10 Ways to Lift Your Spirits

Every once in a while I flail into despair, the kind where you feel everything you do is an exercise in futility. I'm one of those highly efficient humans. I hate to waste my time, so when things are moving slowly, or worse, going backwards, I get frustrated, anxious, and depressed.

Times like these force me to take a step back.

While everyone is different, we all have our triggers to get us back in the game. For me, it's seeing someone who's fighting bigger obstacles than I'll ever face. These people are my heroes. Their perseverance stops me from ever feeling sorry for myself.

For lesser degrees of mental road rash, I have other tricks too. Here are a few of my favorites.

• Weed the garden. If I'm angry, nothing makes me feel better than weeding the garden. Something about ripping weeds out of the ground.  ...hmm.

• Cleaning the house. There's something therapeutic about cleaning. Much like weeding, furious cleaning makes me work out my frustration.

• Laugh. I wish there were more funny movies out there. Most comedies have questionable humor. Maybe that's why I like to watch funny pet videos.

• Stay off social media if you're depressed. Facebook is crazy with political fanatics and bullies. Unless you belong to friendly groups who don't allow politicking, limit your interactions for good mental health.

• Socialize with happy people. I once had to work with the most sour person in the world. She wasn't just a glass half-empty person. Her glass was cracked, laced with poison and shards. You could feel her darkness.

On the other hand, funny and good-natured people are a joy to have in your company. Treasure them.

• Eat. Sometimes we need something specific in our diet. It could be chocolate, or it could be a comfort meal. Let your body tell you what it needs.

• Get some sleep. I can't take naps without it interfering with my sleep, but sometimes I'll go to bed early. I make sure the bed has fresh linens and then I burrow under the sheets and try to fall asleep before Greg walks in.

• Take a walk or drive someplace new.

• Volunteer. I don't know why it is, but helping others is something that immediately lifts your spirits. I think it's one of those things that's hardwired into us.

• Get a pet. You can't be sad when you hang out with a dog (or cat).

Bonus: Appreciate those around you. You never know when God has other plans for them. If that doesn't put life in perspective, nothing will.

How about you? What do you do to get you out of the dumps?


I'm wth you on the laughing. When we saw Jerry Seinfeld in person awhile back, I laughed so hard, and it felt so good. For that stretch of time, I forgot about other stuff and just enjoyed myself. :)

I don't watch a lot of funny movies because I don't usually find them as hilarious as everyone else seems to. I lean toward old sitcoms or old episodes of new sitcoms when I'm looking for a laugh.
Maria Zannini said…
Madeline: You are absolutely right about the quality of comedy nowadays. I almost always watch old comedies than the crap that passes as funny today. Saturday Night Live in particular should've been canceled long ago. It hasn't been funny in ages.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a recent good comedy.

PS Love Seinfeld!
Angela L Brown said…
Laughter is an awesome cure for dealing with the blues. I also consdier doing something that would be my version of YOLO - you only live once. Like trying to bake something new with a friend. It may get messy, but oh the fun that will be had. :-)
lynnviehl said…
These days I avoid people and things that dump me in the pit. You don't get poisoned if you refuse to drink the hemlock; that's my new motto. But if something unexpected shoves me over I do something physical that creates joy for me so I can crawl back out. Sewing, cooking, cleaning and walking are my main go-tos for that. The kitchen is really my happy place. I'm up to about twenty miles of extra walking every week now.

Meditation every morning as a preventive measure really helps me react better to whatever comes along to drag me down. If I'm calm then I think with more clarity. I better recognize what's going to trigger me. If I have a chance I do something preemptive to brace myself. An act of kindness toward someone else usually works well. So does prayer on occasion.

I keep a shelf of books that make me happy every time I reread them, and when I can't do something physical I retreat into one of those. Books provide wonderful alternative realities in which to dwell and rejuvenate.
jacabur1 said…
RE: "How about you? What do you do to get you out of the dumps?"

Used to be my favorite thing was mowing our yard, that always gave me as much satisfaction as cleaning my house inside.

Now it is watching the birds, the squirrels, the butterflies and Mash/The Nanny/Golden Girls and other comedy/drama reruns. Also enjoy watching Guy's Grocery Games or other cooking shows on occasion to get a feel for what can be done with competing ingredients that turn out to be enjoyable meals.

Some things make me cry and laugh in the same sitting but always give me a lift Maria, especially Mash reruns more often than not.
Carole West said…
Laughing is good and as you know with the loss of Dixie I found my sanity through moving gravel. Then yesterday Robert and I just chilled and enjoyed each others company. Something as simple as ice cream cones from Dairy Queen inspired some joy..

Great suggestions I also like to create with wood which is on my agenda this week.
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I like that. Sometimes it's about getting out of the rut we're in.
Maria Zannini said…
re: You don’t get poisoned if you refuse to drink the hemlock
I love that mantra. It's so true.

One thing I miss most is yoga. I tried practicing by myself, but I really need to be in a group environment so I can be held accountable. Heck, even if Greg joined me I think it would be enough of an incentive to stick to it.

I have him eating healthier though, so I'll be grateful and move on. :)
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: They really don't make good television anymore. It's either an old show that was updated or the same trick pony over and over again.

I was disappointed the new Magnum didn't work out. It just doesn't have the same charm as the original.
Maria Zannini said…
Carole: You poor thing. It's hard to move on immediately after a pet's death.

I'm at my most vulnerable when one of my fur kids dies. Hard work seems to be the only thing that helps me so I totally understand moving gravel.

Hugs, my friend.
Jenny Schwartz said…
Re-reading a favourite book :)
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: True! I just (re)bought a book I loved and had fallen apart from being read.
LD Masterson said…
I used to walk. A long brisk walk always brought my spirits up. Now my poor knees have taken the pleasure out of walking. Luckily, a good book still works.
Mike Keyton said…
Like you, thinking of those with far heavier crosses. Work is good too. Episodes of Frasier never fail
Maria Zannini said…
Linda: I started rereading one of my favorites. I usually don't reread books, but I've made an exception for Sarum.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: I love Frasier, especially when he plays off Niles or Eddy.