Coping with Winter Blues



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!


  1. Sweet Brittany, I'm very sorry to hear that you've been having such a rough patch with your SAD as of late. Though I'm not affected by SAD myself (interestingly, I actually find I have a lot my energy during the winter and that, by and large, it's easier than summertime on my health), my heart goes out to you completely. Thank you for blogging about some of your struggles with this condition and the ways that you like to help combat it. I'm sure that this post will be an inspiring help to many.

    Fingers crossed that spring comes super-duper early for you, dear gal.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. aww, thanks for your sweet comment! Yeah, it can be very very rough some days but there are many good winter days too! Today has just been awful but I'm closing the day with making dinner with the hubs and watching a movie :) And yes, when spring time rolls around, you'll always see lots of exciting, happy posts over here!! x

  3. I also am affected by the winter weather here in NYC as well. That and my very bad and very old acting joints absolutely despise the cold - I am actually going to another orthopaedic surgeon again this coming Friday because my pain has gotten to be unmanageable, particularly of my shoulder - I can't move it at all really and I cannot lift anything, not even my remote! This whole season generally sucks. I hope to move to Southern California after school is over with - I know that will help! I'm sorry you have to deal with having SAD - it's a very real and very debilitating disorder. I hope you can find a way to beat your SAD and have a great Christmas and New Year's!


  4. Great post, thanks for sharing! I'm affected by the change in season and there's some great tips here! I think keeping busy and distracting yourself is a great tip, as well as plenty of fresh air and exercise and as you said, dashing out into the sun whenever there is any!

  5. Great post thanks for these tips in a cheery post!

    Mrs Brown's Thoughts

  6. I find that wardrobe has a really big impact on my mood. I just feel like a frump in my giant black coat layered up with as many layers as can fit underneath all winter! Next time I get to buy a new winter coat, I'm definitely going to do it in a bold color!

  7. Well, you know I am here whenever you need me to cheer you up. It is hard to beat the blues when its dark outside and there is so much stress so although I do not suffer from SAD I do fight to find the joy in my day sometimes. So I am here chica! Lots of hugs! xox

  8. Have you tried a full spectrum light bulb? I have one in the lamp that is beside the chair I sit in to watch TV. I live in the Pacific Northwest and it rains and is grey a good 8-9 months of the year. B vitamins are supposed to help too.

  9. yeah my lamp is a full spectrum light and it helps SOOOO much! I just started the B vitamins and they are already doing wonders!

  10. Oh <3 I am sorry to hear about your troubles. I know it is so very common, so very good of you to open up and connect, share these points. I am trying to combat my own struggles with food choices and exercise as well as a new daily supplement of vitamin D, Scotland gets very little sunshine! I hope your winter blooms into smiles, all the best x

  11. i'm going to have to try eating more colorfull foods in the winter. We don't get snow in northern Cali and it's warmer here than many parts of the country, but winter is our rainy season and even non-rainy days can be gray. I do suffer major winter depression. Blasting music helps a bit, and smells. Nag champra incensce makes me feel sultry. citrus scented room sprays give me a quick mood lift. and I'm addicted to those scented wax tarts from yankee candle. this time of year i usually burn the wax tarts that smell like baking, it's hard to be blue when my home smells like apple pie or cookies baking.

  12. I didn't know the official (or english) term for it, where I live it's commonly referred to as "winter-depression" and it's very, very common. Not so strange with maybe 3-4 hours of daylight during the darkest months... I hadn't been aware of a slight dip in my mood, energy etc during winter when I lived further south, but the first winter in northern Sweden was an eye-opener. All my earlier signs, only multiplied by 20. The second winter I started taking 30 min walks during daylight-hours, and it really worked. Of course it's excellent to savour every moment of pure sunlight, but as we can sometimes go weeks without it, I've noticed that while direct sunlight is the best, 30 min of daylight still keeps the winter blues away (for me anyway). I really, really want to try a suntherapy-lamp! I keep eyeing them, but they're so expensive... Need to save up and get me one of those...

    Glad to hear you've found a formula to keep your SAD in check! Lovely list, with great advices.

  13. I here you girlfriend! Winter is a very challenging time for me and I think all the things your doing are exactly right. Last winter I tried to focus on the Spring/Summer that was going to come and sewed up summer dresses as a way of looking forward to good weather and working with such summery fabrics really helped. I moved my sewing machine to be on the back table right near some French doors that get lots of sun and this was also really great. Hang in there, the very fact you're so proactiv will really help. xx Shauna

  14. I find winter particularly difficult as well, especially on days when the sun refuses to come out. I definitely function in light conditions much better than gloomy ones. Love your tips though -- every little thing helps when you're down in the dumps. I love pineapple in the winter ^.^

  15. I am sorry to hear that you suffer from this very real affliction. I have recurrant major depressive disorder, and generally find myself very depressed around the holiday season. These are great tips that really do work. Opposite action activities, like going outside and looking at houses decorated for the season when all you want to do is lie in bed, are proven to work better than giving into that urge to isolate. Yoga and meditation helps me too, to quiet my mind and relax my body-when I feel better physcially my mood improves. And tropical fruit in winter! Eating healthy, sleeping well-not too much-and comforting activities are the best way to get through the season. Lots of love and luck to you!

  16. These are all great tips! While I don't have SAD, I know the darkness doesn't get me down. I definitely try and combat it with surrounding myself with colorful things. That's one of the reason I LOVE putting up lights for Christmas.

    I actually think part of the reason I've felt a slight bit in a funk most of this year is our new house is DARK. Our condo has huge and many many windows and it was bright as could be in the daytime. Our house, even on a bright day, barely seems to get much light. I think I need to investigate better bulbs or light therapy lamps like you mentioned, not only for winter but year-round!

  17. Thanks for sharing, I had never heard of SAD but it makes sense as we are all affected by the weather, some more than others. I'm lucky to live in Melbourne, Australia so the winters aren't so harsh plus Melbourne weather is pretty changeable. It's a four seasons in one day kind of place, so if I don't like the weather I generally just wait an hour or two. So I can't completely imagine what long winters are like so I feel for you and hope this winter is a happy one!
    The tips are great too, some probably for all year around! You can never have enough colour! One thing I do sometimes is wear my summer dresses with a warm wool jumper-dress and thick wool tights underneath when I’m missing the sun, which makes me feel especially summery because it’s a dress I would normally only wear in Summer. I especially like floral prints when I'm feeling like this! There is nothing quite like a bright floral summer dress on a miserable drizzly winter day. :)

  18. I know exactly what you mean. I don't struggle with SAD but endless days without sunshine can definitely get me down. I know I need the sun to be at my happiest. I just got a bright yellow peacoat and nothing makes me smile more!

  19. Hi Brittany,I got you're lovely email and thank you so much for the encouragement,I will email you on that subject later,but on the subject of SAD yep me too. I found a remedy that is my saving grace,
    Vitamin D3, I take 5 to 6 IU a day and it is a life saver for me!!! I started taking it as part of my Vitamin regime for bringing my body to a PH balance so cancer never grows in my body. You can go to by Dr.John Cannell on San Luis Obispo and read all about it. So I noticed I'm never blue any more!!!Being a vegetarian I love to seek out ways for natural healing and good supplements are on the top of my list. So my new friend,read and begin and you'll see a difference in no time.XODebra


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