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.

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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!

cinamaroll
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!

carebears

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!

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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!

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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!

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The art of fangirling: What it means to be a true geek

This article is probably some kind of expansion on my homegirl Emily’s article “A definition of geek.”


“What is means to be a true geek? Stewie, dear God, please tell me you aren’t here to tell us how and why to geek. Could you be anymore presumptuous?”

Before your hackles get raised too high, and you knock down my door shouting “KILL THE BEAST” with pitchforks in hand, read this post. I’m not the entitled geek-shamer that the title may lead you to believe.

Geek doesn’t start in grade school for everyone, but we can see how the subculture of a typical high school has made the fangirl to feel ashamed of what they are. The noogies and wedgies weren’t reserved for the jocks or cheerleaders, oh no – they were given to the “geeks” – the nerds, the otaku, the academics, the Sci-Fi club, the theatre kids. And yet geeks today still treat other geeks of certain fandoms, or of no particular fandoms, with disrespect or even disdain.

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At Setsucon this weekend, I met so many genuine people. So many people who were in an environment that made them feel comfortable enough to be their true selves. Yes, some of them may have been considered a little bit socially awkward, obnoxious, or child-like. But the truth of it was, what some may take as being “socially awkward” was really just a fearless attempt to try to meet strangers who shared the same passions in a short 2-day span. What might be mistaken by some as being “obnoxious” was really just a boistrous excitement for a fandom. That their “child-like” attitude was them expressing themselves in a way that was unhindered by doubt. None of them held back in expressing what they loved, and why. They were being true to their geek selves. And it was glorious, and beautiful. But… it’s not always easy, and not all fandoms are necessarily created geek-qual.

geekchartbig
This chart, while hilarious, probably makes certain furry people feel like crap.

Yes, sometimes geeks shame other geeks. In the proverbial high school of geeks, comic book fans are giving LARPers swirlies, and Trekkies are giving Furries slushie facials. How can they call themselves geeks, when they know the stereotypes, and the way that the strange subculture of high school has made it hard for people who love something to feel comfortable expressing that love?

furries
Totally fluffy and loveable. Via aceofgeeks.blogspot.com

To be a fangirl, or fanboy, is to embrace something, ANYTHING, without fear of being shamed for it. And that goes both ways, for the taboo, and not so taboo. Maybe “furry fandom” is something that’s hard for people to understand, but it’s just as legitimate as any other fandom. Hell, you can fangirl about normal things too! Coffee, the stock market, football, Bieber, celebrity gossip, fashion, or nail polish. Things that weren’t always wedgie-worthy, YES, you can geek out about them. As Emily puts it in “A definition of geek“, a geek can geek out over anything they want to geek about. When you finally coming to grips with what you truly love and who you truly are, then you too can fangirl.

pizza

You can definitely be a pizza geek.

People can have things that they like, but the fangirl comes out when you’re not afraid to be in a giant roomful of people and squeal excitedly about whatever it is that you love. It’s going to a convention with people who are being true to themselves, and being your true self right along with them. It’s that child-like enthusiasm of Christmas morning coming out all over again. It’s singing songs loudly and hoping others join in, without being ashamed. It’s dancing because you’re so excited that you don’t know how to express it other than to wiggle and jiggle your booty. It’s making a high pitched “Eeeee” noise like a “Woo girl” because you’re just so thrilled about something that you might explode if you don’t express it somehow.

Excited-Kids-Christmas-06

I guess a little anecdote is in order. I have a younger sister, named Natalie, or Noot Spoot. She’s 27, but she’ll always be 5 to me. And Natalie has always been a fangirl. She loves Disney, heart and soul. She unashamedly loved it as a child, she loved it through high school, and she continues to love it to this day. I was more jaded. I couldn’t fully embrace my love of Disney until I was an adult, even though I adored Disney as a kid and still loved it. When I was in high school, I felt like Disney was, well, for kids… and couldn’t really bring myself to say, “Yes, I’m not a little kid, but I freaking biddidy bobbidy love Disney.” Seeing my adult sister continue to express her unashamed love of Disney is what inspired me to finally come out of the “fangirl closet” and embrace something I always felt too silly or ashamed to really embrace.

disney-princesses

When I was finally able to say that I was going to love what I wanted to love, no matter what society might think about it – including Disney, which I had my own personal misconceptions about – that was when my true self was born. I began to surround myself with people who wouldn’t shame me for it, and who would encourage any and all geeks to geek about whatever it was they wanted to geek about – be it little kids’ cartoons, costumes, coffee or Christmas. You can geek out about anything if you aren’t afraid to reveal your love for it loudly, and without being afraid of getting a slushie to the face.

It’s very possible that I’ve made it sound like to be a true geek or fangirl, you must be EXCITED about something. That, I think is true, but perhaps you express it in a different way. I’m ENFP after all, and I tend to throw glitter at everyone and everything! I get excited, and sometimes I need to be calmed down a little bit. Some of you out there are not boisterous, loud, excitable types – and yes – you still fangirl. So to introverts and less squealy types, I leave you with this: As long as you express your love of whatever you love however you want to express it, without being afraid, then yes – you geeked it good.

The true geek of today is now the one who is unashamed of their love of whatever it is that they love, and they don’t shame others for their loves either. They scream, dance, squeal, and get real giddy over stuff. They accept the furries and the Beliebers. They are not going to let you dip their head in the toilet anymore, oh no – they are geek, hear them roar.

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