I love a good cry. Sometimes I will listen to songs that I know will make me sad or write my way into a nice sobfest. But when the tears are all shed, I know I've gotta get out of my funk. Retail therapy will work for a little bit, sure, but ultimately that can lead to a light wallet and a heart that is still heavy. Instead, taking little steps that cost next to nothing is a better bet. None of my ideas are particularly groundbreaking, but when I'm in a bad mood, having a list of things that I don't even have to think about is key.
1. Paint your nails. I have a theory that painting your nails is pretty much the ultimate way to declare to the world that you are having alone time. When you do it right, it takes a good twenty minutes where the most productive thing you can do in between is flip through a magazine or scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest (seriously, even typing seems risky with wet nails). It's an activity that requires just enough acute focus to let your mind go blank, but doesn't require that much effort or complexity. And you have fabulous nails when you're finished.
2. Go on a walk with no real destination and no technology. When I am truly stuck on something, I'll turn my phone on airplane mode if I'm in the city (or just leave it behind altogether if I'm on campus). A Greenway trail or park is a great way to be alone without actually being totally isolated. Tuning out all social media and phone calls means that you can just be.
3. Shop in your own closet. I have a confession. When the mood strikes me, I will spend hours going through my closet and putting together new outfits from things I already own. It definitely helps cut down on shopping, but it also makes me feel more in control. This might not strike everyone as a fun way to spend an evening, but you can definitely strike style gold if you do this somewhat regularly.
4. YouTube session. (Bonus points if it is with your friends). One of my favorite memories of my junior year of college is when my two best girl friends on campus and I got together and watched hours of Vine compilations on YouTube. It was a Friday night before a cross country meet for all of us so we couldn't really do much in the way of going out, etc. But by the end of the night, our abs were hurting and we were sharing the silliest stories. After laughing that much, everything seemed a little bit brighter and we weren't having the usual nervous dread feelings before a race. There are arguments that technology creates barriers, but sharing laughs over things like that have definitely brought me closer to people.
5. Donate to your favorite charity. Obviously, volunteering in a more long term way is a long lasting mood booster, but when you are down in the dumps on a Sunday night at 11? There aren't a lot of options. But fortunately, sharing some wealth is easier than ever with the good ole Internet. I like charity:water, personally. Donating is one thing that isn't entirely focused on just raising your own mood, but doing things for others is a surefire way to forget about your own problems for a bit.
6. Make something. Anything. Everyone has their own outlet. If you told me that cooking an elaborate dinner would make me feel better, I would noticeably cringe. But making a friendship bracelet? I'm so down. Other simple things I like to do is make an inspiration collage for the upcoming fashion season, make a new playlist to listen to in my car or write a poem.
7. Take a hot bath. So germaphobes might not appreciate this suggestion, but if you can ignore the idea that baths are grimy (and maybe rinse off with running water afterwards), baths are rejuvenating. They relax your muscles and give you a chance to be totally alone even if you live with other people. I'll usually take in a magazine or a paperback to up the distraction factor a bit.
8. Call someone you haven't talk to in a while. And listen more than you talk. There might be a chance for them to shed some light on whatever has got you down, but hearing from an old friend or relative is definitely gratifying. Trust me, they will be delighted to hear from you.
9. DANCE. Stop what you're doing. Turn on your favorite song. And get down. Or, if you've got a bit more time on your hands, go out and have some fun for a night. It is tempting for an introvert like me to indulge in the temptation of brooding, but I absolutely love dancing with my friends. By the end of the night, I'm so exhausted that my mind isn't too anxious to go to sleep and you can be sure there's a massive breakfast in my near future.
10. Appreciate simplicity. A tall glass of ice water or a cup of your favorite tea. A fresh notebook. Clean sheets. Washing your face. All just tiny things that can add up for a big impact on your mood if you let them.