Keep On the Sunny Side

“Are you tired? Run down? Listless? Do you poop out at parties?”

Re-visiting an old post from last winter today…how do you make your life sunny when it’s cold and dreary outside?


The Winter Blues are hitting, my friends. It’s dark, it’s cold, and I for one feel like eating pancakes every meal of the day. What’s a farm girl to do?

I started compiling a list of things one can do to beat these blues – things that remind us that Spring is out there on the horizon. Will you chime in with your suggestions and help me add to this list? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, tips I’ve heard from friends and also from the far reaches of the wise ol’ internet:

– Expose yourself to sunlight as much as you can, and as early in the day as possible. It helps you wake up more easily and gives you the energy to get going.

– Laugh every day. (In all seasons this is important, but especially in winter.) I’ve even heard that if you cannot find something to laugh about, try to make your diaphragm go through the motions it would make if you were actually laughing. This can trick the brain into producing serotonin and all the other “happy” hormones. Or, proves to be so ridiculous-looking that you actually do start laughing!

– Get some movement in every day, outside in the fresh air. From farm chores to walks around the neighborhood, movement does a body good.

– Make a goal or start a new project. One friend recently told me it’s helpful to plan to learn something new every month of the year. It gives you an attainable benchmark as well as the satisfaction of looking back in December and listing the twelve new things you attempted that year.

– Make a list of the things you like about winter – and then set out to enjoy those things! Snow, warm clothes, fires in the fireplace…

– Plan your spring garden.

– Make your environment a happy place to be. Wear bright colors, play music that speaks to your soul, cook things that give you “joy in the belly.”

– Ask your doctor or nutritionist what vitamins or supplements you could add in to give you a boost.

What do YOU do to keep on the sunny side? Tell me in the comments!

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

18 Responses to Keep On the Sunny Side

  1. cathy says:

    Get all your friends to knit one square each and sew up the blanket at the end of winter.
    Check out..

    • Annie Carlson says:

      Now that’s a fabulous idea!!!

      • Sheri Salatin says:

        I think so too! 🙂 Wouldn’t it be fun to do something like that with all of our hen house knitters? aka, you! 😉

        • Annie Carlson says:

          I’m in!!

          And this weekend, at a sustainable ag conference no less, my friend taught me to read a crochet pattern! I’m so excited. Now I can crochet something more than potholders. I must admit I’ve crocheted three baby hats in three days…there may be an intervention needed…

  2. Maggie says:

    i love laughing …. but laughing with friends and even better …. with children really gets my heart looking up. taking the time out of my day to be with my kids …. need to do it more and appreciate their perspective …. that will always cheer me up!

  3. Sarah Van Leeuwen says:

    Buy seeds! And tap the trees at the first hint of a thaw during the day. That means you have to go & check the trees, even if there isn’t anything yet.
    But most of all, buy seeds and plan the garden!

  4. Rachel says:

    Ditto on the going visiting! (Or hosting…) There’s something about giving the house a good clean, preparing something scrumptious to share with a friend, and then sharing an evening with smiles and stories.

    And I also agree about getting out! Even if it only means a drive in the country (and Swoope is particularly beautiful) with a fresh cup of coffee, at least the kids (all 8 of ’em) are contained and I control the music selection and volume. Sometimes the best conversations with my husband are in the van!

    I am really trying to garden this year. Really really. But I am none too hopeful!

  5. Mary Lloyd says:

    I have always been so susceptible to the winter blues – I don’t like being cold, I miss the light, I get sluggish and cranky…but I love cooking “winter” foods and decided last year to embrace the stews, the roasts, and all the warmth that goes with them! It has made a huge difference. I also bought a “puffy coat” and now LOVE getting outside!

  6. Maria says:

    Thanks for the tips. So timely!

  7. Amanda Reifsnyder says:

    Last winter, round about the end of January, we planned a beach party! It was in a friend’s big, airy kitchen, we cranked up the heat to around 75, wore short sleeves, put on the Beach Boys and had traditional summer favorites off the stove-top grill! Even a leis and a limbo contest! Perfectly timed and planning one for this year as well!!

  8. We definitely try to get outside as much as possible – especially between 11 am and 1 pm if possible. We try to get to the beach once a week, and I plan what I will be growing, enjoy crocheting or reading by the fire – and cake too. Homebaked, of course 🙂

  9. Our kitchen has over 50 lbs of Florida grapefruit in it at this moment, and each time I bite into one, it’s like eating a slice of sunshine. God knew what he was doing when he made them ripen in January!

  10. Ewetoo says:

    Women were built to work with their hands – learn to do with your hands…for me it’s to sew and make beautiful spring outfits, new curtains, shorts for the kids……whatever! I can only have time to sew in the winter, with the farm/seasonal work we do, so I love the winter to start those projects I can’t get to in the other 3 seasons! I love walking thru a fabric store with beautiful colors!!!!

    • Sophia says:

      Ewetoo, my sentiments exactly!!! I find sewing soooo relaxing and for some reason it always seems to make me feel “grounded”.

      As for “the winter blues”, my sense is that we are supposed to slow down a bit in the winter; nature does. In fact some animals actually sleep through the winter… and I suspect they do not feel guilty about it ;-). Of course we can’t do that: actually hybernate, but I think that if we look at the winter months as a time when nature intends us to slow down, rest, and rejeuvenate and seek cozy things/activities, then perhaps we can let ourselves off the hook for not having the same energy levels as we do in Spring, Summer, and Fall. I know that goes against the grain of our fast paced culture and how many have to live within it, but I do think it makes sense according to the natural order of things…the template of nature. Does that make sense?

      One more thing I have to say is that seeing the picture of Lucille Ball and remembering the “Vitameatavegamin” episode from the I Love Lucy show, warmed my heart and made me laugh!!!!!!! Gotta Love Lucy!!! 😉 Thanks for the post and all the wonderful insights from the combox!

  11. Sonya says:

    Great tips! I really like the one about just moving your diaphragm even if you don’t feel like laughing…..fake it until you make it! 🙂

  12. Alana says:

    Amazing idea! I would like to try this.

  13. Liana says:

    You did a great job!