Feeling stuck in a never-ending winter? Declare an early spring with these quick ideas.
1. Bust a friend's blahs. Take her out for coffee or a glass of wine, or offer to take her kids while she enjoys an hour or two alone. Such a simple gesture will brighten your own day as well.
2. Indulge yourself by paying someone else to do one of those dreaded winter chores: Pay to have your car washed, for example. While you wait, relax with a cup of coffee or tea and your favorite section of the newspaper or a magazine you don't receive at home.
3. Make a milk bath to rejuvenate tired, flaky winter skin. Simply add a cup of milk or a packet of powdered milk to running bath water. The milk's lactic acid will help exfoliate dead skin cells and leave you feeling pampered and refreshed all day.
4. Brighten your home with a splash of color. Search your home (or your favorite discount store) for vivid accents that will add some energy to your home - and your outlook - this time of year. Try a new rug in the entry hall, a few bright new pillowcases on the bed, new bathtowels, or a new tablecloth in the dining room. Overstock.com has a good selection of luxury linens at low prices: http://www.overstock.com
5. Make an appointment at your favorite cosmetics counter for a makeover, and watch your spirits lift.
6. A recent study indicates that a weekly talk with a friend can be as effective against moderate depression as counseling or antidepressants. Even if you're not feeling blue, call a friend who may be having a tough time. Meet her for coffee or a jog through the park. Let her know how much she means to you.
7. Cold temperatures can wreak havoc on your hands. Give your cuticles a treat by soaking them in olive oil for five minutes. Then massage the oil into your hands and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and slather on your favorite scented lotion.
8. Reduce stress by working on your ability to stay in the present moment. For a few moments at a time, make an effort to become fully conscious of your life and the situation at hand. Concentrate on each of your five senses. Tune out distractions by focusing your awareness only on immediate stimuli. Such mindfulness is meditative and calming.
9. Write yourself a heartfelt Valentine. In it, record the traits you admire about yourself as well as a few promises for the year to come. Mail the letter. When it arrives, tuck it away until you need a boost.
10. Declare an early spring. Treat yourself to a reminder that sunny days are ahead with a new floral body spray, a scented candle, or a bouquet of fresh cut flowers for your dining room table.
11. Make a list of activities you enjoy solo. Rank them. Then make the time to do at least one item from your "top five" today.
12. Start the "Generosity Game" in your neighborhood. It all starts with a card inviting you to do a good turn for someone - anonymously. Then you pass on the card, which invites the kindness recipient to perform a random act of kindness for someone else. You can download and print the cards at the Generosity Game website: http://www.generosity.org. The site also provides more information on the game and fosters imagination on creative ways to make the world a little nicer.