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There’s no denying that waking up, then coming home to darkness can be pretty friggin' dreary. But chin up--there are so many ways (27, in fact) to maintain a sunny disposition all season long. (No actual sun necessary.)

RELATED: 7 Scientific Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

Woman outside in fall

1. Escape on the weekends. Half-day Fridays are not just for summer.

Girl outside in fall forest

2. Spend time outdoors. Fresh air is basically medicine (according to the Mayo Clinic). A crisp midday walk it is.

Friends watching sunrise

3. Watch the sunrise. Luckily it's not crazy early this time of year (around 7 a.m.) so any chance for some daylight, take it.

Woman on computer

4. Make a summer vacation Pinterest board. Science says that planning (cough, daydreaming about) your next summer vacation might just help you make it to April.

Vase with flowers by windowsill

5. Buy blooms. Your kitchen table is already stoked.

Indoor firepalce

6. Start fires. No, not to the blooms. We’re talking crackling logs and glowing embers. This is the stuff fall daydreams are made of. 

Woman standing outside her bright window

7. Let the light in. Take simple steps to maximize what light you do have. (For starters, it’s time to wash those windows and maybe paint a wall or two.)

crunchy chicken tacos

8. Throw a Mexican fiesta. Tacos +  margaritas = instant vacation.

Woman wearing fall fashion

9. Treat yourself to seasonal staples. Suede booties, cozy cashmere knits, camel coats—all great incentives to get outdoors and strut your stuff.


Therapist hand pounding oil for massage.

10. Go the spa. If you’re missing the warmth of the sun on your back, a hot stone massage should fill the void quite nicely. 

Girl painting toe nails

11. Paint your toenails a fun color. For a little pick-me-up every time you take off the woolly socks.

Pasta alla norma recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

12. Eat carbs unabashedly. This is officially a bikini-free zone.

Anti inflammatory salmon bowl
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

13. But mix in energy-boosting foods. Tomatoes, avocados and salmon will all help beat the winter slugs.

for me eliza kennedy

14. Read escapist summer beach books. The ones you never got around to reading when it was so lovely outside.

woman sitting on the beach in winter

15. Even head to the coast. Salt air is good for the soul no matter what, and beach strolls are just as beautiful during the off-months.

A nicely made bed

16. Start your days with a small accomplishment. Make the bed. Or an amazing smoothie. Greeting the day by doing something positive right off the bat affects your entire disposition.

Volunteering to serve food

17. Volunteer. Trust.

Window view to fall foliage

18. Open the windows. Even if it’s chilly, a quick dose of fresh air will keep your place from feeling stuffy.

reeses brownies recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

19. Bake...often. Fact: It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when the house smells like melting butter. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Couple walking their dog outside

20. Keep active. Incorporate natural exercise into your day by walking an extra lap with the dog or taking the stairs at work. Endorphins are endorphins, however you can get 'em.

girl using facial tissue to blow her nose t20 QQr03b

21. But know when to rest. Why are the darkest, coziest months sometimes the busiest? Make sure, though, you're still taking care of yourself so you don't burn out—or, God, get the flu.

woman in yellow jacket holding leaves

22. Dress in color. That pink statement coat taunting you in the window? You should go buy it.

Woman relaxing on couch in loungewear
jacoblund/Getty Images

23. Upgrade your loungewear. Same.

Woman knitting a scarf
UberImages/Getty Images

24. Get creative. Knit scarves. Start a blog to store your photos. Try your hand at watercolors. Making things always leads to a greater sense of fulfillment. 

Broiler Smores

25. Make s’mores indoors. Guess what, kids? You don’t need a campfire to make these feel-good classics. (P.S. Cocoa reduces anxiety.)


Couple watching TV together

26. Find a new show to binge-watch. May we suggest one of these?  

Daniel Peluffo

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