Seasonal depression is back with a vengeance during these wintertime blues. It was 32° this morning, and, as Mother Nature intended, I had no jacket (my mother would be horrified). Although we may still be buzzing with the ambition to hold strong in our New Year’s resolutions, the freezing temperatures, warm bed, and dwindling will power is a major buzz killer. This three-piece combo makes it easy to allow the daily grind to grind us down until we might as well be six feet deep (dramatic I know, but like I said, winter blues are a bitch). To combat those blues and avoid the monotony of a lackluster daily routine, I have five tips on how to brighten up your days when surrounded by gloom and its doom side piece.
1. Make Minor Changes To Your Daily Schedule
Although an orderly routine can be healthy and relieving if you start to despise this perfectly crafted schedule that begins at 6 a.m. that alarm clock will be more debilitating than invigorating. No, I’m not saying that so you can justify waking up later, but I’m rather motivating you to change what happens after your alarm. First, don’t immediately roll over and check everything you missed while sleeping, because, in actuality, you probably didn’t miss much, and you’ve now wasted ten minutes. Allow yourself enough time to make a simple breakfast that you actually enjoy and to have not one but two cups of coffee if necessary.
Also, I know when I look bad, I feel worse, so whenever I can I try to make myself look presentable, even if I’m just going to work where my coworkers have seen me hungover with last night’s makeup on. If you normally put on makeup and do your hair, do something different with it, even if it’s only changing your lipstick shade or doing a slightly saucy eyeshadow look. Other people will probably notice, and even if they don’t, you do, which is most important. Once you’ve finally left the house and start your daily commute to work or school, the smallest changes like changing up your music or listening to a funny podcast if you have thirty minutes or more can make the dreaded journey feel more like a fun road trip.
It’s all about a slightly delusional mindset to not get stuck in your normally mundane reality. Post work or school, it’s easy and understandable to flop into bed out of exhaustion, but daily naps aren’t the most exciting and that’s coming from the nap queen, herself. I know when I clock out, I feel way better about myself if I actually do something that makes me happy and feels productive like working out or going to the grocery store to make a different, exciting dinner rather than just going through my usual drive-thru. In order to feel better and improve your life, it doesn’t take drastic measures to make a drastic change. Rome wasn’t built in a day as the cliché “they” say.
2. Discover New Hobbies
As we know, a routine is a simple repetition of actions until you shut down to snooze to then wake up and repeat. Life is a cycle, but while the Earth spins, we can evolve with a bit of curiosity and effort. We all have things that we see and think that’d be cool to learn or do. There’s no better time than now to start. It could be as insane as taking up skydiving if you really want to spike your blood pressure or it could be as simple as picking up painting, which is definitely more my speed.
Most would agree that nothing is more satisfying and rewarding than creating something that didn’t exist before, and although I do say D.I.Y’s are for people who have too much time with nothing to do, D.I.Y’s are the perfect time killer on the off chance you do have time to kill. And no, I don’t only just mean your stereotypical mom’s Pinterest craft ideas (although if you’re into that keep pinning, it is indeed cool to craft). D.I.Y, to me, is anything you see and think I want to do that myself, which could range from homemade candles, brewing your own beer, juggling, or something more active such as yoga, tennis, or your traditional punishment turned to sport, running. No matter your choice of hobby, do it and do it well. You’ll finally have a fun fact to share with the class.
3. Create and Complete A Weekly Bucket List
One rule I’m trying to incorporate into my own life is every week doing something I’ve never done. Just for a quick clarification, I don’t mean drugs. It’s important to consistently challenge yourself in hopes of growth and again, the evolution of character. No one likes a movie where nothing happens. Someone has got to go through a breakdown, cry, or die, and sometimes it’s all three if they’re the unlucky character. And I’ve already made it easy for you to start with the last tip of getting a new hobby; that could be a whole month’s bucket list if you get four new hobbies back to back!
This may seem like a chore list and just another thing to check off the list, but the twist is that this list is actually fun and self-motivated rather than dictated by your boss or grueling school schedule. You get to decide what you want to do, and that one thing could open up a whole new world of undiscovered fun. For example, I have always wanted to go to a concert by myself, which may seem weird to a lot of people, but in my quest for independence, I figured that’s a bold yet achievable step. However, I started by simply going to a movie by myself. If you’re curious, I went to the matinee showing of Shia LaBeouf’s Peanut Butter Falcon, and it was only myself and a sixty-five-year-old woman, with whom I had a lovely debriefing of the film afterward.
I had such a nice time, and I’ve since been to more movies by myself, including Cats, which was emotionally moving in a different kind of way. Nevertheless, doing small things by myself was great preparation for driving to Atlanta on a Sunday night after a long day at work to see my fave, Omar Apollo, live in concert, which is an amazing memory. I now have a souvenir tote bag and so many wildly moving snapchats with my voice completely overtaking Omar’s. Who knew this whole journey of trying new things would start with Mr. Louis “Even” Stevens, himself.
4. Plan (At Least) One Out Of The Ordinary Activity A Month
Now I know this list may seem to be getting repetitive despite the whole point being to avoid repetition, but where the other steps focus more so on daily or weekly changes this is about one fun thing you can plan for say a Saturday night out. Word of advice based on personal experience, try to avoid making it a Thursday night, because although it’s tempting to start the weekend early, Friday is not as good of a recovery day as Sunday. Wait until you’re completely off the clock for the week to have off the clock fun.
I feel as though the overarching rule to not letting the daily hustle and bustle drain you of all energy and motivation to live is to balance work and play. And for at least one night of the month, you can go and play hard with no judgment or guilt. I can’t say you won’t regret it in the morning, but you also have to pay to play at the same time. So plan a night out with your friends that you haven’t seen in a while or go even bigger and better and plan a weekend getaway. Make this time completely for you since a lot of the time it seems as though we’re living for others.
5. Work Towards Your Long-Term Goal Daily
I find the feeling of working towards seemingly nothing and the sense of purposelessness to be the main source of daily restlessness and dissatisfaction. It ain’t easy being a twenty-two-year-old trying to figure out life while simply making ends meet in any way possible. It’s exhausting and frankly, my ego is suffering, which is why it’s so important to have something worthwhile to work towards. Even if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, you do know areas in your life you want to improve.
It could be your physical health, mental health, or work ethic. And the beauty of it is that most of the time when you improve one major aspect of your life, it has a residual effect on other areas of your life. Personally, I know since the summer I’ve been trying to lose weight since that’s always been a weak area for my self-esteem and overall quality of life. Even when I was working a minimum wage job at a tanning salon with a Bachelor’s degree accumulating dust, I knew that I was working towards something. Now it’s January, I’m forty pounds down and making more money at a new job. One admirable quality of this cycle of life is that when one door closes, another opens. You just have to walk in and work.
I hope my tips come off as exciting and motivational rather than just another self-help tactic to add to the already exhausted new year, new you motto. No matter how you go about it, just don’t let the daily dictate you. You dictate the daily.
Featured Image: https://styleblueprint.com/birmingham/everyday/instagrammable-spots-in-birmingham/
HONESTLY, I'M MORE SO WRITING THESE TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MYSELF, BUT I THOUGHT I WOULD GET THAT GOOD KARMA AT THE SAME TIME.