1. Acknowledge that you feel blue.
So often we try to deny what we feel and who wouldn't want to when we feel low? Admitting you feel down can lead to feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt. However, when we acknowledge our feelings, it creates an opening for us to let the feeling pass instead of working so hard to push it away.
2. Move your body.
We're not talking about a 60-minute high impact spinning class! Take a short walk around the block, dance in your bedroom or living room, or just practice some gentle stretching. Gentle movement has a positive effect on mood and energy level.
3. Take in something beautiful everyday.
It may be the color of the sunset, a picture on your computer, a beautiful poem or quote, a favorite soft blanket. Appealing to our senses counteracts feelings of numbness or apathy we often have during the dark winter months. It's important however, to not be distracted when doing this activity! Take time to notice what feels beautiful about your choice and relish it.
4. Light Therapy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects as many as one-third of the population and impacts women twice as often as men. While there is an initial expense in the purchase of the light, daily use has shown to provide a significant improvement in mood.
Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine and increases the level of endorphins in the body. So watch an old favorite comedy that gets you every time, no matter how many times you've seen it!
Research shows that even a small commitment to a cause leads to feelings of worthiness and improved self-esteem. In addition, the social connection is a great antidote to the isolation many of us experience in the winter months. So go ahead, offer to read to children at a local school or sign up for a park clean-up day. If you're feeling more ambitious, help organize a neighborhood food drive now that the holidays are over; there are plenty of families in need!
7. Practice meditation.
The beauty of this age-old practice is that it can be practiced anytime or anywhere. Today there are many opportunities to learn how to meditate including local classes or c.d.'s that can be downloaded straight to your MP3 player.
8. Have a date with yourself on Valentine's Day.
Get a massage, a manicure or buy yourself some flowers. Cultivating love for yourself is a sure fire way to create openness to your spouse, partner or a love interest you haven't even met! No matter where your love life is, remember that a solid relationship starts from the relationship you share with yourself.
9. Eat more foods with Omega-3 fatty acids.
There is a host of evidence that increasing intake of these essential oils found in fish such as salmon and tuna can result in improved mood, concentration and energy. Omega 3 fatty acids also benefit cardiac health and decrease inflammation. If you're not a fish lover, try walnuts, beans, olive oil or winter squash.
10. Seek professional help if necessary.
Clinical depression is more than a case of the blues. If you suspect you are suffering from a clinical depression seek help from a trained professional. To learn more about clinical depression, visit NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness http://www.nami.org.