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Great news: watching TV can help cure your winter blues...

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Oh, winter: you’re cruel. Waking up in the dark and getting home when it’s dark too, wearing three layers every day but overheating the minute you get on public transport… and don’t even get me started on the dry, chapped hands most of us are rocking right now…

The cold months in the UK are taxing for most of us, but they’re especially bad when you’re a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) sufferer – a condition that manifests in the winter months, with symptoms including low mood, low energy levels, low self-esteem and loneliness. Recent research by YouGov and The Weather Channel showed that an overwhelming one in three of us in the UK experience SAD symptoms at this time of the year.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – there are some pretty simple ways to bust SAD symptoms. Exercising regularly, getting plenty of natural light, and making sure you’re socialising enough are all good ways to shake the blues off.

But even just rounding up your flatmates and gathering around the TV to watch a mood-lifting show can be enough, according to registered psychotherapist, Elaine Slater.

We got her to scan the libraries on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV and put together the ultimate list of 20 uplifting shows and films that can help combat the nasty effects of SAD. A "TV prescription", if you like.

  1. Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
  2. The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
  3. The Blind Side (Netflix)
  4. Good Will Hunting (Netflix)
  5. About A Boy (Netflix)
  6. Friends (Netflix)
  7. Dumplin (Netflix)
  8. Legally Blonde (Netflix)
  9. Love and Other Drugs (Amazon Prime)
  10. Catastrophe (Amazon Prime)
  11. The Good Place (Netflix)
  12. Queer Eye (Netflix)
  13. Sex Education (Netflix)
  14. Modern Family (Amazon Prime)
  15. Pitch Perfect (Netflix)
  16. Avatar (Now TV)
  17. The Greatest Showman (Now TV)
  18. School of Rock (Now TV)
  19. Sex and the City (Now TV)
  20. The Big Bang Theory (Netflix)

These shows all share positive messages in various ways – like demonstrating the importance of relationships, inspiring hope, encouraging viewers to be their true selves, containing lessons about overcoming challenges, and exploring the kindness and faith in humanity. Elaine believes that seeing this on-screen can help viewers.

“Television offers a window on a broad spectrum of similar issues. Seeing characters engaging with, grappling and overcoming issues can help us in our own lives,” she said.

So you’ve found the perfect watch – now it’s time to blitz the living room to make it a happy zone for you and your flatmates. Elaine recommends using light therapy (like a SAD lamp) in the TV area, to bring the calming effect of natural light to your viewing experience.

Her other top tips include: staying warm with plenty of cosy clothes, eating good food, cranking the heating up, and filling the area with houseplants too.

So grab the pizza, gather on the sofa and get Netflix on. It’s for your own good, really...

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