Cheering Myself Up

How I cheer myself up these days. Because I needed to.

Cheering Myself Up
How I feel at the moment.

November 2023 has been a brutal mixed bag.

I learned the day after Thanksgiving that I had lost two friends under wildly different circumstances.

That news, on top of the health setbacks - let's just say I'm happy to see this November go.

In an effort to cheer myself up, I went out this morning (6am) to the Bath and Body Works Candle Day sale.

There's something perversely enjoyable about shopping at odd hours - particularly when the store is (shockingly) empty and the sales associates are fresh, fully caffeinated, and relaxed.

Do I need candles? No.

Did I enjoy sniffing the candles and talking to the sales associates who had to be up well before 5am so they could open the store at that ungodly hour? Yes.

Am I appreciating the Panera breakfast sandwich and coffee that I picked up after my early morning adventure? Also, yes.

Feels like a better start to a new month already.

Happy December 1 everyone!

I'm fortunate in that I have a wide range of options for cheering myself up when I get into a blue funk. I'm grateful that I'm healthy enough to leave the house and do things other than go to medical facilities.

Beyond taking advantage of my vampiric European body clock - this is my current list of things I do to cheer myself up when I get motivated to drag myself out of my funk.

Getting out of the house activities - from most to least strenuous

  • Hiking / Outdoor Fun - This past year has included hiking with my good friend Heather. As I've gotten healthier, I also started to re-learn how to ride a bike. There is a bike and barge trip down the Rhine I'd like to take once I get clearance to leave the country. Passport has been renewed.
  • Golf - My partner is an avid golfer and this is one of those activities that helps us strengthen our relationship. I play to hang with friends. I don't keep score. Maybe one day I'll get serious and do some work to improve my game. Or not.
  • Museum Meandering - I enjoy meandering through museums, galleries, and craft shows in the area. I've been craving visual stimulation outside of screens. Now that I've been painting for a couple of years, I've developed a greater appreciation of the skill involved and how an artist might have approached their work. Plus - it counts as walking.
  • International Grocery Shopping - Living in the DC area, I have access to amazing international grocery stores. One of my favorite things to do is to grab an ingredient I have never seen before and figure out what to do with it. My oncologist isn't entirely crazy about this particular hobby since I find myself throwing strange full-body allergies these days, but whatever...
  • Checking Out Restaurants - Again an advantage of living near DC, an amazing array of cuisines from all over the world. This has the added advantage of spending time with friends. Only downside is that my primary care doctor would rather have me following the DASH diet. I'm getting there. Slowly.
  • Plein Air Painting - A new activity in 2023. I had a chance to do a retreat with my friends Julie and Becca last summer and had an absolute blast. I also did my first Plein Air event last fall. Admittedly, I was too ashamed of what I produced to turn it in for judgment, but the fact that I did a thing and tried made me happy.

Indoor activities - from most to least strenuous

  • Exercising - Exercise for me these days is a much less strenuous activity than it was pre-COVID. My only real "fitness goals" are to be able to get out of bed by myself and to pick myself up off the floor. That said, when I'm physically feeling good and mentally feeling lousy, I drag myself onto the yoga mat or onto the stationary bike and do "something." Most days, once I get started, I'm OK. It's the getting started. I reserve the right to stop after 15 minutes if I'm just not feeling it.
  • Cooking - I keep forgetting how much I enjoy cooking and meal planning. The trick for me here is to keep everything simple. As I get more energetic, I start looking at new recipes and "project cooking." Barring special occasions - I leave the baking to my partner. Baking requires too much discipline.
  • Doing art - Admittedly, this is a high-effort activity for me since it is so new. When I'm in a VERY blue funk, this is not the most appropriate thing for me to do since I'm inclined to beat myself up if I'm in the wrong headspace. That said, playing with color and getting messy with various mediums is therapeutic - no matter what shows up.
  • Crafting crochet hats - I've been crocheting for over 10 years at this point, so this activity requires little thought. The hats go to shelters and senior centers through my Mom's crochet group. They also occasionally raise funds for a shawl ministry she participates in.

Admittedly, sometimes I need to give myself credit for just trying.

I may not necessarily feel better after doing the thing, but at least I did it.

And that's something.