Got the Winter Blues?

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The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer until the Winter Solstice. The Solstice is approximately Dec 21st; it’s the shortest day of the year and the onset of winter. Then it’s cold and dark for quite some time. Even though the days start getting longer after the Solstice, sometimes it’s easy to get the winter blues. Here are some of my favorite tips to stay warm and positive throughout the winter.

Make sure you get lots of exercise, taking a walk in the middle of the day gets a bonus of vitamin D. Exercise and vitamin D will boost your immune system. Vitamin D is a terrific antioxidant as well.Talk to your doctor for the right dosage because in the northern hemisphere, you can’t get enough from the sun alone in the winter.

Maintain social relationships. Churches, synagogues and libraries are great resources. Find a gym buddy for a little extra incentive. Take a cooking class and experiment in your kitchen. Cozy up with a book in front of the fireplace. Expand your knowledge base and take an online class.

Find some fun activities to do at night. Check out programs at your library, head to the gym or get together with friends and family, break out the board games or call a friend.

Find something new to do every week. Try a new restaurant, coffee shop, massage, hit the movies or go bowling. Like reading? Join a book group. Plan a weekend getaway, even if you only go once this winter, you’ll have something to look forward to for an entire month and planning it is just as much fun. I even have friends that take the kids to a local hotel for the night, just make sure there’s a pool.

Be creative. Try crafting, painting, ceramics, woodworking, wine making or beer making…or just skip the process and hit a local vineyard for a tasting. There’s lots of local craft shops that offer classes, it’s fun and social. Experiment with something new, you might make a long time friend in the process.

­Clean, organize or declutter a new place in your home each week. Plan a weekly goal and block off the time to do it. Write it on your calendar for good measure. Stay focused and remain on task, even if its only a different drawer each week. In a few weeks you’ll have a new home and will feel refreshed and energized with each new space you tackle.

Create a window garden with an indoor kit or just sprout alfalfa or bean sprouts. When you grow it at home, you know it’s pesticide free and you can’t get anything fresher than your own window sill. Start planting tomatoes for your garden indoors come March. Having fresh greens in the house feels rejuvenating and reminds us that spring will be here soon.

Tackle a home improvement project,even if it’s just painting a new room, hanging a few pictures or changing a light fixture. Feeling Feisty? Hire an interior designer for a home face-lift. It’s a fun and social way to make some changes.

Okay, so you’ve tried some of these tips and you still can’t seem to shake the blues. Then it might be time to talk to your doctor. According to Psychology Today, seasonal affective disorder is a real phenomenon affecting 10 million Americans. It can begin in the fall and last all winter, so be sure to consult your doctor if the winter blues keep you from feeling your best.