10 Healthy Habits Of Happy People Who Know How To Survive Winter's Dark Days

All the ways to beat back the blues during the year's coldest, sometimes loneliest days.

November 30, 2015
cat getting some light
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Brighten meals with a 300-watt bulb. Exposure to the light—within 3 feet, three times a day for 20 minutes—may help people grappling with seasonal affective disorder.

Or try Northern Light Technologies’ TRAVelite Desk Lamp, which radiates 10,000 lux when you sit a foot away. (Sick, too? Soothe your cold with these healing herbs.)

volunteer
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Volunteer through the program Create the Good, which matches your skills and schedule to a person, family, or project in need. In one study, 94 percent of volunteers reported that helping others improved their mood.

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blue bottle coffee
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Espresso: Specifically, the 17ft Ceiling blend from Blue Bottle Coffee.

laughing
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Laughter unleashes endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Check out Aziz Ansari playing an indecisive alter ego on his Netflix show, Master of None, or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as they unpack life’s baggage in the film Sisters.

meditating
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Meditate: The scientific findings keep rolling in on the numerous benefits: countering depression, improving attention, even fighting colds. Winter-focused retreats all over the country allow you to dive deeper into the practice. Try these 5 morning meditations to set yourself up for a fantastic day.

 
 
fat biking
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Fat bikes from makers like Surly and Specialized have massive tires that let you cruise through snow. You'll feel 8 years old again.

music
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Download a good album. A recent study showed that music furnished an antidepressive kick when people listened to it just once a week. Fill the Sonos with upbeat artists like LCD Soundsystem.

mardi gras
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Mardi Gras is in February. Make a roux for a pot of gumbo. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

 
 
yoga
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Go deeper into yoga practice through at-home sessions with a favorite teacher. If solo, warm up with sun salutations, then do a mood-boosting bridge pose. Try these 3 energizing yoga poses right now.

dogs in snow
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Go romp in the snow with your dog (and keep her warm with these 5 winter essentials for dogs). No pet? Offer to walk one at the local SPCA.