Not feeling the holiday spirit? Do the holidays have you feeling glum? If so, you’re not the only one. Did you know holidays have a tendency of making those who feel happy, happier? and those who feel sad, sadder?

Maybe you’re grieving a breakup, divorce, death of a loved one or even the diagnosis of a medical condition. Perhaps you fall into the category where the winter season causes you to feel more depressed or anxious. Whatever the case, I need you to know you’re not the only one.

If you fall into any of these categories, here are 6 things you can try to boost your spirit:

Volunteer– humans are social creatures so doing something with, around or for others in an act of service or fellowship can enhance connection. Community and service can give one a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment and fulfillment.

Attitude of gratitude– Finding things to be thankful for can increase overall feelings of happiness while decreasing feelings of depression. You can shift your mental lens of seeing life as a joyful experience rather than disappointment. Think of three things you’re grateful for before you even get out of bed. Then dwell on these things throughout the day. Train your brain to be more appreciative.

Be in nature– over the holidays if you’re feeling disconnected from others, it’s important to feel connected to something. Take a walk in the park, watch the sun set or see what new birds may be in your area.

Include natural light– During the winter, daylight is shorter; with less sun, we use more artificial light which can throw our internal rhythms off.  So do your best to have natural light around you during the day. Light exposure can help regulate hormones and chemicals in your brain that affect your overall sleep and mood. So, if you work in a cubicle or windowless area, go outside during your break. When at home, open up curtains and blinds (not the actual windows) to let natural light inside.

Step out of routine– Do something you enjoy that you don’t normally do. Bring an air of excitement or unpredictability. Instead of watching a movie, read a book. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Clean out that junk drawer. Cook a new meal.

Have a Staycation– If you’re unable to meet or travel to see your loved ones, enjoy the city you’re in. When was the last time you went to the library or to the nearest farmers market? See what tourists enjoy doing in your area and do it!

If you’re feeling low during the holidays or wintertime, just know you’re not alone. Countless people feel discouraged or down during times they “should” feel otherwise. If there has been a common theme of anxiety or depression for some time, there are people who can help. Look up local counselors, therapists or emotional support groups- if you’re not sure where to start, send us an email and we would be happy to help you or point you in the right direction.