Winter can really drag you down: Months of cold and snow can affect your energy level, your mood and even your productivity. In turn, both your personal relationships and your work can suffer. But you don't need to take a tropical vacation to get a little boost. With spring in sight, the right smartphone apps might be all you need to relax a little, get inspired and gear up for the warmer months. Read on for six smartphone apps that will help you beat the winter blues.
Dark Sky (Free) – iOS
The hardest part of getting through winter is surviving winter weather. Any weather app will give you the daily and weekly forecast. But Dark Sky goes one step further, offering hyperlocal, super-short-term forecasts for rain and snow, with a minute-by-minute estimate for when the next storm will begin. These short-term forecasts can be viewed up to an hour in advance. In other words, the app can let you know if you have time to duck out to grab lunch or walk the dog, and help you stay dry all winter long.
Mindfulness ($1.99) – iOS & Android
Extreme winter weather can lead to delays and dangerous driving conditions — and that can really stress you out. Mindfulness is a concept derived from Buddhist meditation that's been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Practicing mindfulness is simple, and the Mindfulness app can help you do it. You can have it walk you through guided meditation sessions, prompting you to focus on your breath and reflect on your current thoughts, feelings and sensations. Or, simply let the app remind you to pause for a few minutes throughout your day to meditate silently.
Rumgr (Free) - iOS
Whether it's in your home or office, clutter makes the winter blues worse. A deep clean can make you happier and more productive, so start your spring cleaning early. But don't just start throwing stuff in the trash. Rumgr is an app that can help you clear out unwanted junk — and maybe make a little money in the process. The app lets you broadcast items you want to sell to your friends and neighbors. Selling to people you already know is faster and easier than dealing with anonymous emails, so you can unclutter your space and get back to the things that really matter.
f.lux (Free) - iOS
One way to reduce your stress and boost your productivity in the winter is to get a good night's sleep. But if you're glued to your computer or mobile device before bed, that can impede your ability to get the rest you need. Studies show that blue light emitted from electronic screens can actually keep you tossing and turning. The best solution is to spend at least an hour away from your computer, tablet or smartphone before bed, but the next best thing is to install f.lux for iPhone or Lux for Android. The app slowly warms the color temperature of your screen throughout the evening, which reduces eyestrain and ultimately helps you fall asleep more quickly.
Inspirational and Motivational Quotes (Free) - iOS
If winter has you feeling down, lean on some of history's greatest thinkers to help you feel happier, more inspired and more productive. Inspirational and Motivational Quotes for iOS delivers a daily dose of inspiration on topics such as success, perseverance, courage and hope. It also lets you share your favorite quotes via text message, email or Facebook, in case you know someone else who needs a boost. Android users can check out the Inspirational Quotes app instead.
Sunrise Sunset (Free) - Android
Sometimes, it seems like winter will never end — so let the Sunrise Sunset app serve as a daily reminder that spring is coming. The app's basic function is to show you the sunrise and sunset times for your location. In other words, it lets you see the days are getting longer as warm weather approaches. Hard evidence of spring's arrival could provide a daily boost to help you push through the last few weeks of cold weather. Sunrise Sunset is available for Android only; iOS users can check out Rise, which offers similar functionality.
Originally published on Business News Daily.