Hello dear reader,
It is 2:53 on a Friday morning and I am taking a short study break while waiting for my laundry. The last entry I posted a few days ago was about how these next few posts are going to be happy. So, continuing with the theme, I have decided to make a list of what to do if you’re sad. (Also, side note: I just put it under the category of “Top 10” because I love lists. So I might start making posts like top 10 songs, top 10 awesome moments that happened this month, top 10 best pickup lines I wish someone used on me. We’ll see how it goes.)
Now, when I think of the feeling “sad,” I divide it into two subcategories. There’s the feeling of sadness where you just want to watch films that end happily, but are so gut-wrenching in the middle that you bawl your eyes out into your carton of cookies and cream ice cream. When you want to listen to playlist after playlist of sad songs that tug at your heart strings and pull the tears from your eyes. When you want to analyze every sense of the feeling and embrace it all.
Then there’s when you feel sad but you want to get better. You’re far from the self-pitying mood and just want to be happy again.
Here’s me top 10 favorite things to do when I’m in that mood:
1. Listen to happy songs. Inspiring songs. Optimistic songs. Stupid pop songs that are just enough in your range that you sound fabulous singing along. Songs that remind you of fond memories and happy days. I recommend songs that remind you of summer (One Republic always does it for me) or your childhood (the Barenaked Ladies bring me back. Cheetah Girls too.) OOH and never underestimate a good Disney song. Phil Collins, man. Enough said.
2. Workout. Sure, you might feel like death during it, and you might look like death afterwards, but you’ll feel great when it’s over. I actually haven’t found many feelings better than that of pride when you’ve accomplished a hard workout. And, sure, the next day you may hate every staircase you encounter, but there’s something so gratifying about feeling sore.
3. Go out into the world. There is so much to see. So much right outside your window. Find some woods, or a path that’s hidden away somewhere. Admire the architecture of the buildings you pass on a daily basis. Watch a sunrise or sunset–two of the most breathtaking events that we get to witness on this Earth and they happen every day. Search for the beauty and you should be able to find it without much effort.
Helpful hint: dress appropriately. Winter is stunning. Everything is coated in a layer of pure white, and if you’re up early enough and are lucky enough to catch the world when it’s pristine, you’re golden. That being said, it’s not going to be much fun to stare at the snow if all you can think about is your purple fingers and the lasting effects of frostbite. So just be smart. Wear tons of layers when it’s freezing, opt for a sundress or not shirt (if you’re a dude) when it’s hot and humid. The world and it’s natural elements are beautiful, sometimes you’ve just got to prepare accordingly and endure it to witness it.
4. Puppies. If you have one at your disposal–perfect! And actually, all animals can work for this one. Just snuggle up to your choice of cuddly companion and channel all your love into them. I choose dogs and puppies because I feel their love to be best reciprocated, but if you have a friendly cat or ferret or cow or what have you, by all means go for it.
If you’re like me and you don’t have your best animal friend with you at the moment, I present to you the next best thing: Cheri’s Preferred Puppies 24 Hour Puppy Webcam.
I am currently near a town by the name of Hamilton. In said town there is a pet shop that literally displays their puppies in the window. As if driving past that wasn’t the highlight of my day, I came home to discover that these puppies’ lives are broadcast at every hour of every day. I’m happy to report that they are currently awake and playful as ever.
Disclaimer: this may make you feel more sad–especially if you don’t have a dog. It might make you wish you want one and you might end up feeling lonelier than ever. Just be careful.
5. Read. Sometimes I use this as a last resort. If you can’t find anything to make your own world joyful, why not enter a fictional one? Now, I wouldn’t exactly opt for 1984 or The Hunger Games. Some nostalgic books from my past are always good, though. They’re like old friends that you’ve shared all these memories with and when you go to revisit them, you find they haven’t changed. It’s refreshing. So, I’d choose maybe a book from the Magic in Manhattan or The Wedding Planner’s Daughter series, or possible a comic book like Calvin and Hobbes or Garfield. Oooh or Not Quite a Bride! I LOVED that book!
6. Write. Sometimes I’ll turn to my journal or blog (as you guys knows) and just rant. Sometimes this helps, sometimes I still feel sad. In that case, I often turn to my novel. Something that inspires me. Just another effective method I use to escape reality.
7. Be productive. Clean you room. Do your homework. Organize your closet. Make a list and check it off. Then you can just sit there, content and accomplished.
8. Play music. I am forever thankful that I know how to play instruments. Sometimes all I need is just a quick jam sesh–singing at the top of my lungs and banging along on the piano. I just have to remember to check and be sure that I’m home alone.
Disclaimer: Similar to #1, this is all about the music. I enjoy playing and singing along to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and “First Day of my Life.” One time my sister was in the hospital and I was terrified, so I sat at the piano and went through all of the songs in my repertoire. As soon as I got into the chorus of “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, though, I had to stop. I was sobbing. Seriously–ugly crying. Music is powerful. Proceed with caution.
9. Volunteer. Okay, volunteering is wonderful and helpful and very much appreciated, but I’m about to be selfish here. Volunteering feels so good. How I felt after working a soup kitchen is one of the single best feelings I’ve had in my entire life. I can’t perfectly explain it, and you might not understand until you do it, but there’s something about giving back that feels amazing. It’s like how on Christmas, you’re sometimes happier watching a loved one open their gift from you than you are when you open your gift from them.
So it sounds selfish for me to say that I love volunteering because it helps me feel good, but it does! Of course, there are other major perks, but the feeling I get after giving back is almost indescribable. So if you’ve been sad for a while now, sign up to volunteer at a soup kitchen or help abandoned or abused dogs find a home. Just help out in the community, even if the sole purpose is to make yourself feel better. Whatever gets volunteers on board works for most organizations.
10. Something to make you smile. This might be too broad to end on, but here’s what I mean: when I’m sad and don’t want to be anymore, sometimes feeling better is as simple as looking around. I keep a list of my favorite things on my desktop. I have lists of funny memories and inside jokes I share with my friends on my phone. I have saved messages and snaps that have been screenshot that are pure gold. Sometimes it’s as simple as creeping on yourself. Go back in time on your twitter or Facebook or tumblr and find old updates and things that once made you laugh. Just taking a trip down memory lane can sometimes remind you that there was once so much light in your life. It’s bound to return sometime.
Disclaimer: The past sometimes hurts as much as it helps. Reading old messages with people who’ve changed or people who’ve lost contact with you has never proven to me to be a good idea. Again, proceed with caution.
The most important thing, I find, is know yourself. Know how you’re feeling and know how to change your own mood. These are tried and true methods that work for me, but if you hate writing or can’t play music, find something else! If you don’t have a hobby, start now! I learned how to knit last week and it would probably be #11 on this list if I had made it any longer.
If I had to give myself advice, I’d say this is the perfect 10 things to do to feel happy again. But, if you’re reading this, there’s probably about a 50% chance you’re not me. So just try a few out, or find other quick sources of happiness in your life.
Just remember: no matter how bleak things may seem, they can always turn around. And they will if you want them to. That may not be any consolation, but if you’ve stuck with me this far, I’m sure you do want them to. Just have faith and reassurance that tomorrow you can start anew. You can control your own happiness.
PS: This is one of my current favorite songs to sing: Text Me In The Morning – Neon Trees