Everyone gets a little blue in the winter. With stressful holidays, crummy weather- there's plenty to keep a girl down. Some people, like myself, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It's a very real depression that lasts for months and can be debilitating. For years, I had no idea that I had SAD. When winter came, I became miserable. I was tired (no matter how much I slept), annoyed, stressed out, had no interest in seeing friends, family or doing my  hobbies. I gained weight every winter and not just from the holidays. It's more than just "feeling blue".

These past few days have been -incredibly- rough and I'm trying to remind myself to pull it together and get over it. Here are some of the things I do to try to stay cheery in the winter months.

 Eat Colorful Foods

I eat loads of citrus and leafy greens in the winter time. Not only are they good for the body but the colors, flavors and scents remind me of sunny days.

Copycat Zuppa Toscana

Orange Marmalade

Alton Brown's Aunt Verna's Orange Cake

Soak up the Sun 


Winter days are pretty grey around here but when there's the slightest bit of sunshine, I open the windows and soak it up. It's scientifically proven that 5 minutes of sunshine boosts a person's mood.

When winter comes and the days get shorter, I close all of the windows as soon as it gets dark. I look like a crazy person, running around closing up the windows but I hate to see all of that black at 5pm! I dress the windows in bright colored curtains and turn on lights inside to pretend that it's still a sunny day outside. Last Christmas, my mom bought my a special lamp for light therapy, which has been wonderful! Mine is from Verilux.  With a focus on a colorful knitting project or a funny movie, the early nights aren't very bleak after all.

Find Distractions

Although the winter time has a serious toll on my mood, there's a lot of happy moments to look forward to that only happen when the weather gets cold. Some of my favorite winter things are driving around looking at Christmas lights, having hot chocolate, taking my kids to see Santa, holiday baking, my mom's Thanksgiving stuffing and cranberry sauce, feeding winter birds and cozy sweaters. Make a list of things you love about winter and check your list when you're feeling down.

Dress for Winter with a Summer Attitude
winter pick me up

Color has a major impact on a person's mood. When you're taking inventory of your winter wardrobe, make sure you have lots of cozy, colorful pieces to keep you warm and cheerful. Some of my winter must-haves include:

green socks
a yellow, green or purple winter coat (or all 3!)
a red wool skirt
colorful wool berets
coral lipstick
a selection of basic cardigans in every color

Getting enough sleep and exercise also makes a big difference while managing Seasonal Affective Disorder. I hope that helps any of you who may be dealing with SAD or simply feeling down sometimes. May us all get through the winter and have a happy holiday season!