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See this gem?  You can probably tell I made it sometime in the 80's.  But I love it, so I've kept it all these years.  As a girl, I thought it was a cute way of saying, "Be cheerful."  As it turns out, the message to "Make your own sunshine" is even more profound in my adult years.  Every winter I struggle.  Every winter when the sun hides and the gloom sets in, I have to dig deep.  This is what my backyard looked like earlier today.  Usually I can see across the valley, but there was a serious cloud and not much sunshine.

Maybe you also struggle with wintertime depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Here are a few things that help me. 

1.  Exercise.  I used to wake up at 6am.  This is what my basement looked like on an early morning back in November.  Good news here:  it's starting to get light outside, earlier in the day.  That means winter is almost done!!!  The main thing I want to point out is the lightbox.  It's right in front of the elliptical, so I can read a book while all that bright light is pointing at my face.  It doesn't make me tan, but somehow it helps my brain.  Endorphins from exercise + bright light are a great combination.  But I have to be honest.  Lately I wake up and get the big kids out the door, and do my workout later.  Today it was like 10am before I mustered enough energy to make myself exercise.  It sounds like a paradox, but I feel better when I'm done.
Amber was watching Daniel Tiger.  When it ended, she came downstairs and joined me.  Her exact words as she started doing some push-ups, "You be the baby and I be the mommy."  Yes please.

Some more ideas to make your own sunshine:
2.  Do something you love.  
3.  Talk to your friends.  Girls's night out is great, but it's also kind of awesome to just call a friend on the phone, or stop by and talk to a neighbor.
4.  Go skiing.  It's usually sunny up at the resorts.
5.  Plan a warm vacation.  Every winter I love to go somewhere warm.  A few weeks ago Norm took me to Dallas and we had a great time.  We saw some friends and it was a change of scenery.
6.   Send a note in the mail.  Write a letter and decorate it with stickers.
7.   Eat more fat and less sugar.  ie more avocados and less Oreos.  My brain is happier when I follow this formula.  I can't explain it, but it's real.
8.   Citrus oils.  I love the smell of lemon and lime.  Lately I've had grapefruit oil in a diffuser.  It smells so bright and happy.
9.  Don't forget faith.  Psalms 27:1  The Lord is my light...


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