Personal tips on how to stay happy in the winter

While the winter brings joy with its icy wonderland, exciting holidays, and yearly nostalgia, it can also bring depression.

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), occurs at the time of year when there’s less sunlight, causing a variety of possible symptoms, such as fatigue, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. The best ways to treat it include various types of therapy.

However, one doesn’t need to have SAD in order to feel affected. Between the lack of sunlight, stress of the holidays, and cold weather, anyone can feel down, especially in New England where the short days and chill last for half a year. 

Personally, I’ve noticed that seasonal depression is a big issue for me. Every year, I feel tired, unhappy, and unmotivated when there’s less sun outside and less oxygen from our trees!

This year, however, I’m prepared, and I’m sharing some of my favorite tips to feel happy and energized in those long dark months. I hope these help you out if you go through something similar.

1. Invest in a “daylight” lamp

An example of a “daylight lamp” available on

Commonly known as bright light therapy, using an artificial natural light lamp can possibly help to lift a person’s mood and alleviate other “winter blues” symptoms, such as fatigue (Mayo Clinic). The fake light simulates sun, a major benefactor for bright moods, vitamin D intake, and restful sleep. Light boxes or light lamps can be purchased for as cheap as $25 on Amazon.

2. Change your routine

When dark, cold days replace plant growth and sunlight, the season can seem to drag on and on. The best tip I’ve found to combat this is to change your daily routine, specifically,, your exercise routine. Alternating between HITT, cardio, weights, stretching, or even dancing can make exercise lots more interesting, along with benefiting your body during the holidays. Additionally, find ways to make your day more special, like making an interesting drink in the afternoon or lighting holiday-themed candles! 

Healthy, colorful winter snacks can make a difference. (Dani Lewis)

3. Nutrition

When fruits and typical veggies stop growing locally as the seasons change, we tend to buy less fresh products or stop eating them altogether! Nutrition is especially important in the winter time, for both our immune system and overall happiness. Brightening winter-grown root veggies with citrus like oranges and lemon can easily make meals more exciting! Additionally, researchers believe that mindfully enjoying a piece of chocolate can boost your mood( I’m currently in this habit with bittersweet dark chocolate chips, and I contend that it’s quite wonderful!

4. Stay hydrated and get more sleep

The winter season is known as the flu and cold season, where our immune systems can be compromised. In order to prevent catching a sickness that can leave you miserable for weeks, Chicago chef Diana Dàvila recommends drinking lots of water and always getting plenty of sleep(

5.  See a therapist

Finally, getting a therapist might be the best way to go. There’s absolutely no shame in getting help and being open about feeling blue in the winter. If a therapist isn’t quite in reach, a guidance counselor can help, or if you need someone to talk to, a friend or trusted adult will be willing to listen. On that note, spending time with loved ones and being social can lift your mood as well.

We’ve officially entered the dark months! While winter comes with its challenges like any season, it’s still worth recognizing its beauty, whether that’s sipping a mug of hot cocoa, skiing on the mountains, sitting in front of a fire, or watching the gentle falling snow.

I hope this article helps you to place yourself in a position where you can enjoy these beautiful moments as fully as you deserve. Happy winter, and cheers to 2023!!