11 Ways To Defenestrate the Down-in-the-Dumps

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NOTE: I’ve never used the word defenestrate in a sentence before. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I just want to be creative!!!!

Writing is fascinating. I know it isn’t alive, but at the same time I’m breathing life into it. Writing speaks, and its voice is always unique to the writer. One of my professors says breathing life into your characters and your world is the closest someone can get to playing the role of a deity, and he’s right. When I have the strength to move mountains so do my characters. Unfortunately, when I suffer, so do they. I unintentionally destroy everything I’ve worked to build.

Why write about this now? It seems pretty random as I’m sitting in the middle of Japan on the journey of my life. But every once in a while (usually once a semester) I notice that my writing “darkens,” especially for long periods of time when my mood sours (usually as I start to think about my future and what I’m doing with my life). Recently, I noticed my dark writing, but this time in my daily journal, not just my novel writing. I was writing a tragedy (and a sappy, angsty, young adult tragedy at that) without meaning to. And I know that tragic heroes learn their lessons much too late.

Why am I sad? I don’t know. Someone said maybe culture shock is kicking in, or maybe I’m homesick. But I think these sorts of feelings are just natural for me. That doesn’t mean I have to like them.

I read a post on WordPress the other day about 100 things you can do if you’re feeling sad. I remember thinking to myself, “Huh…I should save this. It might come in handy.” Unfortunately, I didn’t think to save it. Now, I certainly don’t have the time to think of 100 things, but here are 11 things I usually do to perk up. (I’m probably going to be doing a few of these later.)

1.) Go on a mini-trip. Anywhere. Go to the super market, the convenience store, the theatre, the mall, the bar, the park. You don’t have to spend money. Just get out. Go alone and think. Go with a friend and forget what you were worried about. It doesn’t matter.

2.) Enjoy an ice cream. Okay…I’m a stress eater, but so far, ice cream seems to be the best cure. I highly recommend Blue Bell’s “I Heart Chocolate.” (Chocolate ice cream with a chocolate frosting ribbon, fudge, brownies, and chocolate hearts filled with chocolate.)

3.) Watch your favorite episode of your favorite TV show. (Mine’s the musical episode of Psych. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t exist in Japan yet so….)

4.) Watch a favorite movie in a different language. The dub might just make you laugh. (I’m going to watch Meet the Robinsons in Japanese sometime soon. But I’ve heard that The Incredibles in Spanish is great.)

5.) Listen to your favorite music. (Josh Groban or Rend Collective usually helps. I’m listening to Rend Collective right now actually.)

6.) Go sit somewhere public and people watch. You can go with a friend. Share a smoothie (or an ice cream) and make up stories about the people you see. Turn said stories into a soap opera.

7.) Dress up or wear a favorite outfit. For some people, dressing up is uncomfortable, but when I know I look good, I feel good. Sometimes even wearing a bright color of lipstick brightens my mood.

8.) Do something childish. I’m a kid at heart, but I get too caught up in “adult-ing” sometimes, and it stresses me out. I’d much rather act like a kid than resort to drinking or smoking. So watch a favorite cartoon (like Sailor Moon), read a picture book, play a game with friends (like Human Knot or Sardines). Make fools of each other. Laugh.

9.) Surprise someone with a meal. Sometimes you have to do something for others to get that uplifting you need. Buy a meal for a stranger. Bake cookies for your friend. Make your kids Jello. Who can be sad when you’re watching people eat Jello?

10.) Vent all your frustration with video games. Maybe this isn’t for everyone, but I love video games. Sometimes it helps to go completely berserk in Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed. Other times, it’s better to keep it old school with Mario Kart or Smash Bros.

11.) Take a hot shower, make yourself a warm cup of tea, curl up in your comfiest PJs, cuddle your unicorn pillow pet (cats work too), pick any book you have, and read it until you fall asleep. Wake up the next day knowing that yesterday is over. Today is a new day, and it doesn’t have to tank.

BONUS: Make a list of 10 things you can do to not feel sad anymore. I think I might have just saved my little imaginary realm from any further destruction.

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