As we begin a new year, and recover from the excitement of the holidays, many people will be experiencing winter blues.

Winter Blues tend to reach their peak in January and February, with residents of Canada, the United States, and Europe being up to eight times more likely to experience the feeling. Women are also up to three times more likely to feel depressed in the winter than men.

While the flagship sign of Winter Blues is feeling more depressed after Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are other symptoms as well. Other signs of Winter Blues include having low energy, sleeping more than usual, feeling apathetic and bored, loosing interest in friends and activities, feeling irritable and moody, and overeating.

While there is no medical understanding of what causes Winter Blues, most theories believe that the primary factor is a lack of sunlight, which can affect one’s mood.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to help avoid (or at least minimize) the effects of Winter Blues.

Keeping active is a helpful method, even though it can be hard to pull oneself out of bed on a dark and cold morning.

The lack of sunlight can be countered by using lamps and overhead lights, and there are even special lights that mimic natural sunlight.

Another way to help stay positive during the winter is to... stay positive. Writing down a short list of feel good topics can put one in the right mindset. Sharing that list on social media can also help to inspire friends and family.

Sharing your emotions with others can help keep the blues away. Talking with a friend can reveal that they have experienced similar feelings before. Counsellors and other professionals are always an option as well.

Treating yourself can also help improve your mood. Planning a fun evening with friends, or even just by yourself. Starting a new hobby or project can also help to keep your mind off of your troubles.

Blue Monday is said to be the most depressing day of the year, and falls on the third Monday in January. While everyone has different ways of working through their emotions, these tips can provide a general guideline on how to get through the Winter Blues with a smile.