01 Dec Bonus YSS: Things you can do to feel better
Sometimes you feel the blues and may feel a bit depressed. This is normal! However, if the feelings linger and you don’t do anything about it, then it could fester and develop into more of a clinical depression.
Where are you on the mood scale? Think about it: a 1 is feeling uber-sad, like get-away-from-me-I-want-to-crawl-into-a-dark-tunnel sad. 10 is fabulous, like I-am-awesomely-a-rock-star-genius happy.
Where are you? Yeah, say it, or write it down. We won’t look.
Was it a 10? A 1 or 2? A 5? If you were a 10, rock on, if you fell below a 5, perhaps you may want to read on…
Because guess what? There are some things you can do to feel better so that you can move that number to a more comfortable place for you.
The first step is making a deal with yourself that you are going to make an effort to feel better. You are about to read some ideas to feel better, so when you do, get ready to begin to do them….
Eat healthfully – eat a nutritious snack that you really enjoy INSTEAD of a non-nutritious snack you were going to have.
Meditate – spend time in a quiet space with no interruptions (turn off your cell phone) and breathe deeply while trying to let your thoughts just go away. (Read more about meditation in stress reduction.)
Get into nature – go for a walk or sit on a beach or the top of a mountain. Just BE in nature. Enjoy. Relax.
Journal – spend time writing everything that comes to mind without thinking or judgment. Just write, even if you write, “I don’t know what to write” keep at it.
Exercise – this releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel better. Boom. Done.
Talk to a friend or parent – choose someone you trust and who will take the time to truly listen and then set up a phone call with that person or go visit that person so you can just talk for a while, about anything.
Do not engage in risky behaviors – so, if you are someone who is likely to do something not-so-smart to avoid feeling sad (drugs, alcohol, fighting, breaking things, etc.), then don’t do any of that destructive behavior the next time the urge comes. Do something nice instead. Pick an alternate behavior (going for a run, dancing, calling a friend, etc.) so you know what to do – you need a strategy ahead of time!
Help someone else – whether it be your neighbor, your little sister, or volunteering some time at the local soup kitchen, helping someone else is one of the best ways to help your self. Research has shown that it is the best way to give yourself a boost in happiness.
Find gratitude – Every night before you go to bed, write down three things (no less) for which you were grateful on that day. If this feels difficult to begin, focus on the very small things: I am grateful that I am warm. I am grateful that I had two meals today, I am grateful that I know how to read (millions of people don’t).
Set “me” reminders – Set your alarm on your phone to go off 5 times during the day. When your alarm rings, close your eyes and say something positive to yourself. Then turn to someone near you and say something positive. If you are alone, text someone a nice message about him/her.
Find a furry friend– Research shows that animals can be helpful in the recovery process, as they offer unconditional love and lots of companionship. To read more about how dogs have been helpful in supporting mental health, check out this article. (After you are done reading this page of course!)
Okay, did anything on that list resonate with you? Meaning, were there a few things that you thought, Hey, I could do that! or, I can relate to that? If not, read the list again and jot down how you will start to bring the ideas into your daily life. These are not huge obstacles – you can do this!
Great. Here’s your next task.
Make a quick planner, or get out the one you use for school. Or use the notes app on your phone. Yes, right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait.
Okay, great. Now, look at today’s list of things that you are meant to do. Where can you fit in one minute or up to fifteen minutes to do one of the things listed above that you like?
Add it to your list of things to do today.
Now, move to tomorrow. Where in your day tomorrow can you add something from the list above? You get the idea!
Each day for at least a week, please jot down something from the list above, or some other great idea you have, to do for up to 15 minutes.
Super-bonus: For the person really invested in feeling better….
Oh, is that you? Great.
Write down how you are feeling before you do the activity and after the activity. See how your mood changes. No, you don’t have to write an essay – and grammar doesn’t count. Just a few words to describe how you feel.
Now, after a week, think back to that initial number between a 1 and a 10. Any change? If not, seek some help from an outside source. If you do feel better, keep up the good work!
YOU deserve it.
Yeah, YOU. Who else was reading this?