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Teen Talk

November 12, 2011

A Word of Advice: Focus on positives in dark days of winter

As the days go by, the weather declines faster and faster. It's time to take out your hats, mittens, scarves and _ my personal favorite _ fuzzy socks.

Now is when you put away your shorts and tank tops and take out your comfortable sweatpants and sweatshirts. You might want to dig them out early to make sure they're ready to wear.

There's nothing worse than having that first really cold day hit just to find out you're favorite warm sweater smells musty.

For many people, winter is not their favorite part of the year.

Although it's filled with holiday cheer, it's often a depressing time for many. So before winter hits us full on, prepare yourself mentally.

Start your Christmas shopping early; that way you have less stress to deal with during the holidays. You'll also soften that "OMG, I am so broke now!" feeling that hits you after doing a shopping marathon on Christmas Eve.

A reason why you may find yourself in a slump during the cold months is because you find there is not much to do indoors.

However, nowadays there is a lot more to do. My mom teaches Zumba classes at the YMCA weekly. It's a great way to stay warm and keep in shape during the holiday season.

Start up a new hobby, such as knitting or sewing.

Perhaps make a few bucks on the side by shoveling your neighbor's sidewalks and driveways.

There are many things you do indoors and outdoors to keep busy, which would help you from becoming depressed.

Depression can lead to weight gain, which may cause people to become even more depressed.

Let's face it, during the cold months, we don't like going outside unless we have to. Instead we sit home under blankets next to a fire.

With all that extra time being home, you are more likely to grab snacks more often. You can exercise right at home with workout tapes. Get together with a couple friends and have a workout day.

Another easy way to stay in shape while staying indoors is a treadmill. If you do not have one, your local gym will. If you don't want to make the commute, try running up and down your stairs; it's certainly not the same but it will give you the same effect.

Winter is a good time to reflect on how you spent your summer. It seems we always plan this and that and when summer hits, many of the plans we made are right out the window. So ask yourself: Did you enjoy it? Did you travel? Did you do something you have always wanted to do? Take the time now to think of plans for next summer that you wish to accomplish and write them down. It's always good to have a list to refer to.

With all the holidays that exist during the wintertime, it's highly likely that you will be seeing family from all over frequently. Some of us may not jump for joy over this, but keeping in touch with family is very important _ they will always be there for you. Holidays create a special bonding time for you and your relatives. Don't take this time for granted; enjoy your vacation.

Yes, for some, winter will never be as exciting as summer and may be downright depressing. However, you have the choice to make it something better for you and those around you. Don't let it get the better of you and find some ray of light to focus on.

Melissa Flathmann, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at the State University College at Plattsburgh. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an e-mail at or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

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