“Christmas is over, you’ve put on weight, it’s cold out, it’s dark out, your credit card bills are in, you’re not going to get another day off until March, and you’re tired.

You might even be depressed.

If so, you are not alone, especially not today. For today, according to one measure, is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.” (Montreal Gazette)

Yes, that was the headline in today’s Montreal Gazette.

Sounds pretty gloomy. But for many, it truly is. For some, this January funk is a result of cold weather, overspending during the holidays, the state of the economy, a relationship gone sour, or job dissatisfaction. For others, it’s something more serious.

But today, no matter where you’re at, I wanted to give you 10 power tips on beating the winter blues. Ten power tips to get you out of the January funk. Ten suggestions you can do NOW, to give yourself some relief.

1. Make some great delicious homemade soup and feed it to your girlfriends, boyfriends, hubbies and kids. There’s nothing like a great bowl of soup on a cold and gloomy day. I enjoy following recipes from Dave Lieberman of The Food Network. He came to cook for a large group of women at a charity luncheon a few years ago, and I really loved his style- healthy and simple. Here’s a great recipe for one of my favorite soups, Butternut Squash. Here is Lieberman’s version, Butternut Squash Pear. Yum! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/butternut-squash-and-pear-soup-recipe/index.html

2. Diet has a major effect on mood. Studies have also connected depression with low levels of folic acid. So, if you’re not getting it from diet, possibly consider taking a supplement. If you want to supplement the folic acid in your diet, eat at least 2-3 meals of cold-water fish a week, some egg yolks, nuts, almonds, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, and bananas, oranges and peaches.

3. Get some extra natural help. If you’re like me, and hate drugs, you might try the natural route. Vitamin D and B12 supplements are great immune system and mood boosters. You know that you get vitamin D from sunlight, so try and get outside when you can. If not, a supplement in winter months is very helpful. Both hubby and I are on a multivitamin (400IU of D), plus an extra supplement of 500IU Vitamin D to fight colds and flues. And Complex B12 is a great help in elevating mood. These vitamins are cheap and natural. Try ‘em (after speaking to your doctor or pharmacist). You’ve got nothing to lose.

4. Buy a Full Spectrum Lamp. Studies show that people’s mood elevate simply by being in or around full spectrum light. Just by putting your desk near a window, you’re helping yourself during the long dark winter months. And get outside! For a walk, to the park, for a jog, for a stroll with a coffee. I love the rosy cheeks I get from being outdoors. You can’t buy blush that good!

5. Seriously, go see a funny movie! I can’t tell you all the studies that examine the correlation between laughter and health. Laughter is great for many facets of your body. Google it. But, there’s nothing like a great laugh deep in your gut to relax yourself. Make a date with your partner or friend to go see a funny movie today.


6. Pamper yourself. While this can be expensive, and may seem somewhat superficial, it works ladies. Sometimes we simply need to put ourselves back on our own “to-do” lists. Treating yourself to that mani-pedi, or massage, coupled with some soothing tea, and a great magazine is seriously relaxing. I’m not saying it’s a cure to the funky rut, but sometimes, it helps chill us out a little.

7. Reconnect with friends. There is nothing like a great time with your girlfriends to nourish your soul. We get certain things from our girlfriends that our spouses and partners aren’t always able to give us. I always feel rejuvenated after my girls dinners. We laugh, we chat, we vent. It’s like a free therapy session!


8. Ask for help. If the daily grind has taken its toll, take a mini time-out from your life. Can you drop your kids off at the neighbors or grandparents, and do something you love? It doesn’t matter what that thing is, just make sure it nourishes your soul. Sometimes taking a few hours to regroup is what you need to feel like a new person.

9. Ask yourself,  is it a funk or just fatigue? Sometimes we confuse the two.  Sometimes we feel like we are in rut, when really, we are just sleep deprived and exhausted. On the weekends, or whenever you can, it is imperative that you RELAX and allow for downtime, possibly to read, take a bath or simply do nothing.

You also may just need to switch up your daily routine to bring some novelty back to your day. If you don’t have that gym booked in your blackberry or agenda, GET IT ON YOUR TO-DO LIST. And if you are already going to the gym (good stuff), then perhaps going at different times of the day will help. Also, change up your routine at the gym. If you’re a runner, hop on the bike or elyptical. Our bodies literally become bored with our regimes if we never change them up.

10. And finally, if it’s more than a rut, and a full blown depression, it’s time to seek medical advice. There is nothing more to say on this point. If you cannot pull yourself out from the darkness, and are having chronic negative thoughts, it’s time to seek professional help. There is no shame in saying you need some medical intervention. Sometimes we go through bouts of depression, and dealing with it the minute it arises is crucial to our well-being.

So ladies, we are almost there. Spring is around the corner. Do what you can today, to ensure good mental and physical health until that spring rebirth takes place.

I’d love to know your tips on beating the winter blues. What works for you? What are your tricks for getting out of a rut? 

Wishing you a very HAPPY week, and a very Happy Martin Luther King Day to my friends south of the border.