How to Be Happy When the Weather is Crappy

The chilly weather and grey skies of winter can really dampen our moods. In fact it is perfectly normal to feel a bit down in January and February. With less natural sunlight, our daily body rhythms become out-of-sync. There’s actually a term for this: seasonal affective disorder (a.k.a. “SAD”). The good news is that there’s no need to let the weather get you down.  With a few intentional choices you can still be happy even when the “sun don’t shine.” Read on for some simple tips to add joy to your life and happiness to your heart.

Seek Good Company:  Although it may be tempting, don’t isolate yourself. Instead, get out and surround yourself with positive people. Select wisely your friends and those with whom you spend time. People who genuinely care about you and speak words that bring life and hope to you are just what the doctor ordered. While there is nothing wrong with you or a friend occasionally venting over a cup of joe, try to weed out those people that constantly complain (“Debbie downers”) and zap your energy. Instead seek out those who see the glass as half full. Especially when you’re feeling blue, good friend and a good conversation can be like a warm ray of sunshine.

Be Productive:  On those days when the weather is r-e-a-l-l-y bad and all you want to do is cozy in, give yourself permission. But do try to use the time productively. While time to rest and refresh is super important, too many days of inactivity can sometimes cause feelings of sadness (not to mention sluggishness). Seize the moment and the opportunity to cross something off your list. Consider putting on your favorite tunes and cleaning your apartment or organizing a closet. Crank up the music, dance, sing…do whatever it takes to have fun in the process.  Not only will you get something accomplished, it’s also a great way to get your body moving and your endorphins flowing! What’s more you’ll feel lighter as you purge unnecessary things from your home and life. (Hello, Marie Kondo~)

March Ahead – When the weather is cold and dreary, it can be hard to remember that winter only lasts but a few months. Why not combat a case of the winter blues by adding some spring into your step? Start with a touch of color – perhaps in a sweater, scarf or even a lipstick. Continue by adding color into your home with a new piece or art, pillows, placemats – even fresh flowers. (Bonus with fresh flowers: your home will actually smell like spring.)  Swap out your typical comfort food and instead embrace a light, warm weather salad, frozen dessert or fruity cocktail.  Fire up movie night with a summer flick…Think “Weekend at Bernie’s” or “Little Miss Sunshine.”  While the calendar may still say January, you can absolutely embrace a warm and sunny mindset!

Keep Moving – Studies have shown that regular exercise not only improves your health, but also your mood. Whether it’s taking the stairs, joining a gym, stretching with a yoga or dancing with Zumba, this city offers countless creative ways you keep you moving, while staying warm this winter. If you already have a workout routine, spice it up with something you haven’t tried before – i.e., indoor rock climbing or ballroom dancing.  And for more fun, encourage a pal to join you. You can share a chuckle and enjoy quality time while you try something new together!

Think of Others – While it may be counter-intuitive, sometimes shelving your own “stuff” and focusing on others is the best antidote to feeling sad. Take a moment and think of those in your life that may need a phone call or words of encouragement. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor or service provider.  You can take it one step further and look for opportunities to serve this winter. Organizations like Hope for New York ( or have easy ways to sign up and to serve the NYC community. Remember that even if you are feeling down, you can still be a source of strength to someone else.

So don’t just sit around and wait for spring. Regardless of the season, enjoying life is a choice we make. It may take intention and commitment but you can still be happy even when the weather is crappy!

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