It’s that time of year again.

We are in the deepest part of winter with no sign of spring for another couple of months. The days are short, the nights are freezing, and it’s dark and dreary all other times. This is also the most common time of year for seasonal depression to take place. Many people believe that seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is caused by a decrease in Serotonin levels in the brain due to lack of sunlight and can affect mood and sleep patterns. That’s right, it’s not just “winter blues,” there is an actual scientific reason why we don’t feel like our normal selves when the weather drops below 40 degrees. But since we can’t just crawl into a hole and hibernate until April like most mammals, here’s how to make it through the next few months without losing your mind.

Set Goals For the Day

The simplest way to get yourself out of bed on cold, miserable days is to make a plan. If you set little goals for yourself, you’ll feel more motivated and accomplished - even if these goals are as simple as wake up, shower, make breakfast, buy a new sweater, and begin my essay. Anything as long as you’re keeping yourself busy and active.

Eat Better

During these cold months, you probably want nothing more than calorie-rich comfort food. This is because biologically, our bodies are still in the Stone Age and want to get as much food as possible so we can brave the cold. But don’t forget, food plays a major role in one’s mental health and mood. In winter, your body is deprived of vitamin D due to lack of sunlight which causes us to feel sluggish. You can help by eating vitamin D rich foods like eggs, salmon, and milk.

Exercise

There’s probably nothing you want to do less in winter than bundle up and go to the gym. However, exercise has been proven to ease the symptoms of depression and can even prevent symptoms from coming back. As the great Elle Woods once said, "Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy." Exercise also works towards improving confidence and mood and provides a healthy way of coping with one's problems.

Spend Some Time With Friends

Don’t forget, you’re not the only one who’s stuck in the house with nothing to do. Call up some friends and plan a lunch date or shopping spree. It gives you an excuse to get out of the house and have some fun at the same time.

Cuddle Up!

Sometimes embracing the cold weather can be easier than trying to fight it. Give yourself a winter pamper night. Put on your favorite movie, cozy up in a warm blanket, take a warm bath, and put on a face mask. Embrace the cold and make the best of it.

Declutter/Organize Your Surroundings

Winter is a great time to get organized and declutter your life. Sort through your wardrobe and donate anything you haven’t worn in a while. Decorate and organize your room so you can get a fresh start. You would be amazed how much more in control you will feel when your surroundings are clean.