It's easy to start feeling glum this time of year with the excitement of the holyday season behind us and the New Year steadily progressing towards its conclusion.

Maybe you didn't quite stick to your resolutions, or the chaotic demands of the work week have gotten you down - let's face it, the dreary weather doesn't exactly help. Whatever the case may be, here are ten small things that you can do right now to instantly lift your spirits.

By following the instructions bellow, you can quickly improve your outlook until the milder summer months come frolicking by.

While each of these steps may seem ridiculously obvious, all together they are highly effective strategies for becoming more productive and content. To begin:

1) Wake up early - Carpe that Diem

Early morning is an enchanting time of quietude and tranquility. It is a time to collect one's thoughts and ruminate over the impending day. The elderly and young have been savvy to this knowledge for years!  Remember back to when you were young and the wild pleasure you got from waking up before everyone else to watch Saturday morning cartoons. 
While we all relish those few extra minutes of snooze time, especially during the infamous Montreal winters, do yourself a favour and make the extra effort to get out of bed - as painful as it may be.

Savour the opportunity to do things that you might otherwise not find time to do during the tumult of the week. Maybe you want to brush up on your conversational Italian, or master a new chord progression. Whatever way you chose to spend your time, try setting your alarm clock an hour earlier in the morning, and see the difference an early start can make on your outlook.

Tips for waking up early:

  -Drink plenty of fluids before bed and let nature run its course in the morning
  -Move next door to a railway crossing or in a flight path
  -Adopt several large dogs
  -Set an alarm

2) Clean your living space

You can never underestimate the importance of a clean and tidy living environment. Cleanliness may not be godliness, but there is no reason not to live like a god. Start by making your bed as soon as you get up in the morning - even something as small as this will have a positive effect on your mental state.

Although it's easy to let things like laundry and cleaning "slide" during the craziness of the work week, it is well worth the effort and time to do a big weekly clean. Sunday is a perfect day for such a purpose, as a tidy living space will give you a fresh outlook on the week.

3) Learn something new every day

Learning something new - even if it's only one word - makes you instantly smarter! So the next time you have five minutes to spare, crack that dictionary and ameliorate your vocabulary.

4) Get physical

There is no shortage of reasons why getting active is good for you. But for our purposes, short bursts of intense cardio will suffice. Such physical activity triggers certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. If getting to the gym is not an option, there are plenty of exercises that require no more than a towel or mat and some good tunes.

5) Cook something delicious

Nothing is as uplifting for the human soul as the aromas of our favourite dish simmering over a low flame. If you are not feeling up to it, you can always skip out on a big production and go straight for certain foods that have been proven to increase serotonin activity in your brain - for those of you who don't know, serotonin are pretty much tiny chemical explosions of goodness.

Some of the best foods include:

  -Greek yogurt

  -Dark chocolate

  -Swiss Card


  -Blue potatoes



  -Cherry tomatoes



6) Pamper yourself

Take some time and treat yourself to a long hot bath. If that's not your style, then a good shower will do. Bust out your best clothes and get dolled up. Even if you have nowhere to go, there is no reason why you can't still feel great. Go ahead, put on that your silk shirt or walk around in your new shoes. Clothes might not make the man, but they sure do make him feel like one.

7) Go somewhere you have never been before

Even if you are the kind of person who does not like to stray from your comfort zone or the beaten path, travelling to new places is a great way of broadening your horizons and learning new things. Remember that it is important to have as many new experiences as possible in order to keep growing as a person. Take a chance and go somewhere new. The worst that will happen is that nobody will ever hear from you again.

8) Have an adventure

Forget all the stress that comes with parking and finding directions. Take advantage of the city's public transit to have a spontaneous adventure. Instead of spending another weekend in front of the computer, take a trip to one of Montreal's many green spaces and recharge your spirits. With the wind in your hair and the fresh air at your face, you will be wondering why you haven't done this is so long. 

9) Get positive - anything is possible

With each passing year, science is confirming that the thoughts in our heads influence the universe around us....or at least this is what they say is going on.  If that's is too much to think about, then just remember that if all else fails, having a positive mental attitude is the first thing that you can do to improve your situation. While changing your outlook is not as easy as snapping your fingers, the one thing that you have control over in this world are the thoughts inside your head. The next time you start feeling down in the dumps, make a conscious effort to filter out your negative thoughts. You will be amazed at how effective this can be. 

10) Get inspired 

In all honesty, is there anything greater than the feeling you get from listening to beautiful music or reading amazing literature? It doesn't matter in the least what it is that moves your soul, but whatever it is, do it more often! Droning through life without taking time to remind ourselves why we work so hard and keep so busy is a sure way of getting some major grumples. There are so many amazing things in this world, there is no reason why you can't experience at least some of them.


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