In the wake of horrible news (like mass shootings, natural disasters, or political upheavals), I have a tendency to feel very helpless, hopeless, and angry. While it’s important to feel emotions through instead of pushing them aside, sometimes you have to quit stoking the flames of fear and do something to make yourself feel better. Here are my (relatively free) things to do to feel better.
Make a to-do list. Check off the stuff I’ve already done (“get out of bed” — check!).
Organize my calendar and see what I have to look forward to.
Clean something — the fridge, my laundry, the dishes, the Downloads folder on my computer, or my email inbox (unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe!).
Engage in simple acts of grooming, like trimming my toenails, washing my hair and doing a deep condition, plucking my eyebrows, or putting on a face mask.
Take a full day off social media — posting, reading, engaging, all of it.
Go for a walk. Preferably outside (when it’s not 104 degrees), near nature, and with a bit of sunshine.
Sit on the patio with the dog and a cup of tea and just listen to the birds for a while.
Do something I’ve been putting off, like calling the insurance company or figuring out some retirement fund issue.
Write a list of my accomplishments (including winning a trophy in third grade).
Spend a good 10 minutes petting the dog.
Talk to a stranger, whether it’s in the elevator, out on a walk, in line at the grocery store; just a few minutes engaging with someone outside of my own head.
Call a friend and let them talk about their problems or feelings or successes.
Drink a glass of water.
Cook a meal that I know I do well and that tastes good that I can share with someone (or not).
Listen to music I liked when I was 13 years old.