When the temperature drops and winter really kicks in, it’s easy to settle into the couch and eat snacks until the first thaw. That’s no way to go through life! Here are a few ways to give yourself some soul sunshine – and beat the winter blues.

Cut Back on TV
Granted, when it’s 25 degrees outside, nothing is more appealing than an all-night Netflix binge, but you risk sliding into a Winter slump. Winter is a great time to try out sports that you forgot existed: snowshoeing is an excellent fat-burning exercise that burns twice as many calories as walking, and there’s a special charm about ice skating in the winter. As an added bonus, exercise offsets holiday party food and drinking, plus, it also helps depression and anxiety by releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins (so, you’ll be in a better mood during those really dark days).

Pick Up a New Hobby … Or Reignite An Old One
There’s a reason knitting is so popular. Crafting can help people suffering from anxiety, chronic pain and depression, and it can even increase your happiness. Focusing on knitting, crocheting, needlepoint or other craft helps a person be in the present moment instead of worrying about the future.

Other hobbies do the same thing: Take a painting class, learn a language, or revisit an old hobby, such as practicing an instrument that’s been collecting dust. Crafting, painting, and playing music all provide the opportunity for purposeful movement and add meaningfulness to your day, both of which help chase away the Winter blues.

Helping Others Helps You
Of course, focusing on yourself doesn’t mean you need to be selfish. Try volunteering. Research shows it’s linked to increased well-being and lower depression. There are coat and toy drives during the holidays, but homeless shelters and soup kitchens could always use a helping hand after the holidays too – when it’s still cold and shelters are still busy.

Summer may be over, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from making the most out of every day. Whether you’re practicing an old hobby or a new passion, going on a solo hike through a snowy field or a spending a day in service of those in need, winter can be just as enriching (and as fun) as summer any day.

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