I would imagine at this point in several months of what promises to be a long cold winter, that there are many people who are suffering from the dreaded "winter blues".

For some this manifests as a more serious malady known as SAD or seasonal affective disorder which afflicts millions of people who have normal mental health during most of the year but are uniquely and adversely affected by a winter months depression.

Some also deal with SAD during summer months, but it is less likely. And "winter blues" can also rear it's lonely and sad head during the holidays when you're missing family events due to distance between you and family members or even the loss of a loved one or a divorce, etc.

If you're seriously down or simply feeling a bit melancholy because you're longing for sunny, warm days, green grass and grilling on the deck without a parka, there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel better.

  • Brighten Up Your Home - by getting as much light into it as possible (natural or by using light bulbs which imitate sunlight (I use SAD flourescents in almost all my light fixtures except for table lamps). Adding a bright decorating or design element to a room,like a bright pillow, throw, print or painting can also cheer you.
  • Getting out of the House in the First Two Hours That You Are Awake - even when it's freezing as it helps to reset your circadian rhythm (Believe me I know how tough this can be if you work odd hours. In the fall & winter, you leave the house when it's dark and come home when it's dark).
  • Snack on Walnuts and Almonds throughout the Day - These kind of nuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin and L-carnitine, which improve brain function and reduce inflammation (so does salmon, but it's so hard to carry one around in your purse).
  • Exercise - releases endorphins naturally & boosts your mood and your immune system. It will also improve your cognition and you'll remember more throughout the day. (I need to work on this one)
  • Listen to Music - Not only does music soothe the soul, it's a stress reliever too. Music that leaves you feeling uplifted will motivate you to accomplish your daily goals.(I highly recommend Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk" on a loop, that song really makes me "chair dance"!)
  • Travel Somewhere Sunny - if possible.Yeah right! (or refer back to the light bulb thing)
  • Try Something New - Give yourself something to look forward to every week. Physical activities will add excitement to your life and give you something to eagerly await (I have a friend who is going to try scuba diving, I on the other hand was very excited about using my new Stir Crazy popcorn popper).
  • Get Enough Sleep - it is common to want more sleep when it is cold and dark, so indulge yourself by getting to bed a bit early (Again, I know how hard this can be. I'm still a night-owl even though I've been getting up at 4 AM for almost four decades.).