In the wintertime, you might arrive at work while it's still dark outside, and by the time you leave for home, it's already getting dark again.
It's all part of the seasonal doldrums, when the holidays are over and summer is still a long, long way away. How do you keep yourself going in the dead of winter?
We asked readers to share their tips for fending off winter woes, and got suggestions ranging from outdoor hikes and walks to playing cards with friends, and from comfort food to high-powered vitamins.
For Peggy Williams of Santa Rosa, bookkeeper for a restaurant group, a trip to the gym changes the tone of the whole day. She originally started exercising because of an injury.
"In 2000, I rolled my four-wheeler in Cazadero," Williams said. "I hurt my left knee and right shoulder. Then I was given a membership at the Parkpoint Club as a Christmas gift. I started out doing water aerobics and worked my way up to lifting weights."
What began as a form of physical therapy soon became a way of life. When Williams gets off work in the afternoon, she heads straight for the health club.
"When I walk in, I leave my baggage or problems or whatever on the outside," she said. "I have a good time and smile. It feels good. I love being around positive people. It helps you find a light in winter."
For Herlinda Heras of Rohnert Park, an agent for the New York Life Insurance Company, staying upbeat during the winter months is all about making and sharing good food.
"I just woke up to a batch of chicken soup with Tuscan kale, Meyer lemon, leeks and garlic, cooked overnight in the crockpot," she said.
"It seems all my friends have been fighting colds," Heras added. "Soup cures what ails you and it's always nice to see a smiling friend's face, showing up with a homemade lunch."