Winter is a great time of year. The holidays bring the opportunity to see family and friends and celebrate. This is also a time when more people tend to get sick, which can be a total bummer.

With everything going on and the stress of the holidays, many of us don’t take as good of care of ourselves as we normally do. Not to mention, the negative effect the grey skies and nasty weather can have on your mood.

Below are a few tips to help you stay upbeat as the winter weather and stress of the holidays arrives.

Exercise

Exercise is known to boost mood, but the cold weather can make it difficult to get motivated to hit the gym. Try giving yourself some incentive.

Set small goals for each week, for example, make it to the gym three times and reward yourself with a small treat when you do. Staying active will help you to stay positive during the doldrums of winter.

Eat for Energy

Try to avoid the fatty and sugary foods. Refined carbs and sugar can cause vast fluctuations in your blood sugar which can make people crabby or crash once the sugar rush is over.

Instead, look for the good carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables. Proteins and B vitamins can also help boost your mood to help mentally beat the cold.

Get Into the Sun When You Can

When the sun does shine, take advantage of it. The sun helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which has been linked to mood regulation. This is also a great time to enjoy activities you can only do in winter that are also great exercise. Try skiing, sledding, ice fishing, ice skating, or building things in the snow like a fort or snowman to get some sun and stay active. Not to mention, this is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with the kids.

Dress Warm

If you keep yourself properly dressed in the cold weather your body will spend less energy trying to keep itself warm. The extra energy burned to stay warm can leave you feeling sluggish so bundle up!

Take the Opportunity to Travel

There isn’t a whole lot to look forward to in the winter after the holidays. Plan a trip, and the anticipation of visiting a different place gives you something to be excited about and raises your mood.

You could even visit a place with a warmer climate to give yourself a shot of sunshine to get you through the rest of your winter. Take care of yourself this winter and keep a positive attitude to beat the wintertime blues.

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA.