Winter is great for many reasons — warm soup, fuzzy coats and toasty fires. And, it’s also a season in which on some days, it seems like the sun gets swallowed up by the moon, never to be seen again. Days are short, the landscape is grey and drab, and the temperature keeps you hiding inside. As a result, you start to feel just like the outside landscape — drab, sad and blah.

I lived this way for years, every February finding myself in a panic to escape the Midwest winter — put me on a plane to anywhere. But this got expensive, didn’t always fit my schedule and frankly, waiting until you get to the point where you just “have to” do anything isn’t the best way to make decisions. You spend more, waste time and usually don’t get what you need. One short burst of sun to combat the effects of the months of winter gloom just didn’t cut it.

Then I got smart. I realized that I, Christine, was just like a flower. I needed sun, nourishment and love to grow and bloom. I saw that living for any extended period of time without these things made my body, spirit and mind unhealthy.

So I implemented my preventative “From-Winter-Gloom-to-Happy-Bloom” plan. Just like with my physical health, I need to care for my emotional health.

You, too, are like a flower, all humans are. Which means during the winter months, to ward off the effects of the winter gloom, make sure you are surrounded by the things that keep you happy, nourished and loved. Make sure your days are bright no matter what the weather.

Here’s my top three checklist for turning Winter Gloom into Happy Bloom. Try them out and watch how your mind, body and spirit respond.

Flowers on a Nightstand1. Flowers First Thing. Place a bouquet of flowers where you see them first thing when you get up in the morning and first thing when you come home in the evening. This gives you the feeling of being met with a life force and happiness at critical points in your day. It may be drab outside, but where you live, it’s bright. Some of my favorite flowers in the winter are: orchids, callas, carnations, daffodils, gerbera, irises, hydrangeas, lilies, ranunculuses, roses and tulips.

2. Flowers at Work. Place a few buds on your work desk and enjoy stress-free mini breaks throughout the day when you see and smell them. Nourish yourself with a series of stretches, breaths, water and then of course, smelling beautiful blooms. For great fragrance, I recommend freesia. As well as being a beautiful and sweet smelling relief from workday stress, the flowers actually will help you work smarter. A study at Texas A&M University shows that idea generation, creative performance and problem solving skills improve substantially in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.

3. Send the Sun. Receive love. Send flowers to your winter-bound family and friends. Call up their local florist and ask them to put on the card, “Sending you the sun and some happiness to brighten up your wintery days.” Then when your relative or friend calls to say, “Thank you for the sun and happiness,” ask them to send you a picture of the flowers so you can see them. Receive the love from them like food for you body, mind and spirit.

Love Dare: I invite you to take at least one of these happiness-generating actions and then post your experience here.