1. I treat myself to a bath with my favorite smells and my favorite music.
2. I will watch a movie that requires me to pay attention and put down my phone so I have to focus on the movie. A thriller or a drama usually. I then get involved in that world and leave mine for a bit. I typically come out in a better mood as I was able to escape my reality for a few hours.
3. Read a book, that always takes my mind off things: way better for your mental health than social media.
4. Put Great British Bake Off on in the background.
5. I wrote a letter to my future self when I was at a happy point in my life to read when I’m sad. You’re obviously the only one who knows what you’re going through, so it’s nice to get advice from the happy version of yourself.
6. Being outside. Doesn’t matter why, or how long. A few minutes outside is usually a good thing for me. Enjoying the nice weather, the view, how busy or quiet the area is. It’s the little things.
7. I like to just find a puzzle of some kind and try to solve it. I guess this means doing something low stakes without lots of time or effort required that genuinely gives you a little momentary sense of shit I’m an actually half intelligent human who can actually accomplish something.
8. Puppy and Kitten compilations on YouTube.
9. Listen to good music and dance to it like no one’s watching. Because no one is.
10. I listen to podcasts or watch videos of Karl Pilkington. The old Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington XFM radio shows are on Spotify and it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard. Never fails to cheer me up.
11. Some motherfucker said you can literally smile and trick your brain into being happier. I hate how it actually works sometimes.
12. I call my long-distance boyfriend to watch something together if we’re available at the same time.
13. I listen to Ninja Sex Party/Dan Avidan in general. He’s such a lovely dude, his voice is soothing as all shit, and his music is either super hilarious or soul-wrenchingly beautiful.
14. I listen to soft and soulful music. Calms your mind. You will be surprised to see how many problems disappear or seem diminutive once you are calm and start thinking clearly.
15. I like to paint, so I just take my brushes and paint. It is so soothing to feel the soft strokes of the brush on canvas. I just love to make a beautiful, colorful mess. It is analogous to breaking things and shouting for me.
16. Swim. Makes me feel better to think that at least I’m productive today.
17. I play video games to distract me from the harsh realities of life.
18. Look at old photographs and try and remember the good old memories.
19. Adult coloring books.
20. Drive around and blast my favorite music with the windows rolled down at night.
21. Exercise. Serves as great thinking time and you always feel good afterwards (if not during) for putting in work.
22. Gratitude list. Cant be sad or upset when you’re grateful.
23. If I can, I take a nap or just go to sleep for the night. My doctor told me an analogy for mental health that I always find helpful.
Mental health is like a table. The more legs you have under the table (good sleep hygiene, nutritious diet, exercise, social contact, therapy etc…) the more stable the table is. It’s rarely one thing but we can do a lot of little things throughout the day that can culminatively make a difference.
I’m always exhausted and sleep-deprived so that’s usually the table leg I’m missing, so any rest helps.
24. Crying somehow helps.
25. Helping out a stranger is always a nice pick me up.
26. Chocolate. It’s good shit.
27. Yelling sounds. You gotta try it. It really helps.
28. I go for a walk. Never fails to clear my mind and brighten my mood.
29. Listen to music, it’s not a lot but it makes me so much better.
30. I allow myself to be sad, understand why I am sad, and just continue to do whatever I have planned to do. Eventually it goes away and I don’t even notice the sadness.