Everyone has those days when they don’t feel like getting out of bed, and when everything that can go wrong, does. Sometimes, you just feel like hitting pause on work and going out for an impromptu drink or going home and sleeping it off. While sometimes that approach can work, most of the times, it’s not a very realistic thing you can do in the middle of a workday. The Week talked to Karuna Kunwar, psychologist at CMC-Nepal to find how things you can do to lift yourself up when you have had, or are having, a bad day.
#1 Eat well
The two extremes of being sad are that while some don’t want to eat, others overeat. The trick to comfort eating is that you shouldn’t only eat junk food. Make sure you have wholesome meals with a high protein diet. When you are feeling down, even if you don’t usually have desserts after your meal, you should. “If you don’t want anything too extravagant, at least have a bar of chocolate,” says Kunwar. Chocolates, especially dark chocolates, help release dopamine and serotonin which are the body’s happy hormones. If all else fails, you can rest assured that this will work.
#2 Treat yourself
Sometimes the smallest things can make your stress and sadness go away. “When you feel down, you should do things that make you happy,” says Kunwar. Run a hot bath or take a long shower to help you relax. You can even pamper yourself by putting on facemasks and giving yourself a manicure and a pedicure. These small tasks require some concentration and help you forget about your stressful day.
#3 Make a list
When you are at work there isn’t much you can do to cheer yourself up. Making a list is a handy option for when you are stuck in situations you can’t get out of. “Write down how you are feeling and why it is bothering you so much,” she suggests. Writing is a good way to pour out your feelings and feel better. The best thing about writing things down is that when you are done, you can tear the paper, and throw it along with your feelings.
#4 Exercise a bit
Exercising is the best way to relieve stress. It takes your focus away from all your troubles and gives you something to concentrate on. The adrenaline rush that comes post workout will leave you feeling good and also tires you out so that you don’t have a problem falling asleep easily. “When we have a bad day, we tend to over think and find it hard to fall asleep. When you work out, you easily overcome this problem,” she says.
#5 Get crafty
Watching television when you are feeling down might seem like a good idea but it is a very mindless activity that will let your mind wander. Whenever you feel down, get crafty and do that thing you have been putting off for a while. You can finally make that Instagram wall or put up fairy lights in your room. “Achieving a personal goal, however small it may be, goes a long way in cheering you up,” Kunwar says.
#6 Have a pick me up playlist
There are certain songs that cheer you up no matter how sad you are. These songs are usually upbeat and when you start humming or singing along to it, you will find that you feel a lot better. This playlist can also double as the songs you listen to when you are sleepy. They make you happy and thus release the happy hormones as well. Some songs help kick start the adrenaline in your system and perk you right up.
#7 Do things that help calm you down
When you aren’t feeling your best, try to figure out something that helps you calm down. For some, the comfortable rhythm cooking requires is therapeutic and helps calm them down. “I do have people in counseling who like losing themselves in the alternate realities provided by books. It has become of their biggest coping mechanisms,” reveals Kunwar.
#8 Go for a walk
“Try to find a park or a place with trees and greenery as being close to nature helps soothe a troubled mind,” she says. If you have a yard, try walking barefoot on the grass. It helps improve blood circulation and the acupressure points in your feet are activated. A patch of fake plastic grass can also work, giving you similar feeling of walking on grass. Just make sure that the patch you buy has finer ‘grass blades’. This is a handy trick for people who don’t have a yard. You can have a small stress-busting corner right in your room.
Mastering the basics of meditation is easier than you think. The next time you are stressed (unless you are driving of course) close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. If you find that your mind is wandering instead of focusing on your breath, starting saying ‘inhale – exhale’ in your mind and concentrate on that instead. You will find that after a few minutes of doing this, you will feel better.
#10 Watch comedy shows
However hard we try, sometimes we find it impossible to perk up. Those are just one of those days when funny videos and comedy shows come in handy. There might be shows you find yourself going back to, that still make you laugh no matter how many times you watch it. If they don’t work, there are many funny videos on YouTube that will definitely cheer you up a bit. Who can stay grumpy when there is a dog going crazy over its own tail or a kid with spaghetti all over its chubby face?