"What's something you've been wanting to do that will bring you happiness?" Mike asked me recently. I'd been feeling a little down that day - for a little while now, actually - & I told him I had been meaning to order Seattle entrepreneur Moorea Seal's 52 Lists for Happiness journal. I loved her first journal, The 52 Lists Project, & have been working through it all year, so the new one sounded pretty appealing. "Go order it now," Mike told me. So I did.
By the time it arrived, I'd already started working on a list to get me started. Earlier, I'd posted to Facebook: "Hit me with your best tips for combating the seasonal blues. Please." The result was 50 comments worth of ideas - everything from exercising to Michel Bublé songs to antidepressants to Melt Bar & Grilled's turkey sandwich. Reading through the list of suggestions inspired me to create my own list of go-to pick-me-ups.
I plan to revisit this list on days when I've got the blues - & truth be told, there are more of them during cold weather seasons than there are during the spring & summer months, & perhaps even more of them post-election. Without further ado...
- Write it down. I've started keeping a journal again, a place to vomit out the thoughts I can't seem to sort out in my head. This is, hands down, the best way for me to start feeling better.
- Listen to '90s radio on Spotify. It's full of some of my favorite long-forgotten hits from bands like Vertical Horizon, Destiny's Child, & Matchbox Twenty
- Pet my cat. He's the softest little dude in the world & doesn't usually mind when I try to use him as a pillow, especially if I seem down
- Read a book, especially fiction. Losing myself in someone else's world is the perfect way to get out of my own head.
- Take a nap. I have to be careful not to overdo it on this one, though, especially if I'm feeling too sad, because although sleep can sometimes be the perfect pick-me-up, sometimes it makes everything worse.
- Hang out with friends. Sometimes the best way to snap out of it is to force myself out of it. I can't be a mopey bummer while I'm out with friends, so sometimes, even when I'm down, I'll accept an invitation to hang out - & it almost always helps me even out.
- Switch up my routine. Whether it's eating a cuisine I don't usually have or switching up the coffee shop I work from during the day, doing something slightly out of my ordinary always shakes me up in a positive way.
- Do yoga. I haven't done this for awhile, & there's really no excuse for it, but I do still love Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley, a series of videos I can do from my living room when I need to stretch my mind and my body.
- Go for a walk, especially when the weather is nice. Even when it's not, getting out of my apartment & into some fresh air does wonders for my mood.
- Make plans to look forward to, even if they're not big ones. If I'm feeling down, I plan my next trip or set up a dinner date with a friend so I have a calendar I can be excited about.
- Call my mom. Unless my funk is induced by an argument with my mom, a quick chat with her can almost always raise my spirits.
- Have a dance party. I can only do this when I'm home alone, but when I do, my favorites are anything by Taylor Swift or on the aforementioned '90s radio station. Dance it outtt.
- Clean my apartment. I don't particularly enjoy cleaning, but I do love the feeling of a clean, put-together apartment, & the I dig the sense of accomplishment that goes along with it.
- Give myself a facial. This is a new-to-me way to relax, but I've started to love face masks & my charcoal mud mask from Perfectly Posh. So refreshing!
- Write snail mail. This is a great way to touch base with my friends without having to actually be too social - & getting snail mail always brightens people's days!
- Light candles. I have a living room full of delightfully scented candles that I've been lighting after the sun goes down. They make everything feel cozy.
- Get dressed up. The better I look, the better I feel - & so sometimes, even when nothing sounds worse than changing out of sweatpants, that's exactly what I need.
- Take a hot shower. Along the same lines of the above, wallowing in sadness & dirt never brought anyone out of a funk. I don't do baths, but long showers are lovely.
- Turn on some comedy. This could be my favorite funny movie, Bridesmaids, or my favorite funny podcast, The Shepod - anything, really. Laughter is the best medicine, right?
- Take my antidepressants. Speaking of medicine, I make sure to take mine, especially during times when I know I might be moire prone to bouts of sadness. No shame, folks.