Things to do to Cheer Yourself Up
Life, for the most part, is a series of events that can lift you up and/or (depending on your perspective) throw you to the ground in a type of slam dunk you won't remember - nor understand - what hit you. It has been like that for me during most of my adulthood (and I've been an adult for a good 10+ years now so I kind of do know what I'm writing about). Being down in the dumps, sad, discouraged, confused, bathing in a self-loathing pity pool party - sometimes all at once - can be overwhelming; no matter the life stage and circumstances you're living in and sometimes confiding in someone or seeking professional help isn't anything you can do. At this point: STOP and BREATHE. No issue, problem, ANYTHING lasts forever (I know this from experience - I once had a failing business, a sick parent, serious financial debt, all in my mid 20s) and there's nothing, I tell you, nothing that will stay the same.
I know many of us struggle with keeping positive and driven; many factors (family, job dissatisfaction or lack of work, sickness or disability, an overwhelming amount of comparisons to other people - in our field or close enough to us to make us feel insignificant) affect our mood enough to trigger a not so positive outlook on things. So, in light of that, I list my - most functional to me - favorite ways to cheer oneself up, even if for just a little while.
Rest is the secret for a working mind. It boosts mental clarity and problem solving, keeping your head - and mood - in optimal conditions to deal with anything that arises. I actually had insomnia for years - light sleeping with hours of staring at the ceiling after 3am - and found that certain herbal teas - nothing caffeinated like green or earl grey - were really helpful since I refuse to drink any sleeping pills. Also, nothing bothers you while you sleep; no worries, no issues - use that time to take a break from whatever is preoccupying you. Make it a habit - if your circumstances allow it - to take those 20 mins before bed to un-wind; some light reading or dimming your bedroom lights (leave a small light on if you don't have a dimmer) to start sending messages to your brain that it's time to go sleepy-bye-bye.
Take some Me time
I struggled with this so so so much when I was facing serious family illness and was a co-caregiver, and to be honest, I still do! Taking some time for yourself to do anything that brings you a little happiness and smiles - even if that is doing literally nothing and staring at a pond in the park - is so important to keep you grounded and calm. Find something that motivates you and take yourself out on a date - just you, with your own company. Allow yourself to be positive during this time, keep any negativity, any problems away for that time being and enjoy doing something fun. If you can - and again, if your circumstances permit - leave your phone on silent, not vibrate, and disconnect yourself so you can make the best use of your YOU time.
Fill up the tub or take a super long shower and take some time to pamper yourself - shampoo AND condition your hair, wear one of these Korean beauty masks, paint your nails, re-shape your eyebrows, give yourself some fringe (hair bangs, I've done this quite a lot) - and putting a little attention to our aching bodies; all these ideas are a great way of lifting your spirits and shifting your self confidence/esteem a little. Also, bathing with warm water and even adding certain essence oils and salts can help with your mood and increase circulation.
Write your feelings out
I'm the type with not many friends, so keeping a journal and letter writing have been a tool I've been employing since my teen years - didn't have a nice childhood so stress management was a thing for me - and it's been a technique that has helped me keep sane in many an occasion. I once had a notebook and wrote a "To whom may care" series; letters to no one really, they were just a non-judgemental space to scream (write in all caps) and express myself. So, pick up a notebook or a even a piece of paper and let yourself write whatever comes to mind - even if it's something trivial like "ugghh, the cat pooped outside of the litter box again" - and let some steam out.
This is my younger sister's expertise zone. She does breathing exercises for eeeeverything from lifting heavy items to controlling anxiety. There's plenty of apps out there for breathing; you can also check yoga books, and apps for exercises depending on your fitness needs, however, I've managed to survive with 2 breathing exercises I employ under different circumstances.
For anxiety control - Inhale for 4 seconds (preferably your nose, but if you have sinus issues, breathing through your mouth is just as fine), hold your breath for 2 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds through your mouth and repeat. You might feel a little too oxygenated a.k.a. lightheaded, stop if you need to.
For meditation purposes/keep calm - Inhale for 8 seconds, quite slowly (through your nose and again, mouth if necessary), hold your breath for 4 seconds and exhale for 12 seconds, very slowly through your mouth. Repeat as many times as you like during your meditation session.
(Again, me not a doctor, just sharing what works for me, breathe under your own risk)
Repeat and Affirm
Another thing I quite still struggle with is trying to see things in a positive way. With so many difficult situations happening, it was very hard to keep a straight mind and be positive. Having friends and outsiders tell you to "Keep positive!" was definitely not helping and only made me feel worse most of the time. But, in a strange way, their peppy perspective wasn't entirely bogus. A positive mind has a better chance at problem solving, increase stamina and your overall well being - your body even aches less.
I came up with a somewhat hopeful mantra that I kept repeating myself over and over and still do with things get tough: " I will be Ok". Nothing fancy, just four words to remind myself that I was working towards dealing with the issues and bettering the circumstances I was in. I know that being a cheerleader in hard times is something one might not have energy for, but reminding yourself that "things will be fine" and that you're "working towards making it better" and to "keep moving" work quite well.
Find a Hobby
I'd say it's difficult to find other hobbies, some of us work where OTHER people hobby, so it's hard to find something one might enjoy. Do some researching and try listening to yourself, you might have a hidden talent, a hidden interest you might like to explore, just for your own enjoyment.
Stay away from Social Media
A bit self explanatory but so hard to accomplish. Sometimes we quietly judge ourselves, often comparing ourselves to our peers on social media, forgetting that most of what's posted isn't the entirety of someone's life - and we believe they're better off and happier than we are. It happens to the best of us. A social media disconnect is always a positive way to re-encounter yourself and enjoy real life a bit, without the pressure of sharing and forcefully being happy.
This trick is more for type A personalities (like moi - we need lists to survive), though it can be equally beneficial for anyone. Think of logical alternatives to reach your goals, solve problems, etc. and write them down. At times being able to visually connect with a step by step guide relieves anxiety for the unknown and unexpected. Plan ahead as much as you can, it helps keep focus and regain some peace of mind.
Try to Exercise
Exercising does so much good to one's body. It helps release anxiety, improves your mood and mental health, plus it also helps with your self-esteem since all the activity will be working positively towards a healthier body. Just the release of endorphins will up your happy levels and alleviate stress. To be honest, I struggle so so much with working out, but even taking a long walk has proven to be beneficial in switching my mood, even if just temporarily.
Surround yourself with GOOD people
If you're just trying to fill the void with anyone and everyone, take a moment and stop. Only invite into your life people that truly are worthy of your time, energy and company. Toxic people - those that make you feel less and doubt yourself - shouldn't have a place, they will only keep you feeling negatively charged and with a grim perspective.
I know this was a fairly long post but, there's so much out there that takes inspiration away from us and the drive to move forward and I wanted to remind you all that life does get better with time and situations have solutions, even though yes, it all seems terribly grim at the time. So, what do your struggles look like, if you'd like to share? Do know I'm one of those people you can definitely talk to if you feel you have no one left - been there.
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