I’m not talking about ways to magically make depression go away. If I could make a list on how to drag yourself out of bed when you’re gripped by the illness to complete the things on all the ‘how to cheer yourself up’ lists in the first place, I would do it in a heartbeat. To those of you reading this who feel like that: one day, it will get better.
For those of you who aren’t depressed but are feeling a little down and in need of cheering up, here are my top tips for cheering yourself up and banishing the sadness.
1. Put on your favorite movie
My favorite is ‘Imagine Me and You.’ It’s a cheesy girl-meets-girl love story that I put on when I’m in a soppy mood. ‘Coyote Ugly,’ a fun-filled movie about a struggling songwriter who moves to NYC but finds work in a not so average bar instead, is another popular choice.
I know that it’s impossible for me to feel sad when either one of these movies is on, so I put one of them on when I need cheering up. Grab some chocolate and a cup of tea (or whatever else you feel like), get into bed, wrap yourself in a fluffy blanket and watch your favorite film. I promise it will make you feel better—even if it’s just for the length of the film.
2. Put on your favourite comedy show
Laughter is the best medicine, right? If movies aren’t really your thing, or you’re not in the mood for one, have a sitcom marathon. Put on whatever comedy show makes you laugh the hardest, even when watching it for the 100th time, and you’ll be feeling better in no time!
3. Have a cup of tea
A terribly British solution to anything really, but that’s because it works! Trust me. I used to hate tea (I hate myself for this, too, don’t worry), but now I think it’s one of the best things ever. Cold? Have a cup of tea to warm you up. Bored? Make a cup of tea. Watching a movie? Then you need a cup of tea to go with it. Happy? Have a cup of tea to celebrate. Sad? Have a cup of tea to cheer yourself up. See? It’s the perfect solution to every situation!
4. Take a nap
There’s a reason people say things like, “Sleep it off,” or “Sleep on it. You’ll feel better in the morning.” Sleep is wonderful. We sleep so that the body has a time to rejuvenate, so sleep literally fixes you (both mentally and physically). Sure, you might wake up from a nap and be cranky, but if that happens just take another nap until you’re feeling better!
5. Go for a walk/get some fresh air
If you feel sad, get up, walk out of your house and take a deep breath—deeper than the first breath you take when you first get out of your car after a long drive to the beach and you’re breathing in the sea air for the first time. Then, keep walking. Don’t think about anything—just take in your surroundings and keep breathing.
6. Put your favorite music on loud and sing along
There’s one thing I’ve learned about music and that’s that if it’s loud, you can’t help but sing along. Even if you’re feeling a little sad and are not feeling up to singing along at first, a few minutes in and you’ll be singing your heart out. This works best for me when I’m alone in my car with the radio/my Taylor Swift CD turned up loud (but I don’t recommend going for a drive if you’re really down as that’s dangerous).
7. Go shopping
Real shopping or window shopping. In the words of Donna from “Parks and Rec,” you need to “Treat yo self!” Seriously though, I find it always helps when I’m feeling down to buy myself something nice to wear or some nice food to eat because it’s my way of saying: you’re worth it, and you deserve it.
8. Cuddle an animal
Their soft, fluffy fur and cute little faces make it almost impossible for anyone cuddling them to feel sad. Studies have shown that not only does stroking a cat or a dog make physical illnesses better, but it is also a natural stress reliever and helps to reduce anxiety. Feeling down? Grab you cat/dog. Don’t have a pet? Borrow someone else’s (with permission, of course).
9. Call your best friend
Call the first person you think of calling when anything significant happens, whether that is your best friend, your mom, your grandma or a sibling. Whomever it is is probably the person whose voice instantly makes you feel slightly better in times of sadness. You don’t even have to tell them anything’s wrong; just tell them you wanted to call to see how they’re doing and to have a conversation.
So there you have it: my foolproof ways for cheering yourself up. Do you have any other tips for making yourself feel better? Let us know in the comments!