1. Walk out your front door. Whenever I’m feeling like I’m claustrophobic in my own skin, or in my own life, it’s usually because I haven’t left the house yet that day. Go outside. I don’t care if it’s freezing, just leave your apartment for a few minutes and walk around.
2. Make yourself a strong cup of tea and drink it while it’s still pretty hot. Hot liquids can be incredibly calming, and the caffeine in tea disperses differently from the caffeine in coffee, so it will energize you without riling you up.
3. Write down a list of ten things you’re worried about. Sometimes when your fears are bottling up inside you, it’s easiest to let them out so you don’t feel like you need to keep them right in the forefront of your mind.
4. Buy yourself a fresh flower, go home, and put it in some water. Enjoy something new that livens the place up.
5. Go to the park and pet a stranger’s dog (with their permission, obviously).
6. Ask your friends what they see as your best qualities — as a person, as an employee, as a friend, and as a significant other. Then stop for a second and actually fucking give yourself from credit for those qualities.
7. Use the reminders your friends gave you to think of a few things you want to focus on in the coming month. Focusing on the big picture too much or planning the Year of You/Year of Yes/Year of Your Career might be a bit much right now. Instead, make goals in the short term. What are you going to make happen this month? Do you want to focus on meeting people and scheduling more social engagements? Do you want to talk to your supervisor about taking on new projects at work?
8. Stop being scared. Stop being scared if you don’t have an answer to what you want to do with your life. Stop freaking out about the fact that you aren’t even sure what you want to do for the rest of the day. You do not have to have all the answers. You need to take things one day at a time.
9. Call someone in your family who makes you feel secure, safe, and happy. Make sure it’s someone who can talk too openly with. Spend too long on the phone with them, catching up, sharing your life with them, and vice cersa.
10. Plan something one or two weeks away to look forward to. Schedule a workout class you’ve been wanting to try (aerial yoga, anyone?), or make plans to have dinner at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
11. Find an album you’ve never heard of before, and listen from start to finish.
12. Cook yourself a really nice meal. Actually take the time to look up recipes online, and sort through to find one you like. Go to the store, pick out all the ingredients you need to make a feast. When the food’s cooked, even if it doesn’t look exactly like it did in the picture, reward yourself by eating it in front of a movie.
13. Figure out what your favorite kind of eggs are. No, seriously. Scramble eggs, make them into an omelet, soft boil them, make them over easy, etc. Try them and find out what your favorite is. This does not all have to be done in one night.
14. Figure out what your favorite alcoholic drink is. Again, not something you want to do all in one night.
15. Shower, shave, comb your hair, and style it. Paint your nails, and put on a good pair of jeans. Look in the mirror and remind yourself what it’s like to feel good in your own skin.
16. Reach out to one person who has a job that you think you might love. Say you would love to learn more about their job, or meet for coffee. You might not get an answer, or they might say no, but you have nothing to lose by just trying.
17. Learn how to arm knit from a YouTube tutorial. Or if you don’t want to try your hand at knitting, learn some other new skill from a YouTube tutorial.
19. Recognize and understand that no one is immune to occasionally feeling lost. In fact, realizing that you feel lost means you’re pursuing a better job, trying to find love you deserve, or searching for a deeper meaning in your life. You are someone who is trying to improve, and that’s a great quality.
20. Go to T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s and allow yourself to indulge in a cheap candle free-for-all (impose a budget of $15 and see what you can get). Bring them all home, light them all and surround yourself with the warmth.
21. Go to the dentist because there’s a good chance you’ve been putting it off for five months.
22. Instead of letting your alone time become time you fill by replaying worries in your head and letting your anxiety nearly control you, find things that you genuinely enjoy doing by yourself. Try cooking, reading, drawing, or even going to the movies. Rediscover the fact that you really like your freedom and enjoy your own company.