is as essential to your overall well-being as your physical health. You’re not taking care of yourself if you’re not taking care of your mental health.