Whether you’re feeling hormonal or the darker nights drawing in is sapping away your energy, it’s bloody hard to stay merry and bright 24/7. I watched some talks recently about how we should stop seeking motivation because we are designed to have it for only tasks that we perceive to be easy or non-threatening, which made me think about some of the Buddhist teachings on having a positive mindset; saying we need to stop putting our mood down to external factors and change the way we perceive things. Easier said than done I know but a good aim all the same.
With these ideas in mind I started trying to think of cheats to perk myself up and thought I’d share them with you. Whether you are on a path to enlightenment or just need a little pep-me-up to get through the colder months or a particularly arduous Monday, here are some ideas to help brighten up your mood…
- Skype/face-time a friend. It is easy during the darker months especially to become a bit of a hermit and subsequently feel a bit disconnected. You may now have some of the time that’s taken up by picnics, trips and day drinking in the summer so why not use it to call, skype, face-time a friend you haven’ spoken to for ages. A good friend won’t even mind if you are in your snuggliest, fugliest jammies.
2. As Bowie said, just dance. There’s nothing better than putting on a Spotify playlist of all your cheesiest tunes and dancing around your bedroom. Put on some Cyndi Lauper and shake that ass to give yourself a little energy boost and get those endorphins going.
3. Do something creative. I have never finished a knitting project but still, get the needles out come winter and drop a load of stitches whilst listening to a podcast. Sketching in cafes and taking pictures have also become some things I like to do. My sister likes clay modelling and animation, and I have friends who sew, crochet, solder and weld. It doesn’t matter what your medium is, just make something, no mater how small or simple it may start off being.
4. Send a postcard. There is something so nostalgic and fun about sending and receiving postcards, why should they be reserved for only summer holidays. Find the prettiest/tackiest/rudest/silliest postcard you can and send it to a friend. Yes, the mail is slow but it’s an old friend worth support, especially with the UK postal strikes (solidarity), so learn to love non-instant forms of communication again and go old school with coloured pens.
5. Stroke an animal. If you don’t have a pet then venture to a cat cafe or the nearest farm because our furry friends will always make us feel better. Hugging and declarations of love are optional but recommended.
6. Try a new recipe. It could be a cake, a curry (in my case) or just a new morning smoothie. Switch things up flavour-wise and try some new ingredients. It’s also great to eat seasonally so head down the market and put squash in your salad or make some warming beetroot borscht.
7. Add an accessory. Whether, like me, you embrace winter layers or not, one thing has to be said, autumn and winter are the perfect time to hone your accessories game and get out of a style rut. If you can’t afford a new winter coat then simply add a new hat, scarf, muff (titter) and you’ll feel refreshed.
8. Look at the stars. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start singing Coldplay’s Yellow. Wrap up warm or sit by a window and make the most of the longer nights. Whether you get all Patrick Moore and read up on astronomy or simply gaze and contemplate how ickle we are, there are few things more grounding than realising we are small fragments of the universe. Plus, stars are so pretty.
9. Read about somebody who inspires you. They can be fictional or real. I am enjoying reading about women involved in the resistance during WW2 and Malala Yousafzai’s book but you could keep it more light-hearted and less violent with a book of, say, essays by Joan Didion or Grace Coddington’s Memoir, which are also great.
10. Light a scented candle or use a diffuser. We often overlook our sense of smell in favour of visual or audible treats, but it has a big impact on how we feel. Trust me, I live in Paris so I love to get home to my diffuser after being trapped in the Metro with nostrils confronted by the Eau de urine. I recommend the Muji candles that smell of an open fireplace if, like me, you don’t have a chimney but want all the cosy vibes up in ya nose.
Also, lots and lots and lots and lots of cake!