I don’t know about you, but I can barely read the news without having a full-blown panic attack.
Anxiety seems to be the new norm. It’s not only exhausting and the opposite of fun, it can also cause real damage to our psyches and bodies.
This week I’ve been thinking about ways to make myself – and you, because I care – feel better. A news fast is a good place to start, at least once in a while, and here are 50 other things you can do right now to improve your mood:
1. Pet your cat, talk to your bird or fish, or give your dog a belly rub. (Optional: have someone give you a belly rub.)
2. Take a long walk.
3. Go to a museum.
4. Go to an open mic. Applaud the performers for their heart and bravery.
5. Make something, and extra points if it involves a hot glue gun. (You surely have something that needs bedazzling.)
6. Bake cookies.
7. Send someone a postcard.
8. Put your favorite music on (the louder the better) and dance around the house.
9. Sing with the radio. Sing without the radio.
10. Take a bath with bubbles and candles, or find a hot tub or sauna and pamper yourself.
11. Explore your town or city as if it were entirely new to you. Be curious and spontaneous.
12. Play. Do a jigsaw puzzle or crossword, or color one of those coloring books for adults that everyone’s so crazy about. Grab a friend and play Yahtzee or dominoes.
13. Tell someone you love them.
14. Make a batch of your favorite comfort food, and feel zero guilt if it doesn’t involve vegetables.
15. Plant a tree. (Check out TreeSisters.org for some serious tree planting inspiration.)
16. Clean out a closet and donate what you haven’t worn in a year.
17. Volunteer. At the retirement center, animal shelter, girl’s or boys’ club, whatever you feel tenderest about.
18. Make popcorn and watch a movie. (My recent fave, even though I’m way late to the party, is Hidden Figures. Inspiring, educational, and totally entertaining.) Or take yourself out to a movie, and have movie popcorn for dinner.
19. Do 10 minutes of stretching and deep breathing. If you practice it, do some meditation, even if your mind wanders like crazy. There’s value in the stillness and silence.
20. Call or email your congressperson regarding something you’re concerned about, and how she or he could help.
21. Plan a trip, even if it’s to the next town over.
22. Read a poem out loud. Revel in the feel and sound of the words.
23. Sit in the sun for 10 minutes.
24. Go to a coffee shop, enjoy a beverage, and eavesdrop.
25. Visit the dollar store and buy yourself something silly. My favorites are fun office supplies, like colorful pencils.
26. Try something new, anything at all. A new cuisine, activity, book, or music. Sit with it and notice its details.
27. Doodle or sketch.
28. Read a children’s book out loud. Points for using different voices for the different characters.
29. Think about something you loved to do as a kid, and go do it. (Miniature golf!)
30. Buy yourself flowers or a houseplant.
31. Sleep in, then have brunch with a friend.
32. Take an older relative or neighbor out for a drive.
33. Ask that older relative or neighbor about her past, and if she’d like to share a favorite memory. Listen when she tells you.
34. Make a bucket list. Go nuts! Nothing is off limits.
35. Take one of the things off your bucket list and research how to make it happen. Bonus points for putting it on the calendar.
36. Make out with someone you love, or at least like a lot. 🙂
37. Pick one thing on your to do list that you’ve been putting off, and do it. Check!
38. Find a church and sit quietly in the pews.
39. Set a positive intention for the day, and follow it.
40. Email or call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, just to tell them you were thinking of them and hope they’re well.
41. Learn a new phrase in a different language, and teach it to someone else.
42. Go to the library. Check out whatever books grab you.
43. Have a big salad for dinner.
45. Think of an issue you care about, and find an organization that’s working on it and get involved.
46. Go to a reading or lecture.
47. Write a manifesto. Post it somewhere you can see it every day.
48. Think of someone who’s struggling, and send them positive energy from your heart to theirs. Picture them in your mind when you do this.
49. Search the internet for funny videos or those hilarious lists of auto-correct gone horribly wrong. Laugh with gusto.
50. Hear me when I say this: it’s going to be okay. Despite bad news that seems to arrive daily, we have to believe that love and compassion will persevere. Take care of yourself, and love your humans, animals, and the planet. Remember that we’re in this together.
What do you do to feel better? Let us know in the comments.
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