winter
And not in a prophetic way. The winter season is almost upon us and with that comes cold, damp and snow. While the holiday season lends a brightness and a fanstastical counterpoint to the dreary weather outside, the winter blues can still set in.

The weather unfortunately can affect our moods in a big way. The best way to cope according to research is sunlight, but in the midst of a four day rain, or a heavy blizzard, there’s not much sunlight to be found.

Plants have also been found to be calming on the psyche and boost productivity. And whilst tending a peace plant or opting for a real pine tree as your Christmas tree are viable options, sometimes these are completely unfeasible. So here’s a few apps that might just do the trick:

1. Viridi

viridi
A virtual pot of succulents that grow in real time. These plants, if neglected, will dry up but a quick spritz with the water bottle will have them feeling right as rain again. Each week you get a new seedling to plant and when you feel that your plants are big enough you can transfer them to the garden. For a few dollars you can buy the key to the greenhouse and have more than one pot going, or you can purchase specific seedlings for your pot.

With beautifully calming music and a cute little snail that works its way around the edge of your planter, this will help you forget about the cold for a while.

2. Forest

forest
This amazing little app is actually to help beat phone addiction and promote productivity. Set a timer for between ten and one hundred and twenty minutes. The length of time you choose will determine how complex your tree is. Right now if you can hold out for the full two hours you will grow a four fully trimmed Christmas trees complete with presents. Each day you use this app will create a forest block for that day. The more you use it, the denser your personal forest.

The one catch is if you close the app or try to open anything else the tree you are growing will immediately die. But the reward of being patient enough to shun the phone for even ten minutes is pretty great. And once your tree is grown you can put a note against it to remind yourself what you achieved while you grew that tree. A nice reminder that yes you can do it!

3. Read a Tree

readatree
Take a photo of a tree and get a free e-book, it really is that simple! This app encourages users to go outside for a walk, stretch their legs and take note of the natural environment around them. Each tree you photograph rewards you with an e-book reminding you that whilst the tactile feeling of a good weighty book, the smell of a new novel are wonderful things, the paper came from somewhere.

The more trees you photograph, the more books you get. Take note that the kindle app doesn’t appear to be compatible so you might want to try for a simple e-reader.

4. Plant for Earth

plantforearth
Just by downloading this you will get one real life tree planted! For about $2 you can plant another, or plant in bulk, seventy trees is about $90, which isn’t a bad trade off. Plant for Earth has so far planted a total of 1,640 trees. Imagine if everyone in New York downloaded this free app and bought one more tree. That’s another sixteen million trees!

5. Spin tree

spintree
This fun little game circles a little yellow sun around a tree trunk. If you hit the pulsing circle, you grow another branch. Grow this tree forever upwards in a host of wonderful colours

6. Inner Garden

inner-garden
Whilst it might be cold and dreary outside, there’s no weather to hamper you in your own private garden.

Inner Garden provides a starter set of gorgeous plants and buildings. The garden you start with you can completely redesign. Add streams, remove them, plant trees and add cottages. Little cameras pop up and take photos of the animals in your garden. This game changes in real time too, so check back and see what’s changed.

7. Prune

prune
This is a wonderful little puzzler. Grow a tree that blooms into a host of flowers. Different environments affect the tree differently. The direction you plant the seed and trace the direction you want it to go affects the way the tree grows.

This is a hugely pretty game. Definitely one to forget the cold.

So take some time, grow a garden or a pot of succulents, or take a walk and snap some photos then curl up with a book. Whatever you chose to do, don’t let this winter get you down!