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  • Often, we feel less happy and less motivated during the winter months; we feel more irritable, fatigued, sad, and frustrated, instead.
  • These feelings can make it incredibly hard to find happiness and accomplish those New Year’s resolutions; fortunately, though, if we tweak our day to day habits this winter we can take good care of our mental health and stay on top of those goals.
  • First, skip the gym and work out outside instead; there are countless activities you can perform outside that’ll give you the workout while also exposing you to fresh air and natural sunlight.
  • It’ll also help to make some adjustments to your diet: try eating less carbs and more nutrient-packed foods (especially those with vitamin D), like fish and eggs.
  • If you suffer significantly in the winter from the difficult feelings we mentioned above, it might also be worth considering a move or at least a vacation to a warmer place.
  • Finally, consider working with a counselor or life coach, who can evaluate your specific case and help you live a happier, healthier, more successful live this winter.

Each year, we all make resolutions that we can’t keep. We promise ourselves we will cut back on all the junk food, go to the gym after work, and finally get that promotion. But then comes January: the days are short and we don’t get as much sunlight, which causes many of us to feel down and less motivated. We face fatigue, withdrawal from others, frustration, irritability, a lack of energy, and sadness. This (understandably) makes accomplishing our goals feel next to impossible.

We want to show you that it isn’t impossible. You can keep your resolutions, even in the dead of winter. We’re not saying it’ll be easy, but it will be easier and prove doable if you follow these tips, which are rooted in science and meant to help you find happiness and motivation this winter:

1) Work out… outside!

No, we aren’t kidding. Instead of going to the gym (like so many of us promise we’ll do in the new year), grab some gloves and a coat and head outside. You can play with your kids, sled, ski, build snow forts, take a walk, go for a run, shovel your driveway, or even ride your bike. The fresh air and natural light are good for you. And the combined benefits of exercising, being outside, and socializing (if you decide to play with your kids or invite a friend on your workout) will work wonders for your mental health.

2) Treat vitamin D like gold.

If you aren’t on good terms with vitamin D, it’s time to get on good terms. Vitamin D gives us a natural energy boost, and not having enough in the winter is part of why many of us experience the blues. You can get vitamin D in two different ways: First, you can spend more time outside and absorb it in the sunlight, or, you can get it from eating certain foods. A few foods that contain vitamin D include fortified milk, egg yolks, liver, and certain kinds of fish. Now, you can also take vitamin D supplements and ingest it that way. In any case, increasing your vitamin D intake (if you’re not getting enough) will make you feel a lot better this winter. It’ll help to restore your happiness and motivation, and in turn, help you keep up with your goals.

3) Make comfort foods a special treat.

We know how tempting it is to load up on comfort foods when the weather is cold, but munching on carbs all day long, all season long isn’t a great idea. These heavy foods will make you want to retreat into the warmth of your bed until the cold months recede. You should stick to foods that are loaded with vitamins, like fish, fruits, and nuts. Now, we’re not saying you should stop eating carbs entirely… but we bet that if you cut back you’ll see an improvement in your mood and productivity levels.

4) Head south for the winter.

That’s right: it’s totally okay to escape the cold winter months for warmth. Some of us are especially sensitive to the effects of shorter, colder days on our mental and emotional health. If you’d fare better in a warmer place, and you have the means to make it happen, do it! I mean, instead of sharing a sunny beach with thousands of other people in July, you’ll get some nice peace and quiet. You’ll also pay less money than you would if you vacationed in the summer. Win, win!

5) Consider working with a counselor or life coach.

If you’re suffering from the ill effects that many others experience in the winter—the sadness, lack of energy, and irritability that we talked about earlier—consider working with a mental health professional. They’ll formulate a treatment plan that will help you live better. Additionally, a life coach could help you find that motivation and accountability you’re missing to work toward and accomplish your goals this winter.

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