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There’s no denying that waking up, then coming home to darkness can be pretty friggin' dreary. But chin up-- here's your helpful guide on how to avoid seasonal depression and maintain a sunny disposition all season long. (No actual sun necessary.)

RELATED: 7 Scientific Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

Woman outside in fall
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1. Escape on the weekends

Half-day Fridays are not just for summer.

Girl outside in fall forest
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2. Spend time outdoors 

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

Friends watching sunrise
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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
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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
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5. Buy blooms

Your kitchen table is already stoked.

Indoor firepalce
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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
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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
PHOTO: LIZ ANDREW/STYLING: ERIN MCDOWELL

8. Throw a Mexican fiesta

Tacos +  margaritas = instant vacation.

Woman wearing fall fashion
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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.
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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
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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 are all foods that help beat the winter blues.

for me eliza kennedy
COVER: CROWN/BACKGROUND: TWENTY20

14. Read escapist summer beach books

The stack of books you never got around to reading when it was so lovely outside.

woman sitting on the beach in winter
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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
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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
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17. Volunteer

Trust us, you'll be hooked.

Window view to fall foliage
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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
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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
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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
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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

Very Hygge!

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
ERIN MCDOWELL

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
SKYNESHER/GETTY IMAGES

26. Find a new show to binge-watch

May we suggest one of these shows?  

Daniel Peluffo
COURTESY OF DANIEL PELUFFO

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