With the chill of winter closing in it can be hard to keep a smile on your dial. If shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures put your mood on the down low, here’s 10 ways to keep the winter blues at bay.

Lighten up

Laughter decreases stress hormones and boosts immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Plus, it triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. So book that comedy show, tune the telly to something that gives you a giggle, and catch up with your favourite quirky friend.

Warm up

When we’re cold it’s natural to feel down and lethargic. Research shows staying warm reduces the winter blues by half. Help yourself by rugging up in thick woolly jumpers and scarves; cosying up with layers of blankets; and warming yourself from the inside with a steaming mug of chai or a bowl of soup.

Plan to pack your bags

Give yourself something to look forward to during the winter months. Book a skiing holiday or a trip to a tropical isle or plan a pampering retreat. Even locking in a staycation can feel therapeutic.

Schedule shut eye

Getting quality sleep relies in part on having a routine for bedtime. To get on track try setting two alarms. The first to signal when to start preparing for bed: stop the social media scrolling, put away devices, don the PJs, brush the teeth, and put on some soothing music. The second alarm to signal lights out.

Move it

If winter wreaks havoc on your usual fitness routine, find a way to adapt. Can you do a dance class, swim at an indoor pool, sign up to an online fitness challenge, or walk with an umbrella?

Set an intention of reaching Spring feeling strong, fit, and energetic rather than like a sloth emerging from months of hibernation.

Get outdoors

Soaking up the sun, particularly in the middle of the day, will give your vitamin D levels a lift.

Nurture yourself

Overloading with carbs and sugar-laden comfort food is all too easy in the winter months. Make this year different and nurture yourself with delicious and nutritious food. You’ll not only ward off the winter blues, it will help keep lurgies at bay by boosting your immune system. Fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, wholegrains and staying hydrated will keep you happy and healthy.

Let go

Follow nature’s lead and let this be a season for shedding the old and stale. Prepare for new beginnings by decluttering your physical and mental space. Journaling, meditation, clearing your wardrobe, or your garage can all give you a sense of renewal.

Reach out

It can be hard to get out the door to socialise in the winter months. Instead, invite friends or family to come to you. Embracing the ‘hygge’ concept of lighting candles, playing board games, and cooking together will make winter seem warm and wonderfully welcoming.

Try something new

Joining a choir, taking a painting class, writing a blog, learning a new skill. The winter months will fly by when you’ve got something new and fun to focus on.