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11 Things You Can Do Right Now To Make Winter Feel Less Awful

We can do this.

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A lot of people get down about the seemingly never-ending winter.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

For some people, the winter blues can translate into Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

But whether or not you're suffering from SAD, winter can be a bummer. Here are some ways to make it suck less.

1. Get outside.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

Nothing says "fuck you, Mother Nature" like enjoying life despite her best efforts. Go skiing, sledding, play outdoor hockey with friends, or build a snowman. Your snow-hate has probably made you forget how much fun those activities can be. Major 🔑: The exercise could also help you feel better.

2. Quit talking about how awful it is.

Andy Clark / Reuters

We're all totally guilty of this, and it might actually be making winter feel worse. American researcher Kari Leibowitz recently found that Norwegians — some of whom barely see the sun for months — fend off the blues by looking forward to winter.

3. Simulate sun.

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You can buy special lamps meant to simulate sunlight that can help fight the winter blues. Some Canadian university campuses have these therapy lamps available in health offices for students. If access to a lamp isn't possible, letting more sunlight (when it's around) in by opening curtains can help, too.

4. Live the cozy life.

Instagram: @adriana_rozas

Think of how excited you get for holidays: Hot chocolate by the fire, warm blankets, twinkling lights, and much more. Why does that have to stop come January? You can have it throughout the season — without the holiday stress.

5. Learn to love winter clothes.

You cannot wear Louboutins, or any other heel for that matter, in 20 centimetres of snow. Accept this. But know that you can still look cool by having fun with winter clothing: Think oversized knit sweaters, knee-high socks, and plaid scarves. Feeling good about what you're wearing, instead of frustrated, never hurts.

6. Don't be a loner.

Instagram: @piggulden

It can be tempting to sit inside and do nothing when it's cold. Sometimes that's fine, but don't become a total hermit. Your friends probably make you laugh — and vice versa — so pick up the phone and make some plans. Invite pals over for a movie night, visit your local museum, or get everyone together for a game of shinny.

7. If you have to stay inside, make the most of it.

Emma Loop

OK, it's -30 C and you're stuck indoors. Do relaxing, gratifying things: Play an album you haven't listened to in a while, make a delicious meal, take a hot bath, or redecorate your living room.

8. Get some greenery.

Emma Loop

Putting living things in your home that remind you of spring — as well as tending to them and watching them grow — could make you feel a little better about the frigid weather.

9. Eat stuff that will actually make you feel good.

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That doesn't mean you have to subsist on leaves. But eating balanced meals with some greens has better long-term health effects than devouring chocolate for that quick sugar high. Pro tip: Making meals at home instead of grabbing fast food also saves money, which can be put toward that annoying holiday debt.

10. Surround yourself with animals.

Michaela Rehle / Reuters

Did your brother just get a new puppy? Cool, go hang out with it! Thinking of adopting a cat from the humane society? Do it already! Pets can be loving and cuddly, and taking care of them can help take your mind off the winter sadness. Some universities even have pet therapy sessions students can attend.

11. Plan a getaway.

A week-long getaway to the warm sun of the Caribbean (see: cheap flights) is a great way to break up the winter months. But if that's not an option, even just planning a short ski trip or weekend of camping in the summer can help take your mind off the dreary weather and give you something to look forward to.

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