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Lately, I’ve been hearing from so many people who are feeling so very, very down. They’re worried about their health, finances, families, jobs, society, and their futures. They’re starting to wonder if life will ever, ever go back to normal. Or at least something like it.
Oh, honey, I know. 2020 has been a tough year for just about everyone, including me. 2019 wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for our family either. When the calendar flipped to a new year I was so excited, certain that the coming 365 days simply had to be better. Nope. Not so far.
So when will things get better? Get easier? That’s something I don’t know. No one does.
But what I do know is that while we often have very little control over our circumstances, we almost always have control over how we respond to those circumstances. I also know that, no matter how grim or worrisome things may seem in the moment, there is nearly always some good to be had in the day we are given.
Fighting the Fatigue: 7 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up
I think that was easier to remember back in March. When the virus first started spreading, we were all a little more proactive about taking care of ourselves and others. Back then, we were “all in this together”. Now, after so many months, things feel a lot more fractured. Many of us are feeling like we in this all alone.
I’m writing this post to tell you that you’re not.
Today I want you to think of me as the girlfriend who cares you enough to give you a loving punch in the shoulder, followed by a hug and a grin, and says, “Come on! Cheer the heck up!”
How? Glad you asked! I actually have ideas for 7 ways to cheer yourself up.
Honestly, there isn’t anything particularly earth-shattering here. Chances are that you were doing at least a few of these back in March, before COVID fatigue set in. But there might be a few ideas on the list that hadn’t occurred to you before. Or maybe this will just serve as a reminder to renew some of the practices that were working for you before.
So let’s get to the list…
1. Make a List
First on the list is making a list. No, not a to-do list. That might actually make you feel worse than you already do. Instead, make a list of the things that are good in your life, things that you have to be grateful for, small and large. Counting your blessings is a time-tested way to combat feelings of sadness and despondency.
If you’ve never kept a gratitude journal, now might be the time to start. If you’ve fallen out of the habit, maybe it’s time to get back to it. Any old notebook will work just fine for a gratitude journal. However, I find that using a pretty journal adds to the pleasure of writing down the things I’m grateful for. This is my current favorite.
2. Make a Call
These ways to cheer yourself up can include others. If you’re feeling alone and isolated right now, chances are that someone you care about is feeling the same way. Pick up the phone or boot up the computer and give them a call.
Early on in this crisis, people were burning up the Internet with all those Zoom conferences and FaceTime calls. Now it seems like we’ve gotten out of the habit. Maybe people got Zoom overload? I can understand that but we still need human connection and technology today makes that so easy. Hearing the voice of a friend or, better yet, being the voice of a friend is the quickest way I know to cheer yourself up.
3. Take a Break
We all need to be informed, I firmly believe that.
But being informed doesn’t mean we have to read every Twitter or Facebook post on the planet, nor stay plugged into the 24-hour news cycle. If tuning into social media or the news leaves you feeling consistently down and depressed, it might be time to take a break, or at least cut down on your media consumption.
Recently, I’ve been rationing the amount of time I spend reading or listening to the news. Fifteen minutes in the morning and evening, is enough for me right now. Maybe that would be enough for you too.
4. Read a Book
If there was ever a time to lose yourself in a good book, this is it! Especially books with happy endings. As I often say, “Life is hard but fiction doesn’t have to be.”
When the real world is a little too much to bear, it’s a good idea of take a mental vacation to a happier world. My recent post on What to Read Now has suggestions for lots of good, happily ever after books.
Or, related to my first suggestion about counting your blessings, you might try reading or re-reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I’ve recommended this book about the transformative power of counting God’s everyday blessings to just about everyone I know. It’s a remarkable, life-changing read.
5. Get Outside
If you possibly can, get outside and catch some sun. Study after study has shown that exposure to the sun help improve your mood and even fight depression. For more information on the hows and whys, check out this article from Web MD
6. Say a Prayer
If you’re a person who prays, you already know the role prayer can play in lifting our spirits, cheering us up, and renewing our hope. So why do we so easily fall out of the habit of prayer?
I don’t know. But I do know it’s something that happens, often at the moment when prayer is what we most need. I’ll be honest, I’ve been finding prayer really difficult these days. My mind is so full that I can’t seem to focus. I just ordered this book of devotionals that a friend highly recommended. The online excerpts definitely really struck a chord for me. I think it might be just the spiritual kick-start that my prayer life needs.
7. Do a Good Deed
Doing something nice for someone else is a sure-fire way to lift your spirits and those of others. And it’s such an easy thing to do!
Bake cookies for a neighbor. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-thru line. Write a note of encouragement. Make a donation to a good cause. Or a quilt for a veteran. Or a mask for a first responder. Or a visit (socially distanced, of course) to a shut-in.
When it comes to good deeds, there really is no end of possibilities, and no end of the benefits and blessings it will bring to you and to others who might need cheering up too.
The Marathon None of Us Signed Up For – Finding Ways to Cheer Yourself Up
Four months in, I think we all realize that Covid-19 is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. How long this marathon will last is anybody’s guess. But we’ve got to hang in there and get to the finish line.
Being “all in this together” means taking care of yourself as well as others. I hope my ideas for ways to cheer yourself up will help you do both.