Don’t listen to sad music. Even though you may be tempted to turn on something that mirrors the way you’re feeling (“Fix You” by Cold Play, or some Adele or Demi Lovato songs anyone?…), try to force yourself to listen to something more inspiring and upbeat even if it’s not your first instinct. You’ll be surprised how much lighter, more energetic background music can affect your mood.
Wear a big sweatshirt or your comfiest sweatpants. Life is just better when you’re lounging in your coziest and ‘baggiest’ of clothing. It just is.
Express your problems creatively. Draw your sadness. Write in your journal. Paint your anger. Express your feelings with some ink and paper. It helps to get it all out in a healthy way. Use it to help you relax and process.
Cry. It’s better to let it out than to keep it in. Most of the time, it’s best not to cry in public places or around other people…so find a place to be alone and let the tears flow. If anyone asks why your eyes are red and puffy, you can always claim allergies.
Sit with someone. Whether it’s your parents or your best friend, call the person who can be there for you to listen, talk, or just sit in silence (whatever you prefer) and let them know that you’re just struggling.
Give yourself a makeover. Change your hair. Get your nails done. Sometimes you just need a change and a new look can be a good way of doing that. I made a little change by recently dyeing my hair a medium-dark brown. 🙂
Netflix. Start a new show on Netflix. My roomies and I decided to start watching the relatively new show Orange is the New Black on Netflix. It keeps us laughing and looking forward to the next episode. And it’s our time to sit together and get our mind off of other things.
Avoid social media. Social media can be best at kicking us while we are already down. Most of us purposely depict the greatest version of our lives on our social media platforms…Engagement snapshots, baby photos, fitness progression pictures, etc. Sometimes, we need to just stay off social media for a while (at least until you’re feeling better) to avoid feeling even worse about ourselves by focusing on our shortcomings due to comparing our lowlights to other people’s highlights.
Volunteer. Volunteer at an animal shelter or a hospital, or babysit! Hang out with children. You can’t be down when little ones are crawling all over you, hugging you, and trying to love on you. Regardless of your faults and mistakes you have made, they see you just as you are – a human being just like them.
Cuddle with your pets. I’m a hugger. There’s no better way to take it easy and ride out a bad day than a good cuddle — so grab your cat or dog (or borrow a friend’s) and let your stress fade away.
Dance it out. Exercise. Clean and organize your room. Whatever it is, get moving. Sometimes, getting a bit of fresh air can be the best thing to clear your mind, so head to a local park and get on those swings or slide down the slide (let your inner kid come out!) or go for a long solo walk.
Try smiling or laughing. Browse the “positivity” page on Pinterest or something. It can be a wonderful source of positive inspiration — search tags like “happiness” and “positivity”, and save your favorite images and words of wisdom to your camera roll.
Take a nap. Sometimes you just need a good power nap to recharge. Build a fort like when you were a kid and sleep on a pile of blankets. However, if you’re like me – sometimes you just want to stay there, SO…
Get out of bed. Write a list of 10 reasons why it’s worth getting out of bed today and then reread it. Find a quote that inspires you to stay strong and hang it in your room as a daily reminder.
Most importantly, don’t listen to your thoughts late at night. Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not psychic. Keep repeating that. “I’m not psychic. It’s all in my head.” Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
Forgive yourself. I’m writing all these tips, but there are days when I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got up and faced my struggles. I will do it again tomorrow. And I will do it again the day after that.
This list will not cure you. This list will not flip on the happy switch. God, I wish it were that easy. The theme here is to not unknowingly sabotage yourself. All these little things? Like watching nonstop episodes of Law & Order: SVU, or endless “Try Harder” lectures form your “perpetually perky” friend? These are just little things to help you get back on your feet, push forward, and strive like you know you can. These are to help you see the side of hope, to help you reflect and change perspectives, to help you keep moving. You can do it.