Riley Heruska
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This month's cold weather, dreary skies, and lack of excitement can make anyone want to hibernate until spring begins. In fact, it's estimated that about 14 percent of Americans suffer from "the winter blues" each year. Some psychologists have coined a new term: "January blues" because it can be difficult to feel peppy and optimistic during this time of year. The holidays are over, the Texas weather is chilly, and there's not much to look forward to. Many people start to feel depressed, and even though January is a month of self-improvement and New Year's resolutions, it's also a month where many people start to feel less positive. 

If you've been feeling a little down or unmotivated during January, you're not alone. Here are five easy ways to boost your energy and get back into a happier state of mind. 

1. Spend some quality time with nature. Research has shown that getting outside, even for just an hour or so, can help the human brain de-stress. Nature can also help people feel kinder, happier, and inspired. The weather might not exactly be conducive to a lovely walk in the park right now, but find some way to breathe in a little fresh air and detox. 

2. Make a few plans you can look forward to. Some psychologists believe the January blues might be deeply tied to post-holiday boredom, so give yourself something to get excited about in the future. Plan a trip, schedule a get-together with friends, or buy a few concert tickets. 

3. Hang out with other people. Recent studies have indicated that after spending time with people who make you happy, your brain shows fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Even if your family and close friends left town after the holidays, find a few people you can go out to dinner with once in a while. 

4. Find a way to feel refreshed. Move around the furniture in your house or get a brave haircut. It's a new year, so make it feel new! 

5. Select a hobby to try. If you've always wanted to try painting or boxing or dancing, January is a great month to do so. Picking up a new activity will distract you from other depressing parts of the month and get you excited for the future. 

Don't let the January blues ruin the start of 2018. Try out some of these techniques and see if you can turn things around and embrace the end of winter in a better state of mind. 

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