With the sun showing less of itself every day as winter edges closer, it can be difficult to maintain a positive, productive attitude. The cold and dark can be a drain on energy, and come February, we might be feeling the weight of it all, as we beg for summer to arrive a few months early.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its dreary winters, which can seem endlessly damp and dark. As a resident of Seattle for nearly ten years, I’ve learned to adapt to the change in seasons and make the most of things, while maintaining my health and happiness; a crucial skill for the success of my business.

Below are my top 4 ways to stay happy and maintain sanity through the chilly season. Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Not to worry. These tips apply to anyone dreading the winter blues.

1.      Avoid the urge to hibernate.

As desirable as it may seem to just never leave the house until the ice melts and the sun comes out again, keeping up with your life is an important part of the plan. Spending time with friends, doing activities that you love, and just getting out of the house are great ways to keep yourself feeling good and motivated.

2.      Spend time outside as often as possible.

Even if the sky is gray and you’d rather stay bundled up indoors, its really beneficial to grab whatever light you can. Even on a dreary day, walking outside will expose you to a significant amount of sunlight. In a place like Seattle, we need every ounce we can get.

3.      Clean up your eating.

Drowning in a sea of pizza and sugar until spring comes may seem like a great way to make it through, but those foods will zap your energy and increase your waist size, making you feel crappy and so not sexy.

4.      Exercise.

Staying on track with movement is essential during the winter months. The activity keeps your energy up, your serotonin flowing and your health intact. Plus, you’ll be ahead of the game come swimsuit season.