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Kick the Winter Blahs

In the beginning, the coldest season thrilled us silly -- afternoons spent by the fire, drinking hot cocoa as the snowflakes floated gently down. But then: It. Just. Kept. Going. Luckily, we know all about the winter doldrums, and we're here to help. We'll keep you sane (not to mention warm, fit and well-moisturized) until spring rears her pretty little head.
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winter blahs salad

I'M TIRED OF ... WINTRY FOOD
Seriously, gourds are sprouting from my ears.

The Cure: Rethink the Season's Veggies
You won't need to turn on your oven or stove to make Kick the Winter Blahs Salad. After eating it, spring won't seem so far away.

 

I'M TIRED OF ... THE WEATHER
Brrrrr.

The Cure: Follow the Sun
Remember the sun? It's that warm, yellowish thing in the sky. For an island getaway, head to the Florida Keys, where the water is turquoise and the weather divine (barring the occasional tropical hurricane, of course). Book a comfortable, no-frills room overlooking lush gardens at the old-timey Siesta Motel (7425 Overseas Hwy., 305-743-5671, siestamotel.net; doubles from $115) on tiny Marathon Island, and use the cash you save for snorkeling -- or just hang out at nearby Bahia Honda, a 524-acre state park that stretches from a thatch palm jungle to a protected stretch of stunning beach.

To grab a breath of balmy South Carolina air, reserve a spacious room with a working fireplace or canopied bed at the Spanish-moss-covered Kings Courtyard Inn (198 King St., 800-845-6119, kingscourtyardinn.com; $680 includes room, passes and breakfast for two people for two nights) during the Charleston Wine + Food Festival (charlestonwineandfood .com). The special rate includes a Friday afternoon foot tour through the antebellum city and Saturday passes to the delicious festivities.

West Coasters, sign up for the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa's San Diego North Surf and Sun package, exclusive to Every Day with Rachael Ray readers (9700 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 866-659-3685, estancialajolla.com; $450 for a single room for two people for two nights, including all mentioned activities). The special (good March through May) includes two nights in a deluxe guest room with vast windows looking out onto the sprawling rancho-style property; an hourlong, personalized surf or paddleboard lesson at the nearby Surf Diva Surf School (surfdiva.com); a Surf Diva beach tote and oversize beach towel; and very necessary post-ocean sangria, plus chips, salsa and guacamole at the hotel's outdoor lounge. Winter is so in your rearview mirror.
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I'M TIRED OF ... THE INDOORS
After nearly six months stuck inside, your four walls are boring you to tears.

The Cure: Head South of the Border (Without Leaving Home)
Throw a Latin cocktail party: Colorful decorations and old friends will make your living room feel brand-new. Alison Hotchkiss, creative director of San Francisco's Alison Events, suggests covering the table with a bold red linen from the local fabric shop (much cheaper than a regular tablecloth) and arranging a rainbow of flowers in festive vases. Pipe in some sultry tunes (Bebel Gilberto's Brazilian bossa nova works) and rent a Mexican or Spanish movie (muted Almodóvar flicks act as moving art). Set out chips and salsa and a self-serve taco bar with grilled fish and spicy condiments. Have your guests bring six-packs of Corona, and you're good to go.
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I'M TIRED OF ... DRY SKIN + HAIR
The combination of harsh winds and sizzling furnaces has not been kind, but look on the bright side: You can now refinish hardwood floors with your elbows.

The Cure: Exfoliate, Moisturize + Minimize
Patrick Melville of the Patrick Melville Salon & Spa in New York City suggests using a loofah sprinkled with household sea salt to slough dead, dull skin. After your tepid shower (hot water will suck out moisture), rub lotion on your still-damp body. Look for creams that include oils (almond, olive) or butters (shea, cocoa), as they sink into skin rather than evaporate (try Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter, $7.50, drugstore .com). Tackle dry hair by shampooing less -- twice weekly is enough; for a daily refresher, apply conditioner to wet hair and rinse. Use a deep-conditioning treatment weekly: ?Sleep in the conditioner, which will be 90 percent dry after a few hours,? then wash it out in the morning, advises Melville (check out Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, $18, drugstore .com). Granted, sleeping in helmet hair isn't the sexiest move, but when you wake up, your locks will be silky. Seems like a fair trade.
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I'M TIRED OF ... THE GYM
The treadmill loops around as you walk in place, your eyes glaze over -- has it really only been two minutes?

The Cure: Switch Up the Routine
Researchers at the University of Florida at Gainesville found that repetition-induced boredom sends even the most well-intentioned folks straight to the couch; people were far more likely to keep up with their workouts when they varied their regimens. A new sports bra or workout playlist can help, but the best thing is to move your body in a whole new way: You'll stay motivated and see results. Try Hot Power Fusion (corepoweryoga.com for prices and locations), a surefire way to shake off the winter ennui. The nontraditional, beginner-friendly course combines the graceful postures of hot yoga with the aerobic flow of vinyasa yoga. During an hour-long session, which takes place in a room heated to 100 degrees, you'll sweat to up-tempo music and work on opening up tight hips, optimizing your balance and strengthening your core -- and banishing that winter chill.

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*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in February 2010.

 

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