Beat the Winter Blues: Make Your Own Sunshine


When you think about sunshine, it really does affect so many things? After all, the sun is the center of the Solar System and by far the most important source of energy for life on earth. It’s when the clouds cover it up and the days are short, that we really miss it. At least I do! On days like this, you have to make your own sunshine!

The other day my husband and I went on a short winter hike. When we started, the sun was out and even though there was snow on the ground the temperature was quite pleasant. However, halfway through our hike, the sun went behind the clouds. It was amazing how fast the temperature dropped and we found ourselves hustling back to the car.

The lack of sunshine not only cools things down, but it can affect our mood. For some, especially those who suffer from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a lack of sun can cause a myriad of negative symptoms. The cold, gray days can really make it tough to have a good outlook on the day. 

I will admit that I am a light freak When we remodeled our home, I made sure we had plenty of windows, and I always open the blinds first thing in the morning to let the sunshine in. So when the sun isn’t there, I admit that I struggle a bit.

So for those of you who are on the same page, I am going to share with you a few tips and things I do to beat the winter blues.

How to make your own sunshine

1 -Change the way you think about the weather.

First of all, the idea that the “lack of sunshine is gloomy” is really just a thought. Is it REALLY? Well, for some, but not everyone.

One of my most favorite mentors of all time, Louise Hay, has a quote that I love.

“There’s no such thing as good weather, or bad weather. There’s just weather and your attitude towards it”.

Perhaps this is something to think about. I know, easier said than done, but something we can be aware of and try to implement.

2 – Get up early and make your bed.

Yep, make your bed. You may be wondering how this is going to make you feel better. Well, it actually does. I swear by it. On those rare days when I linger in bed too long, no good comes of it. My brain just starts overthinking everything. I feel sluggish the rest of the day, and I feel guilty for wasting time.

However, if I get up and make my bed, it just sets the tone for my home and my day. Here is a nice post that gives 5 reasons why you should make your bed. It’s a good read.

Open your blinds. Even if there is no sunshine coming through the windows, there still will be a little light.

3 – Turn on the lights!

Make some fake sunshine. If it’s a gloomy, dark day, turn on the lights. There’s no need to be in the dark. The extra kilowatts on your electric bill will be well worth it!

Another thing you can do is get a full spectrum therapy light. I love the name of this light “HappyLight Lucent light therapy lamp” It mimics sunlight using full spectrum light at up to 10,000 lux to enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus – but without the harmful UV rays. Set it up and turn it on wherever you are in the house to create a more uplifting atmosphere. These lights really do help.

4 – Get Out!

Call a friend, sibling, loved one and arrange to go do something. Find a quaint little café where you can sit down and chat over coffee or lunch.

Go for a little shopping spree. One year, a bunch of my friends and I loaded up in the car and we went to town and did a little shopping. We hit all the quaint shops, second-hand stores, and Whole Foods Market. Yes, we get excited for Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods because they don’t have these stores in our neck of the woods. 

The months of January and February are a fun time to hit gift stores because they’ll have all their Valentine stuff out.

5 –  Go to a movie

If you don’t get out much, skip Netflix and actually go to the theater where you can order a bag of popcorn and be out with other people. If being around people is not your thing, and you just want to stay home, then cuddle up with a cozy blankie and enjoy a bowl of homemade popped popcorn.

6 – declutter

Getting rid of stuff you don’t need is really quite invigorating and refreshing. The winter months are a great time to do this.

Find an area of your home that has clutter, play some upbeat music and get to it! 

The KonMari Method is quite popular right now. Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is a good read for getting organized. Several years ago I used this method to revamp my clothes closet. It was the best thing ever! 

7 – Move your body

Moving your body is critical for your wellbeing, especially in the winter. Even though it may not be as convenient to hop on your bicycle or jump on a hiking trail, there are still things you can do to get some kind of exercise.

Find a local exercise class or search for classes online. There are so many options on the internet. Even though it may be cold outside, bundle up and go for a winter hike, snowshoe, or even a stroll around the neighborhood.

If you find it difficult to exercise because of some limitations you may have, (I can relate to this) I do have a YouTube station with some low-key, gentle yoga classes that you can watch. 

Better yet, DANCE! Find some upbeat music that moves you, crank up the volume, and let loose. (If you feel a little self-conscious, you can shut the blinds). I used to be so timid and self-conscious when it came to dancing, but not anymore. It really is freeing!  It may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but seriously, if it’s been a while, DO IT!

There are some significant benefits from dancing. My husband and I like to crank up some good 80’s music and we have fun dancing. It takes us back to our college days. Good exercise and a great emotional release after a long day.

Here are some fun little clips of my husband dancing. He was so kind to let me share this.(No, he is not intoxicated, just loves to dance). GIGGLE OUT LOUD!

Play Video

This obviously isn’t the original music he was dancing to. We had to dub in other music because of copyright issues on youtube. It’s still fun to watch him. No inhibitions-how would it be? 

Beat the Winter Blues: Make Your Own Sunshine8 – Reconnect with a hobby or interest

Get out your paints, sewing machine, guitar, or whatever makes your heart sing and do it.

9 – assemble a jigsaw puzzle

This is a great time of the year to get out a card table and put together a jigsaw puzzle. Believe it or not, there are some interesting benefits of jigsaw puzzles. Read this, and you might find yourself on the way to the store to find a cool puzzle to put together. There really is something magical that happens when you start putting a puzzle together.

puzzle sunshine

9 – assemble a jigsaw puzzle

This is a great time of the year to get out a card table and put together a jigsaw puzzle. Believe it or not, there are some interesting benefits of jigsaw puzzles. Read this, and you might find yourself on the way to the store to find a cool puzzle to put together. There really is something magical that happens when you start putting a puzzle together.

10- make cookies or cake

What, cakes and cookies? Believe it or not, there are reasons why baking makes you feel happier, and it’s not all about the delectable treats in the end.

Who doesn’t love a good sugar cookie? (Edible sunshine) Even if you are watching your calories, don’t do sugar, or can’t handle wheat, there are options and recipes out there that you can make and still be able to enjoy a little baked goodness. You can always bake something for someone else.

Here are some of my favorite cookie and cake recipes.

The best sugar cookies ever!

Grandma’s Favorite Texas Sheet Cake

What are some of your favorite things to bake?

The idea here is to DO SOMETHING. No one can move your bottom, or change your thoughts for you.

You can create your own sunshine! 

Let’s embrace the gray, the cold, and find some beauty in it.

Remember, in only a few short months it will be SPRING again!





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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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