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Is it cold again? You have to be kidding me. Will this ever end? Depending on what part of the United States you live in, the winter can be a drag. One minute you are shoveling the driveway and the next minute you are having a hot drink to take the chill out. Author John Steinbeck wrote: "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." Yes, savor those sweet summer months, but tell that to someone enduring an arctic blast! For those who are finding that the winter season is marching along to a slow and to a dreadful beat, they can take comfort that they are not alone. There was a poll done to uncover what season people prefer. According to a Gallup Poll, 36 percent of Americans loved the spring, while 27 percent liked the fall, 25 percent adored the summer and just 11 percent liked the winter. What is a person to do? Well, we need to pick up the fun and become more creative. Here is how to survive the howls of the winter.

Get Outside

We know that nobody wants to go outside in the winter, but hear us out. It can be invigorating to go out for a walk on a winter day. It will help stretch your legs and the natural light will make you feel better. Walking gets you out and promotes an outlet for exercise during the winter. You might find that you are more refreshed and creative as well by spending time in nature and by exercising. Think of it as preparing the body for the spring.

Be Social

We know the warmer months are for barbecues and backyard parties. In the winter you can still socialize and even grill out if you can take the cold. Invite people to have a party during a weekend or meet people at a restaurant to catch up. There is a catch, you will need to get out of the house! If none of this inspires you, schedule a wine tasting at your home or host a winter theme party.

Recognize Any Dread

With anything, if we dread things, we will continue to be negative about the given situation. Dread is a family member of fear and to overcome it we need to change our perspective. If you hate the winter and it leaves you depressed you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a depression that happens every fall and winter when the days become shorter and the days become darker. It impacts about 20 percent of the population and can be treated by light therapy and medication.

Find a Hobby

Did you know that engaging in a hobby can help your health? It may help reduce stress, depression and lower blood pressure. Who cares if you are a master over it or not! It is a great diversion to your winter. Try to expand your skills at cooking. Go on a recipe hunt in bookstores or online and compile 5 recipes to try for the winter. If cooking doesn't impress you, join an art class or learn the delicacies of wine pairing.

Adopt a Pet

If you are lonely and have a lot of love to offer, adopt a pet. They will change your life and give you comfort. In the interim, you can be a shining light in their life. Having a pet will push you to go out more and help you shake those winter blues.

Network

There are usually many business conferences to attend no matter what time of year it is. Make winter a time to sharpen your skills or learn something new. Depending on what kind of industry that you are in, you can learn what the new trends are for the year. Whether it is social media, marketing, sales or brushing up on interpersonal skills--attending a conference can be life changing. Many companies will pay for you to attend a conference if it is job-related. Share your interests with your employer and don't be shy.

Get Going

We all need to get away and change our environment. If traveling too far from home is not an option you can try a “staycation” by going to local events and sites not far from home. You can stay at a hotel in town or go to a bed and breakfast. Plan a day to visit a local museum and try a new restaurant once a month. You can purchase a pass to an art gallery or to a local theater to watch plays. Even during the winter, the zoo may have activities for the whole family and some workshops are free for kids. Better yet, leave them at home and you can check it out.

Meditate

Try a guided meditation by listening to an audio recording. Meditation can be from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Meditation can help you create ways to overcome any anxiety that you feel. It may help you to become more centered and help you to reduce stress. Meditation can help deal with stressors and help you to sleep better by calming the mind. This can be experienced anywhere. You can do it your bedroom, the living room or just by focusing on an object in a noisy room. Before you hit the grind of the morning, try to meditate. Starting your morning this way will set the tone for the rest of the day.

Pray

Using prayer is an effective tool to deal with the winter. If you become a hermit, pray for wisdom about ways you can overcome this bad habit. Prayer is powerful and it will make you feel good to vent about any current struggles. Sometimes we just need to be heard and prayer allows you to express your heart without feeling judged.

Winter can be a downer, but if we effectively manage our time and create a calendar of neat activities to do--the time will pass by. Live in the present and enjoy the winter the best you can. It will be summer soon!

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