I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog and books and listening to her podcast for a while now, and one thing I really enjoy about her approach is the idea that you can take control of certain aspects of your life to make yourself feel better. Obviously there are things you can't change, but there are some you can.
Recently, Gretchen posted a list of quick, easy things she can do to cheer herself up when she's down. I decided to do the same.
I'll skip the part where I go on and on about how I know I have no reason to be down, with all the blessings in my life. I know that, but sometimes, I get in a slump, whether because of life circumstances, brain chemistry, or maybe hormones. Who knows? I do know that it isn't helpful to chastise myself about it, even though that is often my go-to response.
So here's my list. Add yours in the comments, or link me to your own post.
1. Go outside and take a picture of something beautiful, especially flowers. This almost always makes me feel better. Even if I can't go outside at that moment, taking a picture is a mood-booster. Sometimes I grab my camera in class when my students are doing some kind of group work or independent work, and snap a picture of them.
2. Write a poem. Or write anything at all. This, too, is almost always effective, but it takes time and energy.
3. Check out a library book and download it on my Kindle.
4. Send a friendly text to someone.
5. Read poetry or a favorite children’s book.
6. Read a novel.
7. Listen to music, especially particular playlists.
8. Clear some very small area of clutter. The key here is that it has to be small. If I give myself too large an assignment, I'll just get overwhelmed and feel worse.
9. Put on some music and put away all the books in my classroom library. This is a combination of 7 and 8!
10. Make and drink a cup of tea, preferably with a friend.
11. Sing worship songs.
12. Pray, either extemporaneously or a memorized prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, like “Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee…”
13. Watch or listen to something funny, or laugh with a friend.
14. Listen to a podcast.
15. Exercise. This always helps, and I'm never sorry I did it, but I often have difficulty making myself do it if I'm feeling really down.
16. Go for a walk, alone or with a friend, preferably with my camera.
17. Look through photos I’ve taken in the past.
18. Hold a baby. I don't always have one handy, but when I do, this is a foolproof approach to cheering up.
19. Look at fresh flowers or at photos I’ve taken in the past of flowers.
20. Hug my husband or one of my children.
21. Talk to someone.
22. Think of something I’m thankful for.
Here's another good resource, "Everything is Awful and I'm Not OK."
3 hours ago