These are certainly challenging times. There is so much uncertainty as we try to find firm ground upon what feels like shifting sand. Even for those who are employed or have financial reserves, they are still sucked into a mass consciousness of fear and worry about what lies ahead. We worry about our health, or the health of our children or our elders. We worry if our businesses will be allowed to stay open, or whether we will have a job in the coming year, or whether we will be able to find a job. Will we be able to travel or gather confidently with our friends and loved ones? Will the vaccine be the answer to our problems, or is it one more thing to worry about…?

Our low moods are dampened even more when days are dreary, cold and wet, despite the fact that we desperately need the rain.  These grey days can generate a case of the blues in the most positive among us. Those who are prone to anxiety or depression are especially challenged!

If these words resonate with you, then you might also benefit from the advice I’m sharing with my clients to help them stay positive as they move through these uncertain times.

Exercise:  Exercising just 20 to 30 minutes a day can help elevate our mood.  Cardio exercise generates endorphins, those natural hormones that help us to feel good and combat depression.  Stretching, yoga and strength training are also good.  It’s not necessary to sign up at a gym or purchase expensive equipment.  Just walking for 20-30 minutes a day will give you the same effect.

Pamper yourself.  Most of us don’t set aside enough time for self-care.  This is especially true for women.  Now more than ever is the time to be good to yourself.  Take time luxuriate in a bubble bath, or stop for a latte, or curl up with a good book, or take time to walk in nature!  These few minutes we spend nurturing ourselves let us know at a deep in our core that we matter; that we are important! And YOU are important! You have value! You deserve time for your own self-care. Especially if you spend lots of time caring for others.

Speak Up.  Many of us become depressed or anxious when stressed-out or overwhelmed.  Life has become so fast-paced. Often we cram way too many things into an already jam-packed day.  Some of us don’t know how to set boundaries or to “just say no!”  Some of us don’t know how, or don’t feel we have the right, to express what we need or want.  We tend to put ourselves last.  By speaking up, saying NO, and setting boundaries we can regain a sense of our own worth and claim our rightful spot in our list of priorities. Aren’t we told on the airplane to put our oxygen mask on first before helping our child? It’s OK, and sometimes necessary, to put yourselves first.

Reach out.  With low-moods and depression comes lethargy.  When we are fatigued and unmotivated it is easier to isolate than to get out and be social.  Yet the best way to counter depression is to reach out to others.  We human beings need connection.  It’s a basic need and helps to rebuild those happy feel-good chemicals in our brain.  So if you are self-isolating, then make a point to reach out and connect; you will probably find that others are glad that you did!

Practice gratitude.  When we focus on those things for which we are grateful, our minds shift from the negative thoughts of worry, lack and limitation.  I have a crystal bead light catcher dangling from my rear-view mirror.  It reminds me to think of something for which I am grateful.  This simple daily practice helps me to maintain a positive attitude.  Even though there are lots of things that I don’t like right now, I still find many things for which I am grateful.  I bet if you take up this simple practice that you will find lots to be grateful for too!

Cultivate Pleasure.  When we focus on positive thoughts our brain chemistry is altered so that we create more hormones like serotonin and endorphins that helps us feel-good. Cultivating positive thoughts and experiences actually perpetuates a more positive mood.  Even though life can be stressful and worrisome right now, it is still possible to maintain a positive attitude by simply taking time to enjoy nature, listen to music, read a good book, fix a good meal, watch a movie, laugh with a friend, or play with a child or pet.  These are all inexpensive yet important ways of preventative care that can repel the ravages of stress, anxiety and depression.

Help someone.  Helping others shifts the focus from our own concerns.  It helps us open our hearts, to be more sensitive and compassionate.  It also helps us to build those human connections that are so important.  No matter how bad things are, it always seems as if there is someone out there who is in worse shape.

Doing one or several of these suggestions daily will help you maintain a more positive outlook on life.  If you find that you still can’t shake the blues, please feel free to contact me for a complementary 20-minute consultation to find out how transformational life coaching and hypnotherapy can help you reclaim your sense of joy and find greater inner peace.  Call 415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com. For more information please visit my website  www.joyreichard.com.

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