Life, man. It can be rough around the edges. Even the strongest of us can get caught up in its crazy whirlwind and find ourselves left spinning on the floor sometimes. When I’m feeling off-kilter, I tend to focus on what is causing me to feel that way, rather than considering ways to cheer myself up. And that rarely fixes anything – it just means I’m spending all my time stewing rather than feeling better! I feel like I need to print myself a little list of pick-me-ups to stick on the fridge so that I’ve got a constant reminder to initiate them!
While I’m not suggesting that problems and issues should be avoided completely in favour of chasing a little buzz, taking a step away to get your head back in the game means you can go back and approach it with a clearer mind, a healthier perspective and a more positive outlook. It’s kind of a way to remind yourself that hey, outside of this issue, life is still okay. Things can still be good.
So what are some pick-me-ups that can get us out of our slump?
While I don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, I have found a few pick-me-ups that work for me (and that don’t involve binge-watching Gilmore Girls with a big block of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut). Maybe you’ll find some inspiration here too!
If the weather is awesome, open all the windows!
I can’t even tell you how good it feels to have the breeze blowing through the house on a sunny day. There’s something magical about standing by an open window and having your face touched by little licks of wind, smelling the grass from the comfort of your living room, and hearing the birds and other sounds of the neighbourhood coming in.
2. Burn a scented candle
And if it’s the evening, turn on the lamps around your house, not the full room lights. We’re going for cozy here! Cozy feelings = good feelings = easiest pick-me-up ever.
3. Drop $20 online
This feels like terrible advice. I explicitly recommended against chasing a regular retail buzz in this article I wrote on happiness. So I’m not saying you should be doing this every time you feel down in the dumps! But if it won’t stretch your budget too tightly, dropping $20 once or twice a month might not be that big of a deal in the scheme of things. I recommend doing it online simply because after the initial buzz of having made a fun, cheap purchase, there’s then the anticipation of it arriving, and finally the excitement of having the package delivered to your door. I adore this feeling. It’s so satisfying!
Just don’t fall into the trap of ‘accidentally’ adding 15 things to your cart! That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re making one fun little purchase. We’re not driving our credit card debt to new heights! Sister ain’t being held responsible for that!
4. Make your bed
What? I’m recommending a chore!? Yep, making my bed always cheers me up. It brings an instant sense of peace and order to the bedroom, it looks super inviting, and every time I duck into my room to grab lip balm, change a nappy (Jackson’s, not mine!) or charge my phone, I get this instant little lift in my heart. It’s even better when the blinds are open and the sunshine is filtering in. A lot can be said for filtered sunshine.
5. Look up cat videos on YouTube
Or pranks. Laughing babies. Funniest home videos. Blooper Reels. Whatever floats your boat! Something light, something fun, something that will remind you that even when your own world is a little dark, your face hasn’t actually forgotten how to crack a smile. If your day has been particularly rough, I even give you permission to sink into your (nicely made!) bed and dig yourself into one of those hour-long YouTube rabbit trails where you begin with a video of a baby laughing like an old man and finally end with a parade of elephants wandering through a high-profile tennis match. (I don’t actually know whether those videos exist, but I bet they do).
6. Do something ‘special’
Yonks ago I wrote this article on choosing special, and I stand by it. It’s still one of my insant-buzz-inducing tactics, the mother of pick-me-ups. The concept is simple; pull out those ‘special’ items that you adore, but hardly use because they’re set aside for special occasions. And then use them. For me, it’s my teacup collection. I’ve collected so many of them, and the act of picking one out and enjoying a well-brewed English breakfast really makes my heart flutter.
7. Complete a task you’ve been putting off
I know, another chore!? But have you consciously, intentionally done this before? Whether it’s something simple like sorting and filing away the stack of bank statements that has been amassing in the corner, or something massive like de-cluttering and re-arranging your whole kitchen, the result is the same – a flippin’ awesome feeling of deep accomplishment! Plus, I often find that when I do something productive, a snowball starts rolling, and before I know it I’m achieving something else, and then something else. Productivity breeds productivity. Pretty healthy if you ask me!
8. Go somewhere. Anywhere.
If the weather is on point, go for a walk around your neighbourhood or a nearby hiking spot. If it’s wet and cold, get in your car and go for a drive. Leaving your house when you’re stewing on something is almost like shedding a layer of burden the moment you walk out the door.
9. Talk to a fellow human
Go for coffee, or make a phone call. Avoid texting or emailing – make sure you get to listen to a real human voice. And as tempting as it might be in the moment, don’t use it as an opportunity to vent. Venting rarely makes us feel better about our situation. Instead, the intention here is simply connecting with someone and enjoying their company. It’s a precious feeling and a fundamental human need!
10. Immerse yourself in something you love to do
Scrapbooking, crochet, cooking, photography, make-up, yoga, writing – pick your poison, set aside some time to do it within the next 48 hours, let yourself look forward to it like crazy, and then get on and do it! Our hobbies are a key in helping us feel fulfilled because they are productive, and they are driven by passion and deep interest. As far as pick-me-ups go, they are golden!
So arm yourself, friend. Choose some pick-me-ups that you know will brighten any day, and remember to pull them out when you need them.
What are some of your favourite pick-me-ups? I’m always keen to find new ways to get a little lift – tell me your secrets!