Lift Your Spirits – 18 Quick Fixes for the Winter Doldrums

This is the time of year when I am always looking for a little lift. This string of days before spring unfolds just seem to stretch on and on.

Each year, it seems, I try something new at these times. Here are 18 things that have worked for me to lift the winter doldrums. See if any of these might work for you.

1. Try out a new exercise – something you've never done before. Whether you buy a new workout tape or try the Hot Yoga class at your gym, get moving in new ways.

2. Try a new hair color. It does not have to be anything dramatic. Just ask your stylist to add a few highlights to brighten up your look a bit.

3. Give to a new charity. With your family, research causes that are important to you and decide on a charitable gift. Whether you give time or money, making a new and fresh contribution can really renew your energy this time of year.

4. Buy something that screams spring. Treat yourself to a new breezy caftan top or some sporty new sunglasses. At the very least, go to your favorite boutique and try on a few of the new sandals styles for spring.

5. Treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh flowers as a centerpiece for your dining room table.

6. Test drive a convertible.

7. Find a new fragrance. Go to the cosmetics counter and sniff around for something light, airy, and floral.

8. Open the windows.

9. Get your bicycle tuned up.

10. Buy a large, healthy plant for your office.

11. Even if it's still chilly in your part of the world, aim to spend at least 30 minutes each day outside. A little sunlight and fresh air can really help to burn off the doldrums.

12. Have salad for dinner. My kids love taco salad on crisp iceberg. Another great choice is Caesar salad with marinated chicken strips.

13. Fire up the grill.

14. Get a pedicure.

15. Add a few colorful accents to your home. A few new pillows or rugs can lift your spirits.

16. Break yourself out of your routine. Sometimes our feelings of hibernation come in because school and work schedules during the winter do not afford many choices. And then we get stuck and a little burned out. Each day, change one thing in your normal routine. Call an old friend during your lunch hour. Drive a new way home from work. Bring home takeout from a new place.

17. Book a quick, last minute spring getaway for the weekend. Ask your friends for the most enjoyable road trip they have taken recently and follow in their footsteps.

18. Find a Community-Supported-Agriculture (CSA) initiative to participate in this summer. When we started getting involved, we began to really anticipate the arrival of our fresh, organic and locally grown produce each year, and it helped us to pay attention and to appreciate the natural rhythm of the seasons. This is a great time to do your research and anticipate the way those fresh raspberries and tomatoes will taste on your summer table.

How will you beckon the arrival of spring?