by Jacquelyn J. Core JD PhD

This time of year as the days get shorter many of us feel the effects of vitamin D deficiency. While I find a cozy bliss in sheltering at home and practicing the Danish art of hygge not everyone shares my love of the winter clime.

I remember walking through the rainy streets of Paris with a friend day after day during a particularly cold January. On the day when the sun finally broke through the clouds, bathing the city in much-needed light my friend remarked everywhere we went how beautiful Paris was. And she was right. Paris was more beautiful when it was basking in the sun. The loss of light impacts some of us more than others, but the impact is real for all of us. Since we cannot turn on the sun, it is important to focus on the special things each season brings us. Here are five easy ways to settle into winter as your happiest self.

1. Eat seasonally. Soup in winter never hurt anyone. Warm meals feed our bodies with what they need in colder times, so break out the soup pot for some creative soup making. Focusing on seasonal produce like winter squashes is a great way to maximize what the season has to offer.

2. Focus on what makes your home environment special. Never underestimate the warm glow of a few candles as a way to brighten both your room and your spirits. Clear your clutter. Simple spaces filled with items you love make time spent at home special.

3. Bundle up and enjoy the sunshine. When the sun is generous enough to show itself to us, throw on a hat, scarf, and some mittens, and catch a few winter rays. Layered up you might not get as much vitamin D, but a brisk walk in the winter with a little sun on your face is a sure way to improve your mood, and the remarkable silence of finding winter snowfall in the woods cannot be matched.

4. Make your bed. Many people underestimate how much seven to eight hours rest in a great bed can help us feel rejuvenated. Buy the best sheets you can afford. If you have never slept on Belgian linen sheets it is definitely worth doing. One set of good sheets that you can strip, wash, and put right back on the bed is much better than three inexpensive sets.

5. Spend time with family. When winter weather brings us indoors we have a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family. Put away the electronic screens and drag out a board game or a deck of cards. Or converse over hot cups of coffee, cocoa, or tea. Use the forced downtime to reconnect with those you love.

Autumn and winter bring us Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of the most special, most magical times of year. Implementing these five simple suggestions can boost your thankfulness and your holiday cheer.

A little seasonal magic for your good health!