In Lubbock and on the South Plains, I have noticed that in general, we are getting a big fat case of the winter blues.

I have been encountering this myself. I'm quick to snap back with a smart-aleck answer, have a shorter temper and cry easier (and I'm not a crier). And then there's the tiredness and stiff muscles.

I've talked with friends who also said they want to sleep more, are having increased carb cravings, weight gain, loss of libido and withdrawal from loved ones.

So what can we do to alleviate the winter blues, short of taking a Caribbean vacation?

Cold, snow and ice are novel at first, but as the winter drags on it tends to drag our moods down with it. Temperatures that were close to 80 this past weekend dipped to 50 degrees the next day, forcing us from our flip flops back into boots and multiple layers of clothing.

Granted, we haven't had the kind of winter they are experiencing up north and east, but we've still had our share. A white Christmas is always a magical happening. But once the holidays are past, we are all back to work. And with heating bills coming in, the magic of snow and cold quickly diminish.

I was grousing about the cold earlier this week and my sweet husband sent me a picture he had taken in our backyard of the icicles hanging off of our roof. Just seeing the way the light reflected through them, their haunting beauty, reminded me that even in what we see as dull, boring or extenuating circumstances, there are always positives and beauty if we look for them.

Hopefully the five ways below will help you beat the Winter blues.

  • 1

    Let In The Light

    Studies show that morning light is key to help counter the effects of shorter days and decreased melatonin production.

  • 2

    Move More

    Aerobic exercise has been proven to elevate energy and mood, especially during cold, winter months. Morning exercise in the winter has more benefits than exercising in the evening.  But getting any exercise is better than none, no matter what time.

  • 3

    Cuddle Up With A Loved One

    Hey, I know that when it's cold, feeling amorous is not high on the list, right along with wanting to shave my legs.  But again, studies show that close physical contact with someone you love not only boosts your intimacy and libido, but also boosts your endorphin levels which elevates your mood.  Plus you stay warmer when you cuddle up close.

  • 4

    Get Social

    When it's cold, we have a tendency to want to stay indoors and withdraw.  But the opposite will help you. It helps your mood and outlook when you hang out with friends or family and laugh!  Get out of the house, even if it's cold, meet some friends someplace or have friends over for games, conversation and just fun.  It will help significantly.  Last weekend my husband and I were feeling a little restless, so we went to a friends establishment in town for a little while.  Well, we ended up seeing friends that we hadn't seen in a long time, laughing, talking and enjoying them and each other.  Another benefit, we went home and slept like babies!

  • 5

    Get Some Help

    If sunlight, exercise, cuddling and warmer temps don't help your blues, then you might want to talk with your doctor.  Sometimes this is a sign of something deeper going on that needs to be addressed.