Until the first buds of spring arrive, winter can seem like it will stretch on forever. Here are 10 ways to shake up your day and stave off the winter blues a little longer

Vacation in bed. Go to a local newsstand or bookstore and pick up a variety of newspapers or magazines from cities around the world. The next morning, serve yourself (or get your spouse to serve you) a continental breakfast in bed: coffee or tea, orange juice, fresh fruit, and a croissant or brioche. Stretch out and read the international news. You might as well be in a Paris hotel room!

Dig out the china. Take a simple activity, like a meal or tea, and make an occasion of it. Pull out the nice dishes, light the candles, put on some classical music and enjoy your favourite food, ceremoniously.

Indulge a little -- but not too much. Dark chocolate and red wine both contain stress-busting antioxidants -- did you need further invitation? Invest in a high quality serving of each. But don't overindulge as this will lead to a crash the next day!

Let the light in. Make sure you're opening all your curtains and blinds as early in the day as possible. And even if it's cold, get outside for at least a few minutes to stand in the sun. Other dark-beating strategies include getting a full-spectrum light to read in front of, or one of the dawn-simulating lights. Put in slightly brighter light bulbs (to save energy and energy costs, try the new fluorescents). And although it won't help your body's need for sunlight, using candles to create a warm glow at night can certainly lift the spirits.

Pick up the beat. Get out some of those loud, foot-tapping (or guitar-smashing) favourites, crank up the stereo, and dance as if no one's watching (especially if no one actually is). Music can impact on mood, and the exercise is a great blues-buster.

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by:
Jennifer Gruden