Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with string... these are a few of my favorite things!
Every time things get ugly, I sing myself a few lines of "Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. When things get really bad I watch the whole movie. Alone in whatever apartment I'm living in, I'll stream the vintage goodness of Julie Andrews and the ever charming genius that is Rodgers & Hammerstein on to my computer screen and get lost in a world I wish was mine.
My dad has been in the hospital for the last month after getting his fourth heart attack. I've been visiting every day, but each visit comes catching up to me with emotions of every kind. I find myself feeling thankful for him being alive, sad that he's there in the first place, scared that he won't make it, furious about his evil wife, terrified of what would happen if he didn't make it, annoyed that my brother isn't here (update: he's here now!), and constantly conscious of how I spend the rest of the day following each visit.
So how do you deal with shitty situations like this?
Being sad is normal. Being depressed is also normal. Regardless of the intensity, there are steps one can take to soften the blow of life's ever pounding shit storm.
1. Clean up your mess.
Whether you find satisfaction in cleaning your bedroom floors or the polish off your nails, this is a technique that is guaranteed to leave the feeling of satisfaction on your mind for at least several minutes. I like to take long showers, shave my legs, use some hair treatments. Sometimes I'll make the bed and lay on the crisp sheets just to feel the newness.
2. Move around.
Go outside. Seriously, I mean it. Take a walk to your favorite part of town and just let everything around you soak in. Take extra notice of the shingles on the roof. Count the steps you take from the bus stop to the tower. Not only does physical activity help your mood, but gets your blood flowing again. Just ask a scientist.
3. Grab a cup of joe.
Call a friend, an old classmate, or invite your coworker out for a meal. Human contact will help get your mind going, even if you're not in the mood. Just make sure to avoid getting too tipsy... alcohol is a depressant, people.
4. Do something creative.
While you're already sitting at that cafe you might as well pull out the flimsy sketch book you bought so long ago. Make some doodles of the things around you. Draw the person sitting across from you. Sketch an outline of the street in front of you. Or maybe you're into writing poetry! Write a song, play with your makeup, design a dress... whatever! Being creative is a way to make yourself feel useful and motivated. It's a reason to continue pushing on.
5. Read a good book.
More than just a distraction, a good book makes you think and dream. Like step 4, this'll get your juices flowing back into their normal routine. Instead of worrying about what's making you sad, you have something new to daydream about.
6. Something new.
If you don't have money to buy something, go back to step 3 and make yourself something cool. Maybe try a new recipe! If you've go some extra change laying around, don't hesitate to buy yourself a new hat, shoes, coffee mug, whatever it is that makes you feel brand new. Just make sure to have a set budget to avoid impulsive splurging!
7. Start a healthy diet.
If the sadness seems to be taking over your body it's probably because you're low on vitamins. Take a trip to your local farmer's market for a fresh batch of fruits and veggies and start making smoothies.
Besides these seven steps I also make sure to stay busy. It's a big reason this blog exists, actually. I hope you try some of these next time you're feeling down. If you think you may be suffering from depression, click here to learn more about it.