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How Do You Beat the Winter Blahs?

Readers tell us how they stay cheery during the cold, dreary months.

Pile of quilts and slippers on a chair in front of a fireplaceBeatriz da Costa

I turn my mood on its head by getting active―usually in the form of a particularly challenging yoga class or an adventurous hike with Gus, our thrill-seeking Chesapeake Bay retriever. Going outside and moving never fails to recharge my body.
Kim Zepezeuer
Pasadena, California
 
I move as many social commitments and obligations as I can from December to early the next year. That way I have fun activities to look forward to and I alleviate the crush and stress of an overloaded holiday social calendar.
Noel Hill
Boston, Massachusetts
 
I head to the grocery store, buy about six loaves of bread, and then find a pond full of ducks and geese.
Melanie Fletcher
Beaverton, Oregon
 
I take ballroom-dancing lessons. The dancing is challenging and exciting, and the dark evenings pass more pleasantly.
Lynn Ellis
Spokane, Washington
 
My town has several used-book stores that are open late. When I have to trudge to the grocery store in bad weather, I tack on an extra half hour to browse among the books. Usually I find some treasure: an older mystery by an author I've just discovered or a 60s-era book on how to give a dinner party. My kids hang out in the children's section, and for the cost of a candy bar they can take home a book instead. A new story at bedtime makes everyone more tolerant of the long winter nights.
Beth Pirkle
Albany, California
 
On a snowy day, there's nothing better than trudging up to the local pub to enjoy good company and conversation in a warm, inviting atmosphere. The more friends, the merrier.
Stacie Gwiazdowski
St. Louis, Missouri
 
I enjoy cooking. I make big pots of black-bean soup along with red beans and rice, and I bake homemade bread and cookies with my children. We share with friends and neighbors and freeze the leftovers.
Ashley Hamlett
Montgomery, Alabama
 
I spend time at home doing the things I don't have time for during the rest of the year: sewing pillowcases, organizing closets, etc. At the same time, I do all my spring cleaning, so when the nice weather rolls around I can spend the time outside in my yard rather than inside washing walls.
Lisa Prpich
Yorkton, Saskatchewan
 
Each winter I learn a new hobby or craft. Last year I took up crocheting and knitting. This year I'm going to set up a darkroom and begin printing my own photographs.
Lindsay Hoffman
Chicago, Illinois
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