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Summer is the best (duh), and the end of summer is the worst (duh). But it doesn’t have to be. Especially if you follow these six proven steps to keep your summer energy from dipping as the temperature does.

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Go Outside

This one isn’t doable in, like, a blizzard. But when you can, go outside to boost your mood. Studies have shown that even on cold and cloudy days, outdoor light can combat seasonal affective disorder—especially when experienced within a few hours of waking up.

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Plan Your Next Vacation

One way to make it through the winter with your energy levels intact is to have something to look forward to—a light at the end of the cold tunnel, if you will. Per a 2010 study of people in the Netherlands, those who had vacations planned experienced a spike in pre-trip happiness. The anticipation of a fun getaway boosts your mood in the days, weeks and months leading up to it—even when the thermometer reads -10°F.

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Eat the Right Foods

When it’s cold and miserable outside, we often want to curl up with food that’s warm, comforting and not necessarily healthy. But before you dig into a vat of mac and cheese, consider that certain foods work wonders for boosting your mood. As the weather gets colder, drink milk for vitamin D (which you normally get from sun exposure), snack on pumpkin seeds for zinc (which helps the body fight off inflammation) and sprinkle cinnamon (which helps combat anxiety and depression) into your morning coffee. 

RELATED: A Sneaky Little Cinnamon Trick for Your Morning Coffee

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Make a Killer Playlist

When we’re having a bad day, one of the first things we do is pop in our earbuds and fire up our favorite playlist. Turns out, we’ve been on to something. A study by the University of Missouri found that upbeat music can positively affect your mood. The study compared the moods of two groups listening to cheerier music by Copland and more somber music by Stravinsky, so just imagine what the new Regina Spektor album could do for you.

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Get Moving

We know, you’ve heard it a million times, but exercise really is a miracle worker when it comes to putting a little pep in your step. A 2013 study at Harvard University found that participants who walked briskly for about 35 minutes a day five times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. If you can’t get outside in the middle of the winter, consider hitting a fun class at the gym or even doing a quick YouTube workout from the comfort of home.

RELATED: 21 Fun Ways to Exercise If You Hate the Gym

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Be Mindful

Mindfulness meditation—basically, focusing your attention and doing nothing—has been shown to decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. It’s also really easy to do: Once or twice a day, sit in a comfortable position in a quiet room and just breathe while becoming hyperaware of your body. It’s relaxing, it relieves stress and it might help dissolve negative feelings.

RELATED: 8 Things That Might Happen If You Start Meditating

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