1) Take your vitamins!
Vitamin D, for instance. I don't mean the sunlight version - though that would be lovely, but rather the supplement. Vitamin D does a world of good in the winter, from helping to fight off sickness to helping lift spirits.
Other supplements to consider? B-vitamins (especially for women on oral contraceptives), Omega 3s (like fish oil - depressed people tend to report lower DHA levels and might benefit from the increase in fatty acids)*, and Coenzyme Q10.
Of course each of our bodies has different needs but if you haven't been taking a multivitamin now might not be a bad time to start!
2) Opt for alternatives
Both coffee and sugar can increase symptoms of depression. If you have some beautiful decaffeinated teas you usually save, go ahead and brew yourself a pot instead of an afternoon coffee.
Since cutting sugar can be quite a feat maybe consider more natural sugars like honey and agave nectar once in a while.
If you can spare a few bucks an indulgence can do a lot to lift your spirits. Get a haircut, fresh flowers, a new shirt you truly love. Whatever it is make sure it is within your means (compulsive and depression spending is nasty, nasty stuff), and that it is something that truly brings you joy.
Or treat yourself by using the good china, the best linens, the fancy guest towels - whatever you've been saving for no reason.
4) Borrow some summer
Here's a free treat! The library usually keeps the past year of all the periodicals and magazines in stock. Take an hour or so and go find the spring and summer issues of magazines you don't already receive or haven't read - preferably ones chock full of beautiful images and bright colors.
For me, getting a copy of the Donna Hay magazine from October/November (which was Australian Spring) was the best gift ever - it made me feel warm and bright.
Can't get to the library in the snow? What about Bright Bazaar for some color therapy?
5) Get physical
And I do mean this in many, many ways...get busy and clean something, dance about, move your body, heck, have sex! Reconnect with your body, your spouse, your space - whatever it takes to get your heart rate up. Exercise even. Ok, ok, don't take it too far now...
6) Make, bake and create
This could fall under the indulge category for some - but turn off the TV and make something, bake something, create something! Challenging ourselves with complex problems presented by cooking and crafting open and use a different part of the brain than most daily activities. Those activities and the synapses fired can lead to feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, and accomplishment - all of which fight those winter blues.
7) Breathe deep
Did you know breathing can actually be used in therapy? Yep. Just the simple act of reconnecting to our breath can create profound healing. The first thing you learn in beginning yoga practice is about how to breathe - and look how many people are positively hooked on yoga...
Truly though, there are many breathing techniques involved in radical and transformative breathing practices - this article gives a few and some great information to ponder.
Can't face the idea of intentional and transformational breathing quite yet? That's ok, try the next idea.
8) Stop and smell the roses
What about triggering your senses with something else to help lift your spirits? How about aromatherapy?
Here's a super quick aromatherapy idea: Bring a pot of water to boil, add in slices of fresh citrus or a squirt of lemon juice if you have it, turn down the heat a bit, take a few deep breathes of the wonderful citrus smell. After pour your citrus water in a mug and add some honey for a delicious warm beverage.
9) Run away
Far, far away. Listen to a Beach Boys song for location inspiration. I'll say no more.
When all else fails, right?
* Adams PB, Lawson S, Sanigorski A, Sinclair AJ. Arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid ratio in blood correlates positively with clinical symptoms of depression. Lipids 1996;31:S-157?S-161.