The holidays are long gone. The new year celebration has died down. And you find yourself stuck in a never-ending cycle of work, school, chores, errands, and the like. The demands are high and you’re pressed for time. And before you know it, the daily grind has chewed you up and spit out a depressed, bitter, and very exhausted you.

It’s normal to feel blue during the winter months as the seemingly endless grey skies won’t budge, the weather remains chilly (and sometimes frigid), and the sun sets so early that you never see the light of day (literally!).

The good news is, there are lots of ways to get out of this rut. Here are 10 ways to lift your spirits and bring brighter and happier days ahead:

1. Get Some Sunlight

With the little amount of sunlight we get a day during this time of year, we might as well call ourselves Edward Cullen. (We might even be as pale!) The sun seems to set just as we get off of work or finish up the school day, but fear not, we can still get our shine on. Go outside during lunch break and soak up some sun. Even if it’s for half an hour, sunlight will surely take you out of vampire mode. If going outside during lunch is not an option, consider taking a early morning walk. You can bask in the sun, clear your mind, and start your day with a positive mindset. Taking walks in the morning or during your lunch break (even for 10 minutes!) can lift spirits.

Can’t get your sunlight fix? Try sitting next to a window, if you can, during the day. Although you won’t be able to get your Vitamin D through a window, you can still bask in sunlight to boost moods. Or try an LED light in your workspace for some faux sun-loving.

 2. Exercise

We all know that exercising is good for you. And, it can help release endorphins, the feel-good hormone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting, “at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity,” with a general goal of 30 minutes a day. However, many people do not follow these recommendations. They say, “I have no time” or “I’m too busy,” but incorporating physical activity doesn’t have to be hard or take up long chunks of your time.

Instead of a 30 minute walk, how about taking a 10-minute walk now, and another 10-minute walk later, and one more for the evening? You can break up your exercising time and reap the benefits of staying active and being happy.

 3. Socialize

Winter (especially with the chilly weather) can make you want to stay in, curl up in a blanket, and turn on the telly. But why not brave the bitter winds and march on over to a friend’s house? Or, better yet, host a small get-together with friends and/or family. There’s no better way to lift your mood then being in good company.

Have a game night! Or go bowling! Join a cooking class! There are so many things to do besides sitting at home isolated.

 4. Brighten Up Your Life (Literally!)

Known as chromo therapy, the presence of bright colors could really cheer you up. Wear colorful clothes, like pink, red, yellow, green, and orange. Paint your walls a bright color. Or your nails (if walls is too much for you). Eat a plant filled with a rainbow of colors. Let your imagination run wild on this one!

“Yellows and oranges promote joy and laughter and also aid in improving focus,” said  ChicagoHealers.com practitioner Karen Erickson to SheKnows, “The more surrounded you are with rich colors, the happier you are!”

 5. Perform Kind Acts

Acts of kindness not only lifts the spirits of others, but can also lift yours. According to Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, “a company in Spain showed that asking some employees to be generous to a randomly chosen list of colleagues (we called this our “Secret Santa” manipulation) produced huge benefits (for increasing happiness, connectedness, flow, and decreasing depression) not just for the givers, but for the receivers and even for observers.  The recipients of kindness “paid the kind acts forward” and even acquaintances of the givers became happier and were inspired to act more generously themselves.”

Let’s be kinder to others and, in turn, bring happiness to them and to ourselves.

6. Get Beauty Sleep

Getting enough sleep will not only help your skin look great, it can also make you cheerier. Try to maintain a consistent sleep-wake schedule so that your body gets use to it. (That includes the weekend!) Lack of sleep has been shown to cause car accidents and less productivity, among others. Oversleeping can also cause lots of problems, including sleep drunkenness, a stage where a person is between sleep and being awake.

“In one case, a patient who had sleep drunkenness came to the emergency room because his wife thought he had a stroke,” according to CNN.

So, don’t sleep too little, but also don’t over do it.

7. Eat Healthy 

Diet can affect many things: your weight, your health, and your mood. So, it’s important to incorporate a range of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. It’s normal to reach for the sugar-laden snack or the fat-loaded bag of chips. But, let’s control our temptations and work towards eating healthier options.

Try adding these 10 super-healthy, but under-appreciated foods into your diet.

8. Go Back to Your Center

If all else fails, try going back to your center. Whether it be yoga, meditation, journaling, hiking, etc., you are the only person that knows best what centers you, from anxiety, depression, to bitterness. Try singing a familiar tune or looking through old photos. There’s so many ways to reconnect with your inner self and be one.

What are some things that you do to ward off the winter blues? Let us know with a comment below!

Image Source: George Ruiz/Flickr