Many things can cause us to feel out of sorts and in need of a pick-me-up. This post isn’t meant to replace professional medical help for severe depression or anxiety.
If a dark cloud hangs over your head for a long time, a visit to your doctor may be in order. If you’re just trying to get out of short-term funk, these 10 tips are for you.
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Make a List
When work has you down, try making a list of your accomplishments over the past year. This is a great thing to keep track of anyway, to present during your yearly performance review. It’s also highly useful in making you feel better when coworkers and/or bosses are driving you up a tree.
If you’ve just suffered a major disappointment (or several biggies), try making a gratitude list. In my case, I’m grateful for my loving husband and our two smart, healthy daughters. My family includes two sweet, playful kitties as well.
I appreciate my wonderful parents who are in good health. I’m close to my younger sister who lives nearby with her family. My girls are close to her girls, and they enjoy spending time together.
Pet the Cat (or Dog)
If you have a cat or dog, you’ve got a live-in stress reliever. Stroking your furry family member is good for your mental health, and makes you feel better.
My cats are more than up to the job of exchanging petting for stress relief. I only need to sit down somewhere and say, “Does any kitty want some petting?” a few times. Usually, one or both cats will appear within seconds.
Go For a Walk
Studies have consistently shown that exercise is good for your mental health. Going for a walk combines exercise with fresh air, something that we often get too little of.
Many of us spend a huge amount of our time indoors. Just getting outside and taking a few deep breaths can work wonders.
Take a Break From Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are not only time suckers. They can also drain the life right out of you. They’re bad for your mental health. They can make you feel downright crummy in no time flat.
You can feel better right away by staying away from your social media accounts for a few days. You might not want to go back.
Maybe you’ll decide that you like not seeing political rants, too much information about people’s personal lives, gushing compliments about spouses/partners, horror stories about health afflictions, and narratives of mundane daily activities like making dinner.
Go Shopping (for a Good Cause)
Traditional “retail therapy” isn’t usually a good idea unless you have enough money to cover your spending. Instead, locate charitable thrift stores in your area. If possible, focus on those with causes that are meaningful to you.
If you’re an animal lover, you could find a store where purchases benefit spay/neuter programs. Some thrift stores benefit homeless programs, religious missions and a host of other possibilities.
If you go clothes shopping at a nice charitable thrift store, you might spend $20 and come out with a huge bag of stuff. It’ll feel like Christmas.
Speaking of worthy causes, if you have a bit of free time, consider volunteering with a charity. Studies show that volunteering is good for your mental health, and it sure makes you feel better when you do things for others.
If you’re not in a position to volunteer on a regular basis, organize a group of friends or coworkers to help one day a month at the local food bank or another place where they have tasks that groups can accomplish without making a huge time commitment.
Even random acts of kindness can give your mood a boost. Let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store. Hold the door open for someone who is carrying a bunch of stuff, and offer to help, even if you don’t know that person. Brighten someone else’s day.
Put On a Happy Song
Have you noticed that music affects your mood? Check out my YouTube playlist of happy songs. What songs would you add to the list?
In addition, watch my Weird Al playlist. You can’t possibly watch Weird Al’s videos and listen to his music without laughing.
Spend some time interacting with nature – it’s good for your mental health. Plant some flowers, gather interesting rocks with your kids, feed the geese or hike through the woods.
Clean and Purge
Clearing out a bunch of unwanted stuff feels fantastic. I can’t even describe the joy I’ve felt over the past few weeks as I’ve gotten rid of excess stuff that I’ve had for, in some cases, a decade or more.
I’ve often heard the old cliche that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. There seems to be more than a bit of truth that oft-repeated saying.
Keeping ourselves well occupied is one of the best ways to stay out of trouble and leave little time for misery. If your life isn’t busy enough, take up an easy-to-start hobby such as genealogy. You could also spend more time in activities mentioned above such as volunteering, exercising and getting rid of your excess stuff.
How About You?
How do you make yourself feel better when things are rough? Did anything in this post help you feel better?
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