“Maybe it’s not about having a beautiful day, but about finding beautiful moments. Maybe a whole day is just too much to ask. I could choose to believe that in every day, in all things, no matter how dark and ugly, there are shards of beauty if I look for them,” wrote Anna White.
We all experience days that are just…terrible. Sometimes we can turn them around. Sometimes we can’t. Fighting the ugliness, however, almost always helps.
Here are 17 ways to find – or create – a beautiful moment during a rough time:
1. Throw yourself a solo dance party. Choose a song you loved when you were fourteen years old. Scientifically, that’s the age at which music has been shown to touch us the most deeply.
2. Snuggle your pet. They have the power to restore us in a way that most people just don’t.
3. Go for a quick walk around the block – or a longer hike if you have the time. Being outside is fantastic for our physical and mental wellbeing, and most of us don’t do it nearly enough.
4. Take a nap (naked, if possible!). It’s like hitting the restart button on a crappy day.
5. Give yourself a small victory. Schedule an appointment you’ve been putting off or put away your laundry. Allow yourself to revel in this little win – and any others that come along.
6. Snack on a combination of fruit and protein. Think apples with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with berries and granola. Junk food may be tempting, but it will only drag you down.
7. Give yourself permission to take a thirty minute break from life. Put on pajamas and watch a funny TV show with your favorite snack. Laugh harder than you should. As L.F. Young wrote, “When you are having a really crappy day, and life seems to be kicking your ass, try to force your self to laugh. If you can achieve a smile and a laugh, you can chase any demons away.”
8. Make your bed and pick up a little bit of clutter. Messy environments can stress us out more than we realize.
9. Dress yourself up. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t leaving the house. Put on something that makes you feel good. It will change your self-image and brighten your mood instantaneously.
10. Do something kind for another person. Volunteering makes us feel awesome. Even just holding the door for somebody can brighten their day.
11. Drink some water. Dehydration often sneaks up on us, and its effect on our mood can be severe.
12. Do something creative. Paint, craft, bake, decorate, write – whatever awakens that part of your brain. Most of us don’t use it as often as we should.
13. List everything you’ve done today. Did you brush your teeth? Feed your dogs? Drive to work? No task is too small for this list. Then, look at all you’ve accomplished already. You may find you’ve been selling yourself short.
14. Do a sun salutation. Repeat until your body feels awakened, relaxed, and centered. Your mind will follow.
15. Take a shower. Use a citrus scented soap to invigorate you and boost your body’s production of serotonin. Water has an amazing capacity to reenergize the body and mind.
16. Call your mom, your best friend, or a loved one you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Ask how they’re doing. Take a moment to connect.
17. Know that nothing is wrong with you. We all have days when we just don’t feel right with ourselves and the world. As Bill Watterson wrote, “You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help.” Tomorrow will be better.