Pass the tissues, Tylenol PM, and winter time blues. As much as we all love this time of year that is full of memorable moments and hot cocoa, we are not immune to the season.

Flu season is quickly approaching, along with a whole lot of other 'speed bumps' we cannot avoid. Whether you live in a state that is full of snow or a state that just rains on you all winter long, the lack of sunshine and germs at every step/touch can be a bit much at times. 

Every year can be different. One year can be full of merry and cheer and the next can be nothing but clogged sinuses and praying for Summer to come early. I remember my first winter in Nebraska (California girl here) was a complete and utter shock – I couldn't shake a cold that seemed to last weeks and my mood was down a bit, so I went to the doctor. Surprise, surprise, I was severely vitamin D deficient. Luckily, my doctor spared mercy on me, gave me some Vitamin D pills and some priceless advice. 

Here are 5 tips for staying healthy and happy during this season of joy.

Stay active
Work out when it's freezing outside?!? You ask. Trust me, I get it. It's always hard to get up and get active when the windshield on your car is still icy and your spouse is snoring next to you, but your body depends on it. Our body is a smart machine, it can detect anything. Just by adding a 30 minute walk a day can boost your metabolism and get your endorphins pumping. You're worth it. 

Pass the flu shot
Don't let you and your family fall victim to the flu this season. I have to admit, I barely got my first flu shot a couple of weeks ago and I'm happy I did. It took 2 minutes and it was FREE. Most places like CVS, Walgreens, etc. offer free flue shots. What do you have to lose? It's extra protection against the seasons number one mood killer. Worried your kids won't be too happy to take that step inside the CVS? Offer them ice cream afterwards (that worked for me!). 

Help others
Whoever said "helping others is healing to the soul" was absolutely right! There's a certain joy you feel when you know you're doing a selfless act that will help and enrich someone else's life who may be less fortunate. Especially during this season, there are a lot of open slots for volunteer work. Try checking out your local town website or Facebook page for updates on volunteer opportunities. 

Eat well
This time of year tends to call for a lot of cookies and warm drinks but the pit fall is that a lot of these tasty treats are loaded with sugar. All though they are scrumptious at the moment, that yummy bite can lead to a sugar high that will result in a low. I found that by replacing sugar with healthier alternatives like Stevia and Truvia made for more of a guilt free experience. 

Remember to include veggies and protein to all meals and avoid starches. Chili and soups are wonderful options, as they often result in a lot of leftovers and tends to keep everyone warm and happy. 

Get out and live
There is nothing better than packing the kiddos into the car and going on an adventure. Whether it's as simple as taking a trip to the grocery store to make a yummy meal together or visiting a distant family member. Don't let the weather hold you hostage in the house, grab your mittens and experience the joy of the season.