20 things to do when you’re down in the dumps

1. Wash your hair, like they do at the salon.
Or go to a local salon and get your hair washed. I love it when someone else washes my hair! If you don’t want to go to the salon, wash your own hair. Really massage your scalp and hair folicles. Massage therapy, especially on our head, has a great affect on our mood. It gets the blood flowing to our head, relieves pain, and helps us feel relaxed. So treat your head to 15 minutes in the steam, and give it a good rub!

2. Go to your local library and find a book you read as a kid.
Maybe you’ll run into a little kid you can non-creepily recommend it too. If you don’t want to check it out, read it while you’re in the library. Kids books are pretty quick reads, after all. Notice little details about it you never noticed before. Try to remember the first time you read it. I would probably look for The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Where the Wild Things Are. And you can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss.

3. Take a step to make a change.
Something specific bothering you? Take a step to change it, even if it’s just talking to a confidant about what you’re upset about. Taking steps to change something that’s upsetting us, no matter how small, can help us feel like we’ve accomplished something important, and helps us to relieve the stress of the problem.


4. Write a thoughtful letter to a famous person who changed your life.
I’ve been meaning to (I mean I totally did) write a letter to R.L. Stine to let him know how much the Goosebumps series shaped me as a kid. They were my favorite, and I knew being a spooky weirdo was okay if books like this existed! Pull out the pen and paper, and pick someone who created something meaningful to you, as a kid or an adult. Then let it all spill out onto the paper.

5. Get some vitamin D.
It’s time to go say hello to the sunshine! Get outside and lay in the sun, or go for a walk in the park. I think we can all relate to the winter-time blues, so if the sun is hiding away, you can fake it. Make your own beach getaway in your house! Turn up the heat and put on some summer clothes. It’s time for Jimmy Buffet and margaritas! (don’t forget some of those fancy tropical drink umbrellas!) Put on some beachy movies like 50 First Dates, Lilo and Stitch, Jaws, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or Blue Hawaii, and watch them while laying on a towel.

6. Find a kindred spirit.
Think you’re down in the dumps? Chances are someone else is too. Use your sad radar and seek them out. Go out of your way to do something for them to pull them out of their slump. You’d be surprised what a random act of kindness can do for your mood!

7. Go fish.
Fishing for compliments isn’t something we should do all the time, but if we need a little pat on the back, it’s nice to get positive feedback from friends. Post something to social media and ask people what they think your best quality is. Hopefully your friends won’t troll you, but this plan may backfire. Who knows, maybe they’ll make you laugh!

Image from hellokittyjunkie.com

8. Sign up for a pen pal.
Not only will you have a friend from another exciting land, but chances are, your hometown is going to be new and exciting to them too. Go buy some postcards of your local area to send to your pen friend. Maybe snag some of your favorite candy or coasters from your favorite restaurant. Check out my favorite website for finding a pen pal!

9. Sponsor a child.
Mark and I sponsor through Compassion International, but there are so many great charities out there that can help you find a child in need. Charity Navigator has ratings and helpful search filters to help you find your perfect organization. Leave a comment with some of your favorites!

10. Get back to nature.
Spend some time in the woods. Let all 5 of your senses loose in the forest. Nothing rights a downtrodden spirit better than reconnecting with God and the planet. Sit on a stump and meditate. Sniff some tree bark. Poke some plants. Be on the look out for faeries. Maybe don’t eat any mushrooms though…

11. Check out the Darwin awards.
…and be glad you aren’t any of those people.

12. Spring clean, even if it isn’t spring.
Clean out your closet and donate some clothes you don’t wear anymore. Imagine how happy (and stylish!) their new owner will be. Clean out a cabinet or cupboard you haven’t opened in a while. Rearrange your furniture to freshen up your house. Make sure to put on the Happy Working Song as you clean crud up in the kitchen!


13. Watch one of your favorite movies or cartoons from when you were a kid.
Bonus points if you do it with wine, because wine makes everything better. I love getting on YouTube and finding episodes of Rainbow Brite, the Care Bears, Gummi Bears, and David the Gnome when I’m feeling down.

14. Get lost in a good spiritual book.
Sometimes our soul needs some TLC too. I find My Utmost for His Highest an encouragement to me on the daily. Find a book that speaks to you and get reconnected to a higher power.

15. Ask for suggestions for laugh-out-loud comedies from your friends.
Post it on a social network. Watch whatever they choose. Then, pop some popcorn and live-post about the experience!


16. Move it, move it.
Exercise is proven to make us happier, so get off your butt and shake it! Go for a walk while playing Ingress. Take your dog to the dog park. Go geo-caching. Find a local pool and go for a dip. Hike somewhere new. Make a game out of a TV show, and every time you see a certain character, or they say a certain word, do a jumping jack or a squat. Put on a dance song and jump around. Jump up jump up and get down.

17. Call your mom or dad, or a relative you haven’t talked to in a long time.
Tell the person you call all the silly little things you’ve been doing on this list. Maybe they’ll have a suggestion. Don’t forget to tell them you love them!

18. Pull out some art supplies and make a self portrait.
Getting creative is a great way to get happy. Do a quick sketch, drawing, pastel, painting, or just take a selfie and get crazy with your filters. Submit your selfie on French Girls and someone else will turn you into art. Maybe get weird, and make art using shaving cream on a table surface, or face paints. You go, Picasso!

A map of Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

19. Plan a pretend vacation.
Where have you always wanted to travel? Money is no object when you’re playing pretend! Scout out plane tickets, seek travel tips, and search for photos of your vacation location. Look up fun tourist attractions at your fake destination. Imagine what you’d pack if you left tomorrow. Think about what souvenirs you would want to bring home. I do this all the time with Disney World!

20. Write a blog post like this one.
Write down your own tips for things you can do the next time you’re down in the dumps, specific to your tastes. Include feel good movies and books you love, foods you enjoy, people who you would call to cheer you up, or songs you’d listen to. Then share your ideas with the world, and spread the happiness!

9 thoughts on “20 things to do when you’re down in the dumps”

  1. This is a great list! I’ve been meaning to read the book from #14 as I’ve heard great things.
    Also, reading a childhood favorite book is such a great idea too!

  2. I needed this. <3 I was feeling so good until I realized how in debt we are. ;.; Boo, instant depressor. My father-in-law has had some medical emergencies lately, and the whole house has been in disarray, so now that he's doing better, Jen and I have been focusing on feeling better. I actually wrote a goal list on my own blog last night, of what I am doing to make a change in my life. ♥ Posts like these are so inspirational, and positive, and downright cute. ♥ I'll be sure to share this with my friends!

  3. Love this post! I was down in the dumps yesterday and just reading this post cheered me up! A favourite of mine to do when I’m blue is buy a colouring book go to town colouring in. You can go for a kids one for nostalgic fun or there are some great grown up colouring books too…. It’s hard to stay sad when you have created a crayon masterpiece! x

  4. Awesome advice! In addition to #1, I would recommend doing a DIY spa day. Add some baking soda or Epsom salts to your bath, apply a homemade face mask and soak until the funk is gone.

  5. Pingback: Dear R.L. Stine: Thank you. | Darling Stewie

  6. Great choices! I really like the sponsoring a child one, because it’s super selfless and a great thing to do anyway, but on a different note the taking a trip to the hairdressers one is something I’ve never considered before. Everyone feels better for a good scrub!

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