As our hours of sunlight get shorter and shorter as winter approaches, that dreaded 'winter depression' also in in sight. Could the main factor in this mood swing be more than just the cold weather and too many family parties? Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our health, both mental and physical. Vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to depression and high blood pressure, but it is easier than you think to get your necessary amount. The two main ways to get vitamin D are by exposing your bare skin to sunlight or by taking vitamin D supplements. You can’t get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food. Lay out in the sun (without sunglasses on!) for 15-30 minutes depending on your skin tone. You should be in the sun for half of the time it takes for your skin to turn pinkish. The reason I say ditch the sunglasses is because the thin skin of your eyelids can absorb vitamin d at a much faster rate than other areas of your body. Exposing that to direct sunlight will give you a super-boost of vitamin d! That being said, it's not always easy to be out in the sun during the winter months so make it a point to get out of your office for your lunch break. Yes, its cold, but its your happiness you're dealing with! For an extra boost: Try dishes with mushrooms, tofu, eggs, and soy products!