I think it would be fair to say that the past couple of years have not been easy ones. Separating from my husband, adjusting to being a single mum, starting a new job – not to mention all of the other minor, petty problems that pop up during the day have taken their toll. There have been more than a few occasions where I have felt just a little down in the dumps. I’ve lost track of the number of evenings I have moped on the sofa, bemoaning the current state of my life.
In the beginning, I really did struggle to drag myself out of these slumps. I had no willpower, no motivation and no desire to do anything. Even eating would seem like a ridiculous waste of effort.
Thankfully, over time I started to find out little ways that I could gradually make myself feel better. I accumulated a little arsenal of tricks that I could pull out when I started to feel low, that I knew would help to pick me back up again. Now, everyone is different, so what works for me might not work for you, but on the premise that maybe I can help one person feel better today – here are my top tips for cheering yourself up when you’re having a rough day.
1 – Listen to your favourite tunes: Make a playlist to suit your mood. Either find your favourite mopey music and wallow, or pick some of the best uplifting tunes to dance off your sorrows. Taylor Swift can usually be recommended for excellent post-breakup songs – come on now, Shake it Off.
2 – Find a feel good movie: We all have one – that particular film that is guaranteed to cheer us up. It might be a hilarious rom-com, or a cutesy Disney classic but find what you love and stick with it.
3 – Treat yourself: Everyone deserves a little “me time”. Throw away the to-do list and give yourself some much needed TLC. This could be absolutely anything you like. Read a book, go for a walk, play computer games, have a bath. After days of putting everyone else’s needs first, I personally always feel better after a bit of pampering. There’s just something about freshly washed hair and painted nails that makes me feel so much more…well…me!
4 – Be productive: I know this may be counter-intuitive, not to mention a complete contradiction of the point above, but I really do find that I feel better if I achieve something. Is the sink full of pots? Go wash them. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much clutter you can put away before the buzzer goes off. Write a to-do list of the jobs that are most nagging at you – just the quick and easy things – and get stuck in. Then stop and bask in the glow of your own success. And return to your position of the sofa giving yourself a good ole’ pat on the back.
5 – Go shopping: DISCLAIMER: This piece of advice should be approached with EXTREME caution!! I am a self-confessed shopaholic. Nothing calms me down quite like the thrill of handing pennies over a counter so I can take something pretty home… Having said that – do not go out and blow your entire overdraft on shoes. Or run up a huge credit card bill on expensive handbags. The idea is to buy a little pick-me- up to make yourself feel better. Waking up to a stack of unpaid bills and outstanding debt is going to do nothing for your long-term happiness.
6 – Rant: Grab a coffee with a friend or family member and let off some steam. Write a journal of your inner most thoughts. Call your therapist (if you have one, you lucky devil) Or, like me, start a blog where you can bombard complete strangers with the crazed inner workings of your disturbed mind. However you choose to do it, get all of the crazy off of your chest. A problem shared is a problem halved…or at the very least, a problem put into perspective.
7 – Cancel your plans: There comes a point where you just have to stop and catch your breath. Now, I’m not suggesting you throw a sicky from work (that’s a slippery slope in my opinion), but if you have something in you diary that is non-essential – cancel it. Why stress about what you’re going to wear, travel arrangements, babysitters and all of the rest of it, when what you really need to do is regroup and refresh. Forget the coffee mornings, cancel the committee meetings and just relax for a while. You come first. The rest can wait.
8 – Let it Go: No, not the song from Frozen, although if it makes you feel better then by all means – sing your socks off. What I actually mean is that sometimes, as much as you try, you just can’t hold it in anymore. So just let go. Have a good cry. Why pretend you feel better than you do? Embrace the emotion and roll with it. At the same time, try and think of a time when you felt utterly, completely miserable and then later, you were fine again. Remind yourself that this feeling won’t last forever. It’s ok to be down sometimes but don’t let it consume you.
If after all that, you’re still unhappy then please – seek help. Sometimes you just can’t get through things on your own and that is why there are so many wonderful support networks out there for you to choose from. Search the internet, ask a friend or call a doctor but don’t suffer in silence. And believe me; you will be ok again soon.
Everybody needs a little cheering up now and again – share your tips in the comments below. Or tweet @awholenewme2014.