Even the hardiest of us can get down in the dumps during the long Maine winter, so we have a few suggestions on fun ways to lift your spirits.

As my New Jersey-born husband reminds me every year, Maine is not an easy place to live. Winter weather can stick around for as long as six months here, with ridiculously short days and dreaded phrases like "wind chill." For someone who grew up on the beach, it's not an easy adjustment to make. And even for those of us who grew up here, it can be hard to keep our spirits up by the time we hit February.

Actually, those winter blues have a name - Seasonal Affective Disorder. While not every case of feeling down in the dumps over cold weather qualifies as SAD, doctors have told me that they see a lot of it in this state. It's that feeling that winter is never going to end that causes you to get depressed, feel tired all the time, and be reluctant to leave the house. But there are ways to deal with it.

The clinical solutions suggest coping mechanisms like spending some time under a special light that helps replace the sharp decrease in sunlight in the winter. But we came up with some ideas of our own that are fun, interesting, and will help you feel more engaged in life. Don't hibernate. Winter can be a beautiful time if you let it. And, hey, Spring is just a few months away. (okay, that wasn't helpful) Next time you're feeling blue about the colder months in Maine, try a few of these suggestions to brighten your mood.

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