If you're feeling down, it can be an effort just to get through the day. While major depression generally isn't something you can alleviate on your own, and you should speak to your doctor about any symptoms you're having, some simple lifestyle changes may be enough to banish a mild case of the blues:

Exercise. Lacing up your sneakers and heading out for a walk may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're feeling down, but moving your body lifts your mood however and wherever you do it. Take advantage of a free one-day or one-week pass to a local gym, buy a cheap jump rope and use it while watching your favorite TV show, or simply put on your favorite tunes and work up a sweat dancing. Since lack of sunlight on short winter days can cause some people to suffer from a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), consider taking that walk-even if it's short-if you happen to get a sunny day.

Pay attention to your diet. What you eat and drink can have an effect on your state of mind. Heading up your grocery list should be foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to relieve depression. Try fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, as well as flaxseeds, flax oil and walnuts. Go easy on the alcohol as well. Although the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate nutritional and dietary products, and not all doctors endorse them, some people have found relief using alternative remedies such as the herb St. John's Wort or the dietary supplement SAM-e. 

Reach out. For the holistically inclined, mind-body techniques such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage or guided imagery may help. Also important is spending time with supportive people. Find a support group for people with depression. Or just call a friend or loved one, or reach out to someone you haven't talked to in awhile. And be supportive yourself. Volunteering is a great way to boost your spirits and remind yourself that you do make a difference in people's lives.

If you've tried several ways to help yourself and you continue feeling bad, don't suffer in silence. It's important to speak to a doctor or mental-health professional about other methods of treatment, such as psychological counseling or prescription medication.