Four fun ways to help you beat SAD symptoms this winter

If the winter weather leaves your mood less than upbeat, try these easy strategies for a quick pick-me-up.

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As most Canadians know, sun is scarce this time of year. We slug through grey days on slushy streets with frozen toes. And that sun’s shyness certainly doesn’t help with the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that comes around annually for lots of us. If you’re like me, you have to take your mood into your own hands and cultivate some cheer-up strategies to help get you through these dreary, cold days. Use these mood boosters to brighten up:

1. Visit friends
With two working parents and a set of young kids with busy schedules, fitting in friend time can be tricky. That said, I try to escape with buds as much as I can to pick up my mood and lately that’s included lunch with an old friend who I don’t see enough of, a tea and cupcake night with another pal and a movie night with a former boss-turned-friend. These are my mini mood boosters and I rely on them frequently.

2. Move, move, move
I love walking, but wimp out pretty fast when the cold hits. But moving helps lift my mood and ease my stress so I get out for runs regularly or make it to my jazz class. When all else fails, well, there’s always Just Dance on my Wii in the basement.

3. Cook!
I make like famed Canuck chef Michael Smith and get into the kitchen. Unlike the quickie cooking I opt for in the summer, in the winter I find happiness in my kitchen (even if the floor is a bit cold). I pull open the blinds to the patio window and fire up my tools — this week’s dishes include Valentine’s sugar cookies, pot roast in the slow cooker and homemade pizza.

4. Cuddle
I’ve got a lot of love to give so I’m snatching my kids constantly to squeeze a hug out of them or a quick peck on the cheek. Ditto my husband. And while my kids are warping past the cuddly stage, I’m still happy to have them draped over me after school as they take in Phineas and Ferb.

What about you — what do you do to pick your mood up during the February blahs? If you want to find out more about SAD, the Canadian Mental Health Association has an information page here.