Hey Girl Guide to Smiling Through Winter

I am completely aware that the seasons in Los Angeles go something like: hoodie, T-shirt, tank top, bathing suit. I also know this time of year most of the country is dealing with below 50 degree temps and even that white snow stuff I have seen on the holiday themed romantic comedies I have been binge watching (Serendipity?! Best Ever).  Because I am not an expert in the season of winter I asked my beautiful friend Savanah, who works out of the Say Hey Girl Milwaukee office, to write a guest post about surviving the grey. Grab your hot coca and enjoy!

There’s nothing like finishing up a hard day of work at the office and walking outside to…complete darkness.

Yes, we have abruptly and unwillingly been forced into what I like to refer to as my “hibernation period,” or what most people call “winter.”   While not all of us are fortunate enough to have the privilege of digging our cars out from under three feet of snow, we are all faced with the dreaded lack of sunlight this time of year brings.  Whether you enjoy winter or not, it’s hard to deny that the shorter days can have a direct, and usually negative, impact on our moods.

As the sun sets earlier each day, it becomes harder and harder for me muster up the energy to do anything after work besides curl up with a blanket and binge watch New Girl on Netflix (don’t judge).  Since the old “fall behind” time change, the amount of time I actually spend in the sun per weekday has been reduced to under an hour: twenty minutes on the drive to work in the morning and five minutes at around noon when I move my car a couple of inches to avoid getting a parking ticket.

This severe lack of sunlight seems unhealthy, doesn’t it? Turn out, it is – both medically and psychologically.  The good news is, there are things you can do to keep your spirits up and your health intact while enduring the terrible entity that is winter.  Below are a few tips to help you fight this internal battle:

Let There Be light
I can’t stress enough how important it is to supply your house with the proper amount of light fixtures.  Go to the store, find the brightest lamp they sell, and buy 20 of them.  Okay, maybe 19.  The light keeps us alert and reminds us that, in spite of what the outside world reflects, bedtime is not at 6 pm.  The more light you have in your house, the worse you will feel about crashing on the couch and eating Cheetos all night. (This is absolutely acceptable behavior, just not every night.)

Let There Be Light

Take a Pill
Getting the proper amount of Vitamin D is crucial, even when you aren’t getting enough sun .  Vitamin D is essential for keeping your bones healthy, your immune system strong, and your brain sharp.  A deficiency can put you at higher risk for developing various illnesses and also make you feel just all around lousy.  One little pill in the morning, and you’re good to go!

Take A Pill

Walk the Dog
One of the best things I could do for myself was adopt a dog, and have a partner that doesn’t enjoy walking it Ha! Just kidding babe!

Even after a long day at work, when I come home to my rambunctious jumping ball of fur, I can’t help but want to take her outside.  She’s been trapped in the house all day –  how could I NOT take her for a long walk?!  I find that if I walk my dog right after coming home from work, I am hit with somewhat of a second wind and feel much more energetic when I return home, upping the odds of me actually doing things.  Don’t have a dog? Any kind of exercise will do it – I just find it more difficult to say no to my puppy than I do to the gym.

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 8.40.27 AM

Mix It Up
Your new goal is to make plans with friends at least one night a week.  Go out for a cocktail, get your nails done, something, ANYTHING!  It’s important to have things to look forward to.  It’s far too easy to get stuck in the typical routine of work, home, TV, bed if you aren’t paying attention.  So mix it up!  Say yes more often!  Trust me, it works wonders.

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 8.30.57 AM

Turn Up the Heat
Literally, turn up your heat.  I know a lot of people who insist on keeping their thermostats at a ridiculously low temperature during the winter months to save money, and depending on your financial situation, I get it.  I’m not exactly making it rain myself, but it’s all about priorities.  I hate being cold.  Being cold makes me crabby.  And when I’m crabby, I’m staying home under the blankets.  So to me, it’s worth cutting down on some of the costs in other areas of my life to be able to afford to keep my home warm.

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 8.38.29 AM

What do you do to stay sane in the winter months?  Or are you one of those sick people who actually enjoys this time of year? Share your stance in the comments!


  Savanah was born and reluctantly raised in Wisconsin (just kidding, Milwaukee’s not that bad).  She’s a project manager by day, but will never be able to completely let go of her coffee roots.  She is mom to puppy Hannah, partner to Cody, and enjoys pancakes, and Will Smith movies. Want to read more?  She blogs about mental health here.

One comment

  1. This is so spot on! The darkness is always so much worse than the cold. I agree, Cheeto consumption is completely acceptable, but on a much more limited basis than things like…exercise. Thanks for the reminders and inspiration – I’m going to go buy some lamps tomorrow!

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