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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

15 Steps Toward a Better Mood

By Christina Katz 

Even if the weather outside is not frightful, the blues can take a parent down any time during the darker months of winter. If you are subject to the holiday blahs, a post-holiday crash, or gloomy moods all winter long, this list of blues-busters can come to your emotional rescue.

1. Be honest with yourself. You’ll bounce back from the blues sooner if you can admit, at least to yourself, that something is bothering you. 

2. Tell someone you can trust. Never keep the blues to yourself no matter what the severity. Usually the sooner you share your feelings with a trusted friend or ally, the sooner you experience relief. If no one is available right this minute, write imaginary letters to someone safe.

3. Practice acceptance. There is no point getting angry at yourself. This will only make you feel worse. Instead, admit your powerlessness over your feelings. Everyone has feelings and accepting them no matter what is part of being human.

4. Get plenty of rest. When you feel down, getting enough sleep is crucial although getting too much sleep can work against improving your mood. Determine what amount of sleep helps you feel energized and set the alarm accordingly.

5. Let the sky hold itself up for a while. Sometimes stress brings on the blues. The first thing you can do to create some relief is let go of every responsibility that is not yours. Make a to-do list and then cross off everything you don’t have to do right now.

6. Ask for help. Don’t be a martyr. People who feel comfortable asking for and receiving help are usually not sufferers. If you can’t speak up, it’s time to shake off any victim tendencies you may have and start standing up for yourself.

7. Address anger. If you don’t believe it is acceptable for you to express anger, that unexpressed emotion will hurt you in the long run. Ask yourself, “What am I not allowed to feel angry about?” And then start letting any disallowed feelings out in a constructive manner.

8. Move some energy. If you are feeling down and not exercising, then this is an easy fix. Don’t think about it too much, just move. 

9. Express needs and wants. It’s true that you can’t always get what you want. But you should always be able to get what you need. After you have fulfilled your basic needs, it’s time to start asking for what you want.

10. Take responsibility. If you are thinking that the attention of others should be riveted on what you need and want, that’s backwards. Let others off the hook and reclaim your happiness. You are the creator of a more joyful life. No one can accomplish this for you.

11. Create a prayer practice.You do not have to be religious to pray. Even if you are an atheist, you can surrender to a greater good or a higher power. Turn over everything stressing you, and ask for help making room for good to flow in.

12. Steer clear of complainers. One thing you can’t afford when you are feeling shaky is the company of negative people. Without explanation, let the voicemail pick up, don’t respond promptly to texts or emails, and slacken any volleys of communication with anyone who brings you down.

13. Stop guilt-tripping yourself. Don’t let anyone manipulate you into apologizing for increasing self-care. Steer clear of those who use guilt to try to control your choices. Your primary job in life is taking excellent care of yourself. There is no need to apologize.

14. Build inspiration into your daily life. Opportunities for daily inspiration abound in the Internet age. Set up daily uplifting messages to your inbox, listen to radio shows, or stream videos that make you feel good.

15. Focus on appreciation. No matter how badly you feel, surely there is something that makes you feel good. There is nothing wrong with feeling grateful for a cup of coffee, as long as you really mean it. Notice your appreciation, feel it, share it, write it down. 

Find out more about author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz at