We've reached the end of 2012 and that brings in the holidays, and in the Northern Hemisphere, old man winter. For some winter is energizing, and for others it can produce feelings of depression. The winter blues can be scary. How long will this feeling last? Why do you feel this way? What can you do about it? The winter blues are usually temporary and here are 15 ways you can boost your mood.
- Find music that uplifts you and play it. For example: Justin Timberlake works for me because his music is fun. It's hard not to dance when Sexy Back is on.
- Find movies that make you laugh. I think I have seen When Harry Met Sally and The Breakfast Club 100 times each. Movies with Vince Vaughn or Steve Carrell make me laugh.
- Have happy books on hand. Books that "uplift" me are Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi. Just having time to myself to read makes me happy. Books help to get you out of your own story.
- Stay connected with friends and uplifting people, preferably in real life rather than virtually.
- Be careful about what foods you choose to elevate your mood. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar tend to make depression and anxiety worse, so they are best avoided or limited. You may want to consider supplementing Vitamin B and Omega 3 fish oil to speed your recovery.
- Make a happy document. Put together a collection of your favourite quotes or nice things that people have said about you. Check out this Bodhisattva in metro link. This video makes me laugh hard every time.
- Learn something new. We are fresh and engaged when we are challenged and interested in life.
- Be of service to someone and lend a hand. Helping others takes you out of your head and creates connection and caring.
- Write down 100 things you are grateful for. Gratitude is a a great way to shift your mood.
- Change your scenery. This can be as simple as moving furniture around or creating a nature table of items collected outside, like pretty rocks, leaves or shells, or it can be something much bigger like a geographic cure. A geographic cure would range from a mini vacation, finding another job, to moving to a different location.
- Get creative: write, draw, paint, decorate, make music. Do something that is an expression of you.
- People who are dep-ressed need deep-rest. Get adequate sleep during the night. I can help you with 20 Sleep Strategies if this is a problem for you.
- Brendon Burchard, in his book "The Charge" advocates living congruently. He says that we get stressed when we live outside our values or standards. He suggests identifying those standards by coming up with three words that describe how we ideally want to be when we are alone and three words that capture how we ideally want to be with others. You make these words a mantra of sorts and aim for your day to be according to your ideal. My solo three words are mindful, growth, and joy. My social three words are fearlessness, authenticity, and equanimity.
- I know depression makes physical activity more difficult, but a 30 minute brisk walk out in sunshine and nature is said to work better than Prozac, with no icky side effects, unless you count weight loss and better energy.
Tracy Stevens, CHHC, AADP