Christmas is over.....your friends and family have gone home...... the house is a mess..... the bills are starting to trickle in..... and you are still processing what to do about your aunt's comment. Feeling let down and depressed is common after the holidays are over. Here are five things you can do to improve your mood:
1. Practice Gratitude - Think about something someone has done for you recently and make a point to tell that person what this meant to you. Journal about three things that you are grateful for or write a letter to someone that you appreciate in your life. Be specific about what they mean to you and their wonderful characteristics. Or practice a gratitude ritual daily by thinking about special things that have happened to you, a special animal or person that you love or something that is good that is happening in your life right now. The old adage reminds us to "Count Our Blessings."
2. Set an Intention - Sometimes, we have a lot of ideas in our heads, but we find we are lacking the motivation to carry these out. Set an intention for your day and adhere to it. Perhaps it's a small step in the direction of your goal to improve your physical or emotional health. Maybe it's making and eating one healthy meal, going for a 20 minute walk or setting aside 5 minutes to meditate. These small steps and intentions will help you feel like you have accomplished something in your day and help overcome a low mood.
3. Meditate - I know it sounds simple, but if you can develop a habit of taking a few moments out of your day to meditate, you will find that you have more control over your thoughts and feelings. Find a quiet time in your day and just focus on a pleasant memory or scene and take 5 -8 deep breaths. Imagine letting go of whatever thoughts come to mind and just keep coming back to the scene and your breath. Lie down or find a comfortable seated position. Place one hand on your belly and one on your heart and focus on breathing into your belly. When lying, gravity will help to keep your diaphragm down, so that you can practice pushing air into your belly which will then bring oxygen to your brain and help you relax.
4. Volunteer - Focusing on the needs of others is a great way to shift attention away from negative thoughts and feelings and increase your feelings of gratitude. Visit www.volunteermatch.org for opportunities in your community.
5. De-Clutter Something - Sometimes just as simple as organizing a drawer can do amazing things for your spirits and feel a sense of accomplishment. If you are feeling so inspired, you can even tackle a room by creating piles to give away, throw away and organize!
Finally, if you are in therapy, make sure you talk about what is bothering you. Sometimes, because we feel so bad, we mistakenly believe that we will be a burden to our therapist. However, your therapist can only help you if you are honest and open about how you really feel. If you are feeling really bad, tell your therapist and don't be afraid to ask for an extra appointment. Also, this is an important time to stay compliant with your medication regimen. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that their medications are not working. This is not the time to stop taking your medication. Instead, call your physician or psychiatrist.