The world can seem like a very dark place sometimes, and I know that most of us have been feeling the weight of that for a while. That's not to say the world hasn't gone through dark times before, but I think now that we're exposed to fast-flowing news and social media nonstop, it's sometimes hard to see out of it and find some light.
But finding that light and a few little happy things is often vital, especially if you're a highly empathetic person or someone prone to depression and anxiety. So first, remember to take care of yourself. Second, don't feel guilty for doing so. Third, don't let anyone shame you for not wanting to be immersed in the negative stuff all the time. Do what you can to stay informed and help the causes and people you care about, but also realize that you're no good to anyone if doing so is causing your own mental or physical health to suffer.
I've talked about this before, so I won't go too deeply into it, but I just wanted to put that reminder out there. It's one I need to give myself pretty often too. And one of the things I've found helpful for me is to find some little happy things that make me smile. This is one reason why I'm a romance reader and writer. We need to read those happy endings to remind ourselves they're possible. So first on my list is obvious.
1. Read books that make you feel good.
For me that's usually romance and YA. For you, it may be books that make you cry but are cathartic. Or it may be books that engage your mind in a mystery. You do you. But for me, there's often no better way to cheer myself up than to get lost in a great book. If you need a recommendation, I read Christina Lauren's Love and Other Words recently and loved it so hard. It just left a big ol' smile on my face. (If you like my books, I think it has a similar emotional feel to the kind of stories I write, if that helps.)
2. Upbeat music that gets you singing or dancing along
If I've had a rough day or am feeling blue, the quickest way to turn it around for me is to switch on my favorite playlist when I start cooking dinner and sing/dance alone while I cook. It's a great way to shake off the day and transition into relaxed family time. I know music is super personal, so suggesting something that everyone will like is impossible. However, I can tell you that after my family saw The Struts open for the Foo Fighters a couple of weeks ago, we have been OBSESSED. Opening bands rarely capture my attention, but The Struts grabbed mine right from the start. The lead singer is a great showman and reminds me a lot of Freddie Mercury, and the songs are just so catchy and fun to sing. I highly recommend checking out their full playlist but here's a taste. I apologize ahead of time for the earworm. Every one of their songs is an earworm. I think I've been singing "Put Your Money on Me" for a month straight.
3. Spending time with those you love with no news on TV in the background and without checking your phone.
I've talked about how we're doing device-free summer again, and that always gets us playing board games. Sometimes I'm feeling like--ugh, I so don't feel like playing a game right now--but once we start, my competitive side kicks in and before I know it, we're all having fun. We had quite a game of Upwords the other night where hubs trash talked me and then lived to regret it when I beat him badly in the game, lol. We also had a lot of fun last weekend playing ping pong. Those unplugged things sometimes take some effort to start, but they really do feel good once you're doing them.
So those are just a few of mine. Not everyone's little happy things are going to be the same. A little happy thing for me is decorating my planner or writing in my reading journal. They seem like silly things but work for me. You need to find those things that let you take a deep breath and restore some balance. So go ahead, have a little fun, and don't feel bad about it. It doesn't mean you're ignoring the problems in the world. It just means that you're making sure you're not on the airplane putting everyone else's mask on first and then collapsing in the aisle because you forgot you needed to breathe too.