It’s getting dark at 4:30 PM with the recent time change here in sweet home Chicago. This immediately puts me on personal and professional alert for blue moods and depression. I know I have mild seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as do many of the people I work with.

Because I feel part of my job here, and in the world in general, is to spread light, I thought I would share some suggestions for how you can feel better this time of year.

Sunshine and light boxes

Sunshine is a miracle cure this time of year. You may need to block time in your calendar to get outside for a short walk and some real sunshine. This should be a non-negotiable.

Nothing replaces the feeling of feet on the ground and sunlight on your face. Try boosting the benefit of this with some gratitude. What are you grateful for right now? Are you grateful that you work for yourself and you can take a walk in the middle of the day? Are you grateful for the crisp fall air? Are you grateful for the crunch of the leaves under your shoes? Are you grateful that you’re wearing your new favorite boots?

If it’s raining or crappy out, a light box may be a good substitute. People I have recommended this to swear by them. Often, they refer to them as happy boxes. That makes me smile.


I fought this for a long time. I thought that walking and yoga were enough for exercise, and while they are great, the pandemic and stay at home taught me that cardio is invaluable in helping to elevate mood and decrease anxiety. I don’t care if you don’t believe me. I didn’t believe it for 20 years, but it has proven to be true.

I think the key is to find something you don’t hate doing. I started with Zumba online taught by a friend and have branched out to other platforms and workouts. The payoff in better sleep, improved focus, and enhanced productivity has flipped it for me and I actually look forward to my workouts now. When I skip one, I miss it.

I NEVER thought I would be one of those people.


I add extra seeds and nuts and fatty fish into my diet this time of year. There’s scientific evidence this can help with the winter blues. You can go look that up, or just try it because it’s delicious and healthy.


How can you add fun and light into your life? I have twinkle lights strung up around my entryway that I turn on at 4:00 PM to ensure I don’t bump into things, and to add a bit of a festive feel to my late afternoon. I am also a big fan of tea light candles and often have them burning in whatever room I am in.

Candle gazing is calming and good for the soul.

I’d love to know if you’re affected by the early darkness. What do you do to stay in a good headspace?