14 ways to beat the blues
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We can all feel a little sad and depressed sometimes. Especially in winter, I know it is just part of life. When you feel sad, it might feel like there are no solutions and nothing can ever make you feel better. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to lift yourself up and feel better? Here are some tips to help you feel better instantly. You don’t have to do everything on this list, but chose what feels right to you. Some things may work better for you than others. The important part is that you consciously decide not to feel sad anymore and do something about it! I know that sometimes when I’m sad, I don’t want to feel better, I just want to lie somewhere in my dark misery. But it’s time to realize that we are in control of our own feelings, and if you want to be sad, you will stay sad. And if you want to do something about it, well, then try some of these tips:
- Get up. I know how comfortable and safe it is under that blanket, in that bed. But do yourself a favor and get out of bed. I know it’s hard. One foot first, then another. It’s impossible to begin to feel better if you’re still going to lie in bed or on your sofa.
- Straighten up. Lift your hands over your head and stretch. Try to be as tall as you can be! Then pull your back straight up and your shoulders back. Take a few steps imagining you have a bucket of water on your head. I know that when I’m sad, I want to make myself as tiny and invisible as possible, but now that we have decided to feel better, we need to get rid of that feeling. Take your space! It’s all about breaking the sad feeling and the sad habits.
- Change your clothes. It’s hard to feel better if you are still wearing your comfort clothes. Get out of your comfortable, but oh so boring, depressing clothes and change into something you feel nice in! Put on your favorite dress, a skirt or a pair of jeans you look good in. If you want to stay comfortable in what you are wearing now, at least put on some nice jewellery. It’s harder to stay sad when you are wearing pretty clothes, isn’t it?
- Erase the evidence of crying. Put some cold water on your face, reapply your make-up or wear sunglasses. You’ll feel so much better when you don’t have to be reminded of your sadness every time you look yourself in the mirror. After you have done this, smile at your reflection. Even though it’s a fake smile, it sends signals to your brain. Pretend to be happy, and you’ll be happy!
- Treat yourself. A cup of tea, cocoa, ice cream or chocolate. Or maybe you feel better by eating fresh fruit instead? Just don’t overdo the comfort food, or you’ll end up feeling worse. A small sensible portion should make you feel happier in an instant!
- Let it go for now. Tell yourself to take a little break from being sad. Make it just 15 minutes. There’s no point at thinking about what is making you sad right now, because you have scheduled time to do that later. For now, take a little break from it all. Take a few deep breaths. Really feel how your spirits rise and your sadness drifts away into the shadows. Isn’t it good? If you can’t seem to be able to let go for now, just pretend you are happy for a while. Use your best acting skills and fool yourself into thinking that you are happy today.
- Put on an upbeat, happy song. Oh, I know you want to put on heart-aching, sad music today. Sometimes when I’m sad, I am longing to hear those sad lyrics, because at least somebody must know how I feel. This may help you feel better, short term, but for long term, it is not helping at all. Put on the happiest and most up-beat music you know. Lisa Mitchell does it for me. And the Pointer Sisters’s Jump (for my love). Just dance!
- Do something silly. Do something silly, and you just have to smile at yourself! Dance and sing loudly, blow soap bubbles (use dishwashing detergent and something round), play dress up, take silly pictures of yourself, you name it. Gala Darling‘s Sad Trombone List may be useful here!
- Write a love list. Write a list of ten things you love right now. Or ten positive things in your life. Or 10 persons you are grateful to have in your life. Just force yourself to think about something else for a little while. Who knows, if you give it a chance, it might actually help!
- Call a friend. If you are feeling better by now, call a friend and talk about something that makes you happy. Plan something together like a picnic or a party. If you still feel sad, tell your friend about it. You’ll be surprised of how much a friendship can grow if you just open up and share everything.
- Start something new. Sign up for a new class or start a new hobby. Do something that you have always wanted to do, but not yet started. When you have something to look forward to, and your life is changing just a little, you’ll feel much better!
- De-clutter. What really helps me when I’m sad is to de-clutter and clean. It has a therapeutic effect for me, because as I clean my home, it also feels like I’m de-cluttering my mind. And it makes me feel good when I can relax in a tidy and nice apartment afterwards! Also, by sorting through things, you might get your anger out by throwing stuff you don’t really like away, and you might come by a treasured item you thought was lost. If your apartment is as messy as mine can be sometimes, cleaning up can be quite a treasure hunt!
- Take a walk. By doing something physical, you can get a different perspective on things. Personally, I like to take long walks around my city, just looking around a new neighborhood, discovering a new cafe or shop and just being outside breathing fresh air. When I walk, I find that my thoughts about the subject becomes more calm and rational. If you have a bad day, try to be outside as much as possible. Maybe there’s a forest or park close to you somewhere?
- Do some art. Play music, draw, paint, write, photograph. Just set yourself one goal when it comes to this. No misery, ok? Transforming your emotions to art is a good thing, but not today. Playing the saddest music or painting black canvases are only going to make you feel worse today. Make some cheerful art instead, and you’ll feel much better!