Getting more energy for 2016

While we're inching toward more sunlight each day, these long, dark, cold days of winter tend to weigh heavily on my productivity--and I know lots of you can relate. But this winter has been a little easier thanks, in part, to these four things:

Light alarm clock. When I told my friend Pauline that I was struggling to get up in the dark, she recommended this alarm clock that slowly becomes brighter, mimicking the sunrise. The change it's made in my energy levels was immediate and profound. There's something to the gradual half hour rising process that works a thousand times better than being jolted awake by the alarm on my phone. 

Just 15 minutes of exercise. With the cold temps and a jam packed schedule, it can be difficult for me to get any exercise in, but committing to just 15 minutes each day makes the commitment seem a lot less daunting--and I can fit it into those otherwise-missed pockets of time. My office recently installed a walking treadmill, which is awesome. Sometimes I'll jump on the elliptical during my lunch break. And there are great, short yoga videos on YouTube. I usually end up working out for longer than 15 minutes and my energy skyrockets. 

Vitamin D. Most people are low in Vitamin D during the winter months because of a lack of sun exposure. Taking a supplement has helped my energy levels enormously. If you're standing in CVS trying to decide between D2 and D3 supplements, my doctor suggests choosing D3, which is more easily absorbed into your system. 

Stop light gratitude. I picked this tip up from the Happier podcast, and since I have such a long commute it works especially well for me. Instead of staring blankly into space or (tsk tsk) picking up your phone when you get to a red light, use the brief moment of time to think of something you're grateful for. I often think, "I'm grateful to have a career that rewards creativity," and then, when I'm having a 2pm slump, I remember this moment of gratitude and it works better than caffeine at getting me back on track. 

I hope any or all of these are helpful as you jump into your goals for 2016!