1. Put non-alcoholic beverages in your fanciest glasses at home. I recently started doing this after getting home from work at night, and let me tell you…this little act brings me so much joy. It combines my need to be creative with my desire to stuff my face. Also, being sober is cool. Alcohol makes depression worse, and this is a fun way to sip a beverage and stay happy. You can do coke with cherry grenadine, seltzer water with lemon slices, an Airborne tablet with water and a rosemary sprig, whatever excites you the most and feels the fanciest. Win and WIN!
2. Watch a movie that is an old favorite. It can be just about as comforting as meeting up with an old friend. Warm fuzzies abound. Pop some popcorn, get into your comfy clothes and relax. Escape to a faraway imaginary world; bonus points if you watch something tropical, sunny, or beachy!
3. Build a pillow fort or tent in your living room. Decorate with twinkle lights and get in touch with your inner child (he/she/they will thank you)! It’s uplifting to feel a little silly and childlike every now and then.
4. Play hide and seek in your house. Seriously try this with your partner or a friend. So many laughs to be had. Document it using Snapchat or your phone’s video recorder so that you can come back to watch your partner/friend hunting for you for you in hilarity.
5. Sing along to an upbeat song…or a sad song, whatever is your jam. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer; singing heals the soul.
6. Phone an old friend or family member and ask them about their day. Ask more probing questions like, “what thoughts have been rattling around in your mind today” or “what’s your post-Covid travel agenda?”
7. Grab a journal or some paper and write about your thoughts and feelings. Put it all out there. You’d be surprised at how much journaling can give you mental clarity and a mood boost. Maybe burn what you’ve written and have a bonfire with it in your back yard (assuming it is safe to do so) if the mood so requires.
8. Ask for a hug from a loved one. If you are alone, give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Massage your own hands. Physical touch can boost mood as well, as it releases oxytocin, the chemical responsible for assisting in creating attachments.
9. Make and eat your favorite meal. Cooking can bring out your inner creative, and food lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, almost instantaneously. Just remember to do so in moderation.
10. Try your HAND (hah) at drawing or painting. Try drawing your dog, your television, your coffee table, or anything you see in front of you. Alternatively. You could go a more abstract route and draw a dream you had, some scribbles, or try to copy some modern art.
If all else fails, contact your local mental health professionals (Moore Vulnerability Counseling is a good place…or so I hear)! Sometimes we need an outside perspective. Perhaps more is going on than just seasonal depression, and that’s okay! We all have tough times, and we all need a mental health check up every now and again. Take care out there; seasonal depression affects between 50-70 percent of those of us who live in the Midwest. Being prepared with your preferred and healthy mood boosters can help you make friends with the darker half of the year.