Put yourself first
Before you fill in your weekly calendar with errands, appointments and obligations, pencil in at least one night (or morning or afternoon) for yourself. Schedule a surefire, no-fail source of enjoyment; something guaranteed to buoy you up. See a film, try a new restaurant or visit a museum. Go antiquing or scout thrift shops for bargains. Picnic at a lake or bike along beach. You know, go on a date – with you.
Spend time with friends
And not because they bake the best double fudge brownies or they fuel the “I hate my ex” fire. That only leads to unwanted pounds and unproductive anger. No, hang out with people who make you laugh, who lift your spirits. Confide in someone you respect and whose wisdom you trust.
Lose yourself by doing something you love. Do you zone out on zither music or feel transported by Tosca? Love playing bridge or waltzing? Any activity that’s pleasurable to you – hiking, gardening, knitting, baking, sculpting, skiing – affords you the opportunity to experience flow, that state of concentrated enjoyment that causes you to lose track of time and allows your troubles to float out of awareness.
Do something different
It doesn’t have to be something as scary as sky-diving or as overwhelming as going back to college for an MBA. But maybe you could take an Indian cuisine cooking class or a day trip to someplace you’ve never been. Even if it’s just a different route to work or grocery shopping at midnight, varying your routine and your landscape helps you avoid falling into a rut.
Be the grown-up
Have all the temper tantrums you want, write those scathing emails, rant and rave. You’re only human. Just make sure no one can hear you and trash the emails when you’re done. Fight the urge to get even. Focus on healing and moving on with your life.
Write love letters
To yourself. Seriously. It sounds silly but who’s going to see them but you? Whether you keep a journal, index cards or a spreadsheet, start cataloging all your admirable traits and good qualities. Remember to record compliments and thoughtful gestures from others. It’s easy to feel worthless when you’re depressed. Reading your love letters will remind you just how valuable you are.
Raise your hand
Volunteer to lead a class trip or read to residents at a nursing home. Join a Community Supported Agriculture farm and plant radishes or harvest squash. Donate a couple hours of your time to help out at a food pantry. Giving others a hand helps you to both contribute to your community and count your own blessings.
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