Some days, smiling seems as though it is simply not possible. No amount of cheer will “cheer” me up, no amount of laughter will make me laugh, and positive quotes about “choosing happiness” make me want to punch something sooner than suddenly be cured of the doldrums! And do you know what? That is OKAY! We all go through days like this, the ones where you just need to exist, take care of yourself, and be thankful when you reach the end.
But I wanted to share my “go to” list of things to do on the days when I don’t feel a sense of joy, these are the things that help me to find my smile when I lose it. Silly things, little things, free things, and things that do not cost much. These things give me something to focus on, other than the often irrational thoughts that can come visiting when depression or anxiety sets in, or when the pain is high.
The list (in no particular order):
Look up de-motivational quotes for a chuckle.
Motivational quotes make me want to commit homicide on the bad days, do people seriously think we “choose” depression over happiness? There is something about black humor or sarcasm that truly appeals on the dark days, de-motivational quotes are awesome!
Curl up with a cup of tea, a soft blanket, and a good book (or movie).
A soft mink blanket, or something you can stroke your fingers or rub your feet on can be really soothing, and getting lost in the pages of your favorite book (or movie) is a great way to practice some healthy escapism. And tea, well, tea fixes everything doesn’t it?
Make a list of at least 3 things you can look forward to in the future.
Stick it on your fridge door so you can see it. We all need things to look forward too, but I know on the bad days it can be really hard for me to think of anything. Helpful tip… it is perfectly okay if you write down “lunch”, “chocolate”, or “ice cream”! No judgement here.
Watch YouTube movies of “Fainting Goats”, and “Goats in Pajamas”.
Oh please, if you have not seen fainting goats (promise, they aren’t hurt), or goats in pajamas, then you have not seen cuteness. I laugh at them because they remind me of myself, something scares me? FREEZE!
Go on Pinterest and look at baby animal pictures.
While you are online, Pinterest is fantastic for finding the cutest of cute images of baby animals doing sweet things. Nawwww. Incidentally, since you are already on Pinterest – dog shaming can be really amusing too!
Have a long bath or shower with your favorite body wash.
Soak away the worries. Peppermint helps me clear my head, and the warmth usually helps my sore muscles and joints. If I’m in the shower, I imagine myself washing away the day, starting fresh.
Hug your dog, cat, cow, or any other type of furkid you may have in your life.
Hugging your pet not only makes them feel loved, but that gratefulness and affection they show can not help but rub off a little on us too, giving us something to live for, something to smile about. Oh and yep, I have cows as pets! They amuse me!
Put on some music and silly dance.
The sillier, the better. Kids love this, if you are feeling like a bad parent, put on some music and silly dance for a few minutes with your little ones. Or just do it alone if you don’t have miniature humans in the house.
Take a nap, or do some gentle stretching, put on a meditation tape, or do some deep breathing.
Granted, you might not feel like doing any of these things, but taking 5 minutes to do something for your soul is normally well worth it in the end.
Draw, take photos, paint, journal, do craft, anything that inspires you. For me, it is drawing, journalling, and getting creative with my camera, but lots of people find coloring, craft, and painting to be very soothing. Whatever works for you.
Do something unexpected for someone else.
Write an old fashioned letter to a friend or make a care package for a friend and post it, or do some simple random acts of kindness for strangers. Smiles are infectious and doing something kind for others can help us put our own feelings aside or into perspective, which also helps you feel better!
Look through old photo albums.
I’ve spent years of my life behind a camera, but shamefully admit that I don’t spend nearly enough time going back and reflecting on the images that have been captured. It can be so cheering to look through photos and remember the fun times you have had, holidays you have been on, pets you have owned. Sure it can be bitter sweet, but the nostalgia has its place.
Go somewhere that makes your soul feel peaceful.
Maybe it is the beach, laying on the warm sand, smelling the salty breeze. Or the forest? The rustling of the leaves in the trees, the sound of birds, the smell of earth? If you can’t get up and go out, maybe do some mindfulness and imagine yourself there.
Look at your favorite comics.
My absolute favorites are The Awkward Yeti, Beth Draws Things, and Gemma Correll. They really know how to find the humor in everyday situations faced by those who battle mental health issues, be it depression, social anxiety, general anxiety, and a range of other foibles. The feeling of being “understood” always helps me when I’m feeling blue!
So that is a few of the things on my list, what would you add? Feel free to comment and tell me, I really would love to know what others find effective mood boosters for the “doldrum days”.