Winter blues, shopping deadlines, family demands, and financial concerns can leave you stressed and depressed during the holidays. For many people, this time intensifies mourning the loss of a loved one, which sobers joy. If you’ve got a case of the humbugs, try these tricks for finding that holiday spirit:

Write it out. It’s easy for clouds to block our view of the stars, but they’re still twinkling. Jot down your negative feelings, then take time to record your blessings. If you’re missing someone who’s passed away, compose a letter to that person.

Walk it out. With so many obligations burning up your time, exercise often gets left out. Scaling back on your endorphins will only drive up the doldrums, though. Holiday meals and munchies don’t do any favors for the waistline, either &mdash and weight gain has a way of bringing you down. Try to break away for small activity sessions throughout the day to stimulate the feel-good hormones.

Hand it out. Nothing breaks up a personal pity party like stepping up to help someone else. Volunteer to give back, whether it’s serving meals at a shelter, participating in an adopt-a-family program, or just baking a batch of cookies for your elderly neighbor. Activate your charitable side, and you’ll discover its magic for mending melancholy.

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