#1 Eat protein before noon
Researchers have found that keeping Serotonin at healthy levels can help to alleviate depression, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic, and even excess anger.  Eating protein in the morning ensures that our bodies have the building blocks needed to make the amino acid Tryptophan, a precursor to Serotonin. 

Tryptophan works best when consumed in conjunction with a small bit of carbohydrate, such as a scoop of quinoa, a handful of berries, or a few tablespoons of vegetables.   

#2 Get your vitamin D-3 
Adding a vitamin D-3 supplement or foods that are rich in vitamin D-3 to your routine in the dark months of winter can do much to alleviate a depressed outlook.  Exposing your skin to the sun throughout the winter in northern climates is nearly impossible.  Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that requires a synthesis from exposure to sunlight as well as intake from the diet.  Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and eggs are good sources of vitamin D3, as are beef and liver.    

#3 Drink sunny tea & use essential oils 
Drinking a daily tea of flowers or orange peel can bring a little spring and summer into your home in the winter.  I recommend making a tea blend of equal parts of chamomile, lemon balm, and linden.  Steep four tablespoons of the blend in a quart of hot water, cover, and set aside for 20-30 minutes.  Strain and drink warm flower tea throughout the day.  Integrating therapeutic-quality essential oils into your routine is a fantastic way to uplift the mood.  Essential oils have the unique distinction among natural cures of being able to directly and immediately affect the limbic system and change brain function.  This means that, essentially, if we have the right oils we can choose how we feel.  The best oils for uplifting the mood include citrus oils, such as lemon, orange, or Bergamot and floral oils, such as Lavender and Geranium.  It is important to smell the oils if you are after an emotional effect.  Bringing these naturally uplifting plant cures into your lifestyle is an excellent way to improve sleep, reduce stress, and uplift your mood throughout the winter months. 

#4 Learn to love outdoor exercise.  
Fresh air and exercise have both been shown to improve symptoms of minor depression.  Combine the two with outdoor exercise.  Hike a butte near your home, walk to a yoga class, ride your bike to the grocery store, run the stairs up to your home, or take your dog out for a game of frisbee.  If you already exercise at a health club, make a point to take a few laps around the block as a warm up for your class or work out.  Most of all, get outside, breathe deeply, have fun, and dress for the weather!

#5 Practice gratitude.  
Studies from the practice of positive psychology show that there is a huge benefit to keeping a journal by your bed and recording what you are grateful for every night.  Doing this for a week can cause improvement of mood for six months!  There are two parts to this practice: feeling grateful and expressing it.  What are you grateful for?  Make it routine to say a silent thanks and watch your life transform!

If you would like to learn more about using essential oils during maternity, postpartum, or infant care, use the button below to visit my website and access our community forum, webinars, Birth Kit Mama training program or professional program.