Winter is full of opportunities to get close: romantic fires, holidays galore, snuggle­-friendly weather. Yet the season can be tough on your love life. Our energy levels are lower during the cold weather, and we tend to be moodier, both these factors make maintaining a relationship difficult during the cold.

You can’t beat Mother Nature, but you can learn to spot these pesky relationship-­killing winter symptoms and take the necessary steps to keep your bond going strong.

You’re Looking for a Fight

Crankiness has a habit of cropping up in the winter — in women and men. Being cooped up inside for months with fewer options for activities can contribute. But more important, the season’s shortage of sunlight lowers our levels of the mood­-regulating neurotransmitter Serotonin.

You Feel Pudgy

After braving the cold, it’s great to come home and enjoy some warm, filling comfort food, like a steaming bowl of pasta. And since getting out of bed in the morning is harder, you need to drink a couple of extra cups of coffee to perk up. And the fact that it gets dark so early means that you’re ready for your first glass of wine earlier. See where we’re going with this?

We have a natural tendency to OD on carbs, stimulants, and alcohol in the winter to boost our moods temporarily, it’s one way we try to compensate for the lack of sun. Thing is, going overboard not only makes you feel worse in general but also can cause you to think of yourself as less attractive and eat even more to comfort yourself.

To break the cycle, make it a point for you and your partner to eat high-protein foods that have serotonin-boosting nutrients — like lean steaks, fish fillets, cottage cheese, and eggs. And avoid the common trap of overloading on carbs in the morning, you’ll feel better and have higher energy levels to use on whatever activities you may choose.

You’re Not in the Mood for Sex

Extra padding can make you feel less than sexy, and high levels of Melatonin — another light-sensitive brain chemical — from lack of sunlight make you want to fall asleep when you get horizontal instead of staying up with your partner. But that’s not the only reason sex suffers in the winter, most women have relatively low levels of testosterone and, therefore, need an emotional connection to get in the mood, If the winter is making both you and your guy cranky, it can be a lot harder to make that happen.

When you notice a seasonal nosedive, Love suggests grab your partner and hit the gym together, or head outside on sunny days and go for a run and nab some natural light. Not only will you both get an endorphin rush from the exercise, but you’ll also raise your serotonin levels and lower your Melatonin levels, making you alert and in a better frame of mind.