I have been having a hard time lately. Work, love, relationships in general, my health – all could do with a bit of improving and upgrading. This weekend, I will lay out a strategy for addressing each part of my life that needs some nourishment. There is, however, one thing that I am incredibly, overwhelmingly, superhumanly good at: cheering up myself.
I have innumerable resources for soothing my inner struggles, but here are a few of my favorite techniques that really do always have a positive impact on my day.
- Listen to music
- I’ve made yoga playlists before (both upbeat and slow), which have a few of my all-time favorite songs. There is no shame in blasting songs that are nostalgic, or are just happy and upbeat, to help you get over your funk. My go-to song? “Be Gentle With Me” by The Boy Least Likely To. Go give it a listen!
- Take a bath / get yourself clean
- I have never felt as pure as when I got to visit a hammam in Morocco a few years go. I was scrubbed down with oils and something resembling a loofah, and I emerged from this dark, humid, cave-like room feeling about twenty pounds lighter. The nearest hammam is in Houston, but going to a sauna, or just pouring yourself a hot bath with Epsom salts can do the trick. Allowing yourself to feel warm and clean will help more than just your body.
- Go for a walk. Get to yoga. Run along the boardwalk. Hike through the Greenbelt. Cycle around the lake. Rock climb. Whatever you do, get your adrenaline pumping, and your heart racing. And then take that bath!
- Solve a problem
- When I’m feeling particularly down about work, I like to try and solve a problem. Whether it’s finally finding a solution for my curtains, or working on some Sudoku puzzles, or cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom, having a simple task that can be completed within an hour or so gives your ego the old boost you need.
- Create something
- Whether it’s a painting, a song, a shelf, a poem, or a photograph, let your creativity flow! And it’s best if you try something you don’t know if you’re good at – if it turns out badly, that’s okay, and if it turns out well, then hey! You’ve found a new talent!
- Spill it all out
- Talk to your friends! Pick up the phone and call your mother. Let someone else share your emotions with you, and be your soundboard. Maybe they won’t have a solution for whatever issue you’re dealing with, but talking out loud might give you a new perspective on what’s happening.
- Find a quiet place and close your eyes for a few minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable with meditation yet, download one of those apps (or just put on a video from YouTube), and allow yourself to be guided through some breathing. Hitting pause on your day can really boost your energy and allow you to feel more recharged.
- Get some human contact
- If you’re one of the unlucky people that doesn’t have a cat or dog to cuddle with, go forth and hug your friend, your father, your boyfriend, your neighbor, whomever. Touch is a very primal thing, and feeling physically close to someone that makes you happy boosts endorphins and helps you feel more relaxed.
- Go to sleep
- If all else fails – go to bed. Fluff up your pillows, put on your pajamas, close your blinds, and get some shut eye. After all, tomorrow’s a new day.