Ways to make yourself feel better (for when your life isn’t going quite how you want it to)

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(A reference list for my future self.)

  1. Go to a cafe and order a pot of tea (English breakfast, obviously). Drink it slowly. Write your thoughts down with pen and paper. Listen to music. Or listen to bits and pieces of other people’s conversations. Read a good book and take the time to appreciate that someone worked really hard on it for ages probably and it’s their baby.
  2. Work out. At the gym, at home, or – god forbid – in public. It doesn’t matter where. What matters is that you do it until sweat drips down the back of your neck and your face is all shiny and you’re gasping for breath. Then drink lots of water. Then take a long hot shower.
  3. Change your sheets and your duvet cover. Take the time to make your bed really really well, so you get to look forward to getting into it all day. In the evening, brush your teeth thoroughly. Cleanse your face and moisturize. Put on a clean pair of pyjamas, light a candle, turn off all your electrics and snuggle into bed. (Don’t fall asleep without blowing out the candle, though.)
  4. Invite a good friend over for dinner. Cook them something really yummy, put in the time and effort to make it something you’re proud of. Buy a bottle of wine and drink it with them while you both enjoy the meal. It doesn’t have to be a romantic setting, but play some jazz regardless because jazz makes any setting so much better.
  5. Buy yourself some fruit you really like. Even if it’s a bunch of grapes for $7 or a half a coconut for $5 or something similarly ridiculous. Don’t be angry about how overpriced it is because you want it and it’s good for you and you’re going to enjoy eating it.
  6. Text an old friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Ask them how they are and if they want to catch up for coffee. If they say yes, make plans and keep them.
  7. Download a playlist of lovely acoustic songs. Wait for the next nice day and go for a long aimless walk. Pretend you’re the main character in an indie film, and any minute you’re going to have a poetic encounter with a stranger which you’ll remember forever.
  8. Pay for the stranger behind you in line at the cafe.
  9. Set a whole day aside to tidy your room. Dust all your surfaces and vacuum the entire carpet. Go through your things and chuck out any trash you’ve got lying around and any socks that have holes in them. Give away any clothes you don’t wear anymore. Throw out anything that just makes you sad. Create space for new things/new memories.
  10. Resolve to spend a whole day without checking social media. Instead: answer the emails that have been sitting in your inbox for weeks. Get offline and go play outside in the park. Find a spot in town to sit and people-watch. Buy a real newspaper and read it. Take a day trip to somewhere new and don’t put the photos on Instagram (bring friends with you). Go to the SPCA and play with the puppies and kittens. Get your hair cut. Do a clay face mask and space out completely while you wait for it to dry.
  11. Have a long phone conversation with someone you’re fond of. Better yet, write them a letter and actually post it to them.
  12. Surprise someone you live with by doing something kind for them (iron their shirts for them, make their bed, offer to give them a massage, leave fresh flowers in their room). If you live alone, surprise a friend or family member with the same next time you see them.
  13. Drink a glass of full fat milk really slowly before bed. Embrace the little pleasures in life (like a glass of full fat milk drunk slowly before bed) and don’t feel guilty about it.
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