Winter begins on Friday, just as the biggest gift-giving and party-going holidays swing into high gear. Nature has shut down for a long winter’s nap while we rev ourselves into a frenzy of eating, drinking, and dealing with cranky loved ones who just can’t deal with it all.

It’s time to take a lesson from Mother Nature, who always proves herself wiser than the rest of us. We can get ourselves to bed a little earlier, giving both our minds and bodies much-needed rest. Surely there is something we can cut back on our “to do” list — whether it is something we need to do ourselves or we are asking someone else to do — if not on a daily basis then on a weekly basis. And although the daylight hours are short, it’s probably more important during winter than any other season to spend some time outdoors, getting out of our artificially heated homes, offices, and cars, and revitalizing ourselves with some brisk, fresh air.