Cook a good meal, go for a walk, these are some familiar tips to improve one’s mood instantly. It’s been a challenging 2020 for me, the upside of this is that I have some nice tips to share with you, being forced to be creative in keeping afloat mentally. Everyone should feel okay to admit that, there’s no need to pretend everything is wonderful when it’s not. The bar for feeling a little better can be set as low as is manageable. With Covid-19 and its consequences still governing a lot of our lives, what can be done to lift the spirits?
Close Some Darn Browser Tabs on Your Computer
This is really me talking to myself here. I will have 5 internet browser windows open at any given time, with a million tabs. Is it a typical thing to do for a Gemini? I would say yes, just from my own experience. Going through my tabs to close or bookmark them (in now organized bookmark folders) only takes a moment but yields a high reward. Some days are really just not that great and will not go down in history, but having a bad day turn into simply an unremarkable, boring average day should be seen as the accomplishment it is. I also have the bad habit of never shutting down my computer, with applications running slow, so that will be my future task to do more often.
Hit Unsubscribe on That Email Inbox
The satisfaction is instant. Anytime I went to unsubscribe from shop spam and newsletters I don’t read, I felt instantly refreshed. Of course, keep whatever you want to keep receiving. It’s great because now I can notice the interesting newsletters and actually read them because the clutter of the other emails is gone. This is not a one-time action, but nice to do everyone once in a while.
Also, consider unfollowing people on social media who make you anxious or who don’t add value to your browsing. If the newsfeed on Facebook is overwhelming, why not install the internet browser extension ‘newsfeed eradicator’, also available for phones. In the past I’ve deleted Instagram for a while because I found it hard to manage, it’s designed to make you spend an endless amount of time on it, not even remembering what I was doing on it.
Change Bed Sheets
Life can get complicated, but something as simple as changing your bed sheets can leave you feeling refreshed. Some people do this all the time already, to which I say, well done, as well as each morning tidying up their bed and opening up the curtains. Taking a shower, going for a little walk, putting on an outfit that aren’t pajamas, getting a little plant to nurture, these little things can have a positive impact. Cooking a decent meal, bringing away the recycled goods, calling a friend.. try to think about what small action could lift you up.
Start a Good Things Jar
Practicing gratitude is proven to increase happiness, I’m not making this up, but also, I can attest to it. Keep a daily diary and at the end of the day, write down 3 things which you are grateful for that day. When I was feeling low in confidence, my therapist suggested I write down three things I was proud of that day. This resulted in me being excited while I was doing difficult things, because I could write them down at the end of the day. Something small like that can go a long way. During the first Corona lockdown in March 2020, I started a ‘Good Things Jar’. Anytime something good happened, I wrote it on a little colored sticky note and folded it into the jar. At the time of writing, I haven’t opened the jar. By now, I don’t know what I wrote down months ago but I’m excited to open it with someone and share. Also fun to start doing simultaneously with a friend!
Do a Little Something for Someone
It is proven that doing something nice for a fellow human increases feelings of happiness. It is a good cure for feeling schlumpy. Within reason, of course, don’t become someone’s chore slave, although.. for some people that’s a legitimate turn-on and I’m not here to judge.
I like to send postcards every once in a while, it’s never not a satisfying feeling to push those cards into the mailbox and imagine they are making their way to their unsuspecting receivers. Doing a little something for someone can be done entirely in a way that suits the giver. It can’t be said enough, everyone is different. I like cooking, and whenever I make something nice, it gives me joy when someone enjoys my food.
Or how about doing volunteer work? The key here, I think, is to use one’s own talents in a way that feels right. I myself help out on the media team of independent housing cooperative de Nieuwe Meent by writing blogs and translating . During these times of self-isolation, it’s been grand to be connected, albeit online, to a larger group of people and to contribute something meaningful.
Start An Online Dance Club
Another fact, exercise is good for the mind. It can give the brain a break or actually lead to new ideas. But there’s no one-size-fits-all fitness approach, not everyone enjoys running outside in all seasons, so don’t punish yourself for not doing that. One of my favorite ways of moving my body is dancing. No club needed for that! But it is nice to dance with friends all at the same time, now is a good time for online dance parties. There’s a fun website, Watch2gether, that allows for watching YouTube videos together, without commercials. Load a YouTube playlist into it or add videos with a group together Live. Schedule a Zoom meeting and then share the Watch2gether link when starting the meeting.
I admit, it takes a specific person to get excited about these online dance meetups (me!), but of course everyone should find out what works best for them in terms of getting their move on. I do a tiny amount of yoga, which is mostly a bit of stretching through sun salutations, but really my main motivation there is to refresh my mind and to get a break from my special talent: overthinking absolutely everything.
While corona and its consequences keep stretching out in time, we need to try and remember our strengths. Little actions can help us feel better to build on those strengths, it’s important to know what those are for ourselves. However, therapy is always an option. I know that it has given me tools to better deal with mental loops in 2020 and to feel better. And oh, feel free to find the evidence behind mentioned facts, it shouldn’t be too hard. Or, just try for yourself.