It's winter, it's darker out more often and sunnier skies aren't as prevalent.  For many, myself included, the winter blues, or some form of seasonal affective disorder can hit hard.

Symptoms will vary from person to person but it's usually a feeling of being more tired in the form of fatigue.  Throw in some depression, maybe a little hopelessness, and it can really suck.  I describe how it is for me to others by saying "I just want to stay in, sleep, and basically do nothing".

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It's important to remember that the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder aren't technically the same thing.  The later, SAD, is more of a clinical form of depression and might mean you should see a doctor for help.  The symptoms of both can be the same, so I'll share what helps me.  In sharing this I will say, I'm not always the best at taking my own advice when in that winter blues slump, but doing something is better than nothing.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/EXERCISING

Black barbell weights on dark hardwood floor, weightlifting training concept.
cyano66
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Admittedly, when you feel the winter blues, getting exercise can be extra tough.  You already feel like doing nothing and being in that lethargic mode doesn't exactly make you feel motivated.  I promise you though, even light exercise will make a difference in how you feel.  Even when it's cold out, get a walk in with the dog, or go to the gym with the intent of only being there for a half hour.  When you think about it, how much time a day can you burn playing on your phone?  A lot, and a half hour of just being active can help perk up your mood.

LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT

Electric Guitar
David Vigil
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Or at least pick up that old guitar you haven't touched in forever.  Learning or relearning an instrument can help stimulate your brain which could help with your mood.  Again like the exercise, it doesn't have to be a three hour ordeal, just take a little time to do something other than sit around.

GO OUT FOR A FEW DRINKS

Group of friends around pub table, toasting drinks, smiling, side view
Digital Vision
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If not going out, have a couple of friends over for cocktails and conversation.  I know as well as anyone that when you don't feel like doing anything, even committing to plans is tough.  For me though, while I might second guess actually having people over or going out when I'm feeling the blues, once I get out it's always fun.

GET A LIGHT THERAPY LAMP OR GO TANNING

SONY DSC
Hanasch
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You might think it's crazy to go tanning and I know there's cons to doing that, but it makes my pasty self feel great.  They also make lights that are designed to help with SAD and the Winter Blues.  The Verilux HappyLight is a well rated unit that I have two friends who swear by it.

TAKE A VACATION

Couple relaxing on beach
Jupiterimages
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For too many years I didn't treat myself to a trip somewhere different and also warmer than the Northern climates I live in.  If you live where it's dark and cold in the winter, get the hell out of there for even a few days.  I'm always recharged after those trips away from the cold depressing winter.

Those are a few potential winter blues killers on my list.  What works best for you?

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