Browns and greys are perfect colors for many things; brown puppies are adorable, milk chocolate is brown, grey walls in your home are classic and chic, Fifty Shades of Grey sold over one hundred million copies.  But, too much of anything is bad; brown puppies sometimes leave brown messes, milk chocolate can cause unwanted weight gain, the grey walled rooms require pops of color accents, even FSG has a red room.  

February in the northeast can be downright dismal and depressing with the dullness of brown and grey day after day.  It seems like forever since you've felt the warmth of the sun on your face and the “brey days” are turning your grey matter blue.  Holiday bills are high, temperatures are low, and the days are way too short. It is the middle of winter and the winter blues are the only pop of color accenting your browns and greys.

It’s right around this time every year when you start to feel a little bummed. You don't have to wait until Spring to get out of your funk and start smiling again. Here are 9  scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits and ease the winter blues… err browns, greys and blues. 


1. Brighten your environment. When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine. 


2. Eat smarter. Foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy and carbohydrates provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression. 

3. Simulate dawn. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out. Studies show that a dawn simulator, a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.


4. Exercise. A 2005 study from Harvard University suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Try yoga. to find your inner self and peace.  Yoga is food for the heart and soul.  


5. Tune in. In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.  Choose your genre and exercise the  “brey days” away.


6. Plan a vacation. The beach is calling.  Research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness. 


7. Help others. Spending time at the soup kitchen for the local shelter or volunteering your time can improve mental health and life satisfaction. The act of helping others is rewarding and humbling.  


8. Get outside. Spending time outside (even when it's chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels.  

9. Reconnect.  Reconnecting with friends and spending time laughing and sharing makes memories that comfort the soul.  This does not mean via social media, but rather Face-2-Face.


Don’t get stuck sitting in your room with grey walls, your adorable chocolate lab puppy and a box of chocolates, while reading FSG… sans a Valentine.  You can always paint your walls orange and adopt another puppy.  Orange is the happiest color!  Or you can wait for Spring… it will be here soon!


 
 
A disorganized home creates stress...emotionally, mentally, and physically. Too much stuff in our homes is one of the greatest stress triggers. When we have a lot of stuff and disorganization in our homes, we can become overwhelmed and it can cause chronic anxiety and restlessness.

For most of us, all this "stuff" accumulates over time. We don’t notice how much stuff we are accumulating until we hit a breaking point.  Often it's a major life event — such as a move, death, marriage, divorce, or even empty nesting – that forces us to find organization and balance...to simplify, so that we can move on free from the weight of objects that have outlived their usefulness to us or that carry memories of the past.  

Organize your home...organize your mind.  Take the time to put your home in order and your thoughts will become clearer.  I have read the Kon-Mari Method, which I found helpful and definitely simplifying.  I must caution that I did throw away A LOT of things that I have needed since.  It may be that I was a bit impulsive in my attempt to gain control and peace instantly. There is no magic remedy for the clutter and chaos that has built up over time.  

Sometimes, in this rush-rush, extremely fast-paced and seemingly disposable world we live in, we are too quick to discard people and things.  We believe that out of sight is out of mind, but the people and memories that truly impact us, cannot be erased...they always resurface. 

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION...Eat often (small amounts), Stay open to Love (not everyone has rock climbing skills),  Cherish every Breath (we only get a finite number),  Practice Yoga (nourishes the body and mind), Stay Humble (be a better you, Be Kind to Everyone you meet (you never know what people are going through or why your paths have crossed), Be Kind to Yourself (you are doing the best that you can-this life is not easy), Laugh often (it burns calories), Laugh at yourself (this builds humility), Be Good company (you attract who and what you are), Spend Time with your Family (remember whens are what life is about).