**This post was contributed by Madalyne Staab
“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say, Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break.”
Although those lines may not be entirely true (the sun may be here one day and gone the next), the feeling of happiness and freedom is still in the air. These lyrics, from the hit song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, capture what I am hoping a lot of people are starting to feel: happiness.
This winter was brutal. We survived freezing temperatures simulating a sub-zero Antarctic tundra, as well as a fair amount of Colorado snow. But, with the passing of spring break, summer is trying to make an appearance.
It is like that scene from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe;” the snow and ice are melting and the trees are starting to bloom, the grass is getting greener, the birds are singing and the winter parkas are finally being pushed to the back of the closet.
What should also be returning is that feeling of joy. It’s a known fact that people feel more depressed in the winter months than the summer months. There is even a classified illness that accounts for this; SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is the “onset of depression during the late fall and early winter months,when less natural sunlight is available,” according to WebMD.
The lack of sunlight can actually make you feel sadder, which is why we tend to feel happier and more uplifted once spring and summer arrive.
But, you shouldn’t have to wait for the summer and sun to feel happy. There are a lot of ways you can accomplish this, even during the dreariest of winter months. Discover an exercise that you enjoy and gets your heart rate up. Running and swimming are activities you can do year round, as long as you have access to an indoor pool.
Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding and even a snowball fight are all great ways to put down your hot chocolate, your fuzzy blanket and get moving. Doing something that makes you feel good both inside and out is definitely a smart option in those darkest of winter days.
Uplift your spirits by reconnecting with family and friends. Hanging out with people that make you laugh and smile is an obvious way of feeling better fast. Meeting up for a home-cooked meal, a movie date, or even just sitting by the fire and playing a board game is a sure way to put a smile on your face.
However, sometimes you need to just embrace the weather. When the snow is coming down and the temperature is below freezing, pull out your favorite winter coat, put on those Sorrels, grab that adorable beanie and go outside and simply enjoy the snow.
As Pharrell Williams’ insanely catchy song states, “Clap along if you know what happiness is to you, because I’m happy.”
Feeling happy may seem difficult in these cold winter months, and even into spring (we had a snow day here at CSU on May 1 last year). But there are easy ways to perk up your mood until you too can sing, “because I’m happy.”
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