The days are getting longer and the temperatures are finally heating up, but although spring is just around the corner, there are still weeks (or months) of dreary afternoons in the forecast. Yet just because the weather’s gloomy doesn’t mean you have to be. Here are 5 easy tips for how to be happier and lift yourself up through the clouds of a gray day while you wait patiently (or not so patiently) for that full-time summer sunshine.

1. Get out! Instead of holing up inside whenever the weather’s a little lackluster, go for a brisk walk around the block, take the kids to a park, or even just enjoy your cup of tea on the porch instead of at the kitchen table. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors; you’ll see that gloomy days are so much more than gray skies. 

2. Color yourself happy. Fight the drab weather and boost your mood with brightly colored clothing. Whether it’s a favorite scarf, red lipstick, bold statement jewelry, or shoes in an unusual shade, you’re going to feel better decked out in happy colors than you would being wrapped in a neutral trench and carrying a black umbrella.  

3. Picture this. Lighting is important in photography, but that doesn’t mean brighter is necessarily better. The flat light of an overcast day is the perfect condition for photographing things you love, including people, pets, nature, and even yourself. Dig out your fancy SLR or switch your smartphone to camera mode and start experimenting! Once you realize the magic of diffused natural light, you might even start looking forward to gloomy days.

4. You are what you eat. Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t pretend you’re on a tropical beach with your toes in the sand. Eating or drinking something that reminds you of bright, warm weather can be a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling desperate for sun, so get creative. Have a side of pineapple with lunch, or transform dinner into a full-scale picnic, complete with fresh-squeezed lemonade.  

5. Feel the bloom. Brighten up both a room and your mood with fresh flowers. Ranunculus, peonies, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are all in season, and even a single bloom in a bud vase or an empty jar can do the trick. 

How do you boost your spirit on a gloomy day?

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, writer, and cereal aficionado who finds great joy in her husband, her two young sons, and perfectly placed semicolons. She has been writing online at A Girl and a Boy since 2003 and can be found frittering away on Twitter as @agirlandaboy.