7 creative ways to shake off the winter blues

Are you finding it hard to function this winter? You're not alone. From hosting a fabulous party to taking up a new hobby, discover expert tips that will help you shake off the winter blues.

How to shake off the winter blues: Tips 4-7
4. Get growing
It might not seem like the best time to be thinking about gardening, but taking on a few low-maintenance houseplants can greatly improve your mood. Not only do plants help brighten up a room, but the process of caring for your indoor winter garden can also be therapeutic. Try a peace lily or English ivy -- they both have air-purifying qualities.

5. Set a goal
Sure, summer seems impossibly far away, but not when you think of it as a bikini-ready-body deadline -- you’ll be amazed at how quickly the clock starts to tick!

Of course, the goal doesn't have to be fitness-related; it can be financial or geared toward the completion of a specific project, such as redecorating a bedroom or finishing that sweater you started knitting months ago.

Break down any ambitious undertakings into smaller tasks to complete throughout the winter months (so instead of trying to lose 25 pounds by Victoria Day, aim to lose five pounds a month). That way you can achieve that mood-boosting sense of accomplishment more frequently, which will increase the likelihood of successfully hitting your goal.

6. Stay home
Long nights and plummeting temperatures create the perfect opportunity for a bit of introspection; it's time to spend on things that will nurture your emotional well-being. When you're feeling particularly put out by the gloominess of the season, do whatever it is that makes you happy: listen to upbeat music, watch a favourite film or consider spending an entire evening reading in bed.

Allow yourself to be a bit of a homebody from time to time, and experience hibernation as an indulgence, not a punishment. In small doses, retreating from the outside world can have rejuvenating effects.

7. Get help
The winter blahs affect many people to varying degrees, but they are manageable. However, if you're experiencing symptoms of depression that are disruptive or debilitating, and that last for a prolonged period, you should speak to a medical professional.

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