From time to time, I think we all feel a little down in the dumps. It’s a difficult thing, as you don’t really have much to complain about in particular, but simply aren’t feeling overly thrilled about the day. I certainly have these moments every so often, particularly when I am not with my friends or family. Whether Adam’s away on business trips, I’ve not had much sleep due to Bubs’ teething or growth spurts, the letdown after a much anticipated event, or even having a bit of homesickness, I think that feeling a touch of the blues is probably a normal thing in most of our lives. (Just a side note: depression is a whole other matter, in which professional help is very much advised).
Whenever I’m feeling this way, like a few times last week when I was going on day 10 and 11 of Adam being away from home, the easiest thing for me to do is mope around and feel sorry for myself. However, there are many little things that take minimal effort and can help to alleviate a bad mood. Everyone has their own strategies, but here are nine simple things that tend to help lift my spirits, particularly when I’ve been house bound with an infant for far too long.
1. Get Moving
This one probably takes the most energy and self-talk, especially when motivation is at an all time low. Sometimes all I need is a quick, 20 minute jaunt around the neighbourhood with Thomas in his stroller to make things seem a whole lot brighter. Remember, exercise (even at a leisurely pace) equates to positive endorphins.
2. Buy Yourself Some Flowers
They don’t need to be expensive, either! I certainly wouldn’t go out and buy myself a dozen roses. Although I appreciate beautiful flower shop bouquets, there is nothing wrong with picking up a colourful number from the supermarket to put on your dining room table. It’s a quick way to brighten the room, and your mood, in seconds!
3. Get Your Nails Done
There is something about a fresh manicure and pedicure that make me feel much better about myself. Depending on your budget and time, it’s not always feasible to get them professionally done. Even taking a few moments to freshen up your polish at home makes a big difference, though. I’ll never forget the first time I met my friend Arinn. It was move-in day in our university dorm, and a few of us were in her room getting to know each other. She hauled out this massive bag of about 100 different OPI nail polishes, flashed a big smile, and said, “Now none of us will have an excuse to go around bare-nailed this year!!!” I don’t think I’ve gone without polish on my toes since.
4. Take A Nap
For me, this one is easier said than done. When Thomas was born, everyone just kept telling me, “Sleep when the baby is sleeping!” Hah! All I did was lay there and think of the million things I needed to do. Or I’d pass out unconscious for 2 hours and wake up a groggy mess. However, I must admit that when I just try to relax and let the thoughts kind of flow in and out (yeeeaaah, yoga meditation!) for about 30 minutes, I always feel better. Oh, and an added bonus is a nicely made bed afterwards! It’s so much more visually pleasing than a mangled mess of blankets and pillows.
5. Eat Your Favourite Treat
I’m sorry to all the health nuts out there, but there are very few bad moods that can’t be eased by chocolate. Right?!! I mean, we don’t need to go all crazy and eat our daily caloric intake in sweet stuff, but whoever said that food does not make you feel better was a liar.
6. Bake Something
Not cook. Bake. There really is something therapeutic about the whole process. It’s always nice having something homemade on the counter, plus it makes your house smell fabulous!
7. Burn A Candle
Speaking of your house smelling good! I used to love the 3-wick Bath & Body Works variety, but since we don’t have BBW in Australia, I decided to just splurge on an Ecoya candle. The Coconut & Elderflower scent is amazing and and makes our house smell like a Caribbean spa. It’s totally worth it to buy a better quality candle, as it’s more efficient and effective. A lovely smelling home always puts me in a good mood.
8. Easy Reading– but not just any reading.
Read something uplifting. Something that makes you think positively. For example, Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project is a fun, lighthearted book about her 1-year journey to finding and creating more happiness in her life. I like to pick it up from time to time, just to re-read a chapter, and always put it down with a fresh perspective on my own life.
9. Plan Your Next Adventure
You know that feeling you get after a long-awaited event is over? You wait and wait with excitement for days/weeks/months, and then it’s over in the blink of an eye. The worst! My friends and I like to call this “Post Party Depression”. I love having things to look forward to, specifically travel plans. Whether it is a day trip, a weekend getaway, or a longer vacation, it’s so nice to have solidified plans to look forward to.
Now tell me…
What do YOU do to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down and out?