As a college student, I feel like everyone I come in contact with has some sort of mental illness, whether it's depression, anxiety, ODC, bipolar disorder, etc. As someone who personally struggles with depression, these are some of the things I sat down and thought of that could help someone who isn't having the best day.
1. Play with an animal
I know that not everyone has an animal, but I know for a fact that emotional support dogs are very popular on campus. If you don't have a dog, someone in your contacts list on your phone does. If that doesn't work out, I know that my local animal shelter has a day where you can "rent-a-dog" for a couple hours. Even getting a few hours with a dog can make your day, and theirs, brighter.
2. Vent to someone
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by the number of people who don't talk about their issues. Keeping things bottled up isn't going to help you, it's only going to hurt you. You're going to think you're the only one with these emotions which will lead to isolation. If you are hurting that much, I promise someone is going to listen.
I won't tell her this to her face, but I genuinely love calling my mom. Once you move out of the house, you start to cherish the conversations you have with your parents more. Calling my mom can put me in a good mood because sometimes I just want my mom. It's our instinct as their children to want our parents. You can even combine my previous point with this one and just vent to your mom about what's happening in your life. No one is going to want to listen to you more than your mom.
4. Go to Barnes & Noble
I don't know about you but I love books. I wish I wasn't in college so I had more time to read books, because it genuinely brings me joy. But just going to Barnes & Noble makes me happy because it's like "my place." This is a space where I can just grab a book, grab a coffee, and start reading. It's a way for me to escape, and there are an endless amount of books you can choose from! You can get lost in an adventure book, or you can take notes as you're reading a self-help book (aka my favorite). Don't knock it till you try it.
As someone with depression, I know this is the very last thing you want to do when you're not having the best day. All you want to do is lay in bed, watch Netflix and drown yourself in your misery. But if you've ever worked out in your entire life then you know that post-workout feeling is the best. You feel good, you look good, you feel like you can conquer the world.
6. Cook a meal
I know that not everyone knows how to cook. When you're in college you're always surprised by how many people only know how to cook mac n cheese and ramen. For me, I love cooking. I meal prep as often as I can and it makes me so happy. I'll go in my kitchen and play some music on my phone and just sing and dance while I'm cooking. For me, cooking is so soothing, it's almost like meditation to me. And on the bright side, you'll have food to eat once you're done!
7. Go on a drive and blast some music
My freshman year of college was one of the best thanks to this girl named Caroline. She lived in the dorm hall right next to me and whenever we were feeling depressed, we would hit each other up, get in a car and just drive down the high way. One time we almost drove into another state because we just got so lost in the conversation and the music! We would vent to each other about why we were upset and then once we were tired of talking we would blast music and sing along at the top of our lungs. It's such a simple strategy but it's so therapeutic. Even now, I'll sometimes go for a drive by myself and I'll blast some music and sing along. Sometimes I'll even cry when I'm singing, but I feel so good afterward.
8. Get off social media
I know in this day and age this is probably the hardest thing someone can do. I personally went through a 21 day cleanse from Instagram and Facebook and it had to have been the best thing I've ever done. When we're casually browsing on social media we tend to compare ourselves to other people. Once we start comparing, we begin to hate ourselves and who we are. Taking a break from the judgment for a while is so enriching and self-gratifying. It might be hard at first but just remind yourself that you're putting your mental health first.
I love writing. It's the only thing that makes me feel adequate enough and gives me purpose. I first started writing in a journal, and then a few of my friends thought I should start a blog. That eventually took off and I loved it. I'm not saying you have to create your own blog, but writing things out is so therapeutic. It's hard for me to get what I'm trying to say out in the air, so writing helps me get my thoughts out and really get to know myself.
10. Grab a drink with someone
I'm not promoting alcoholism what so ever, but for me just grabbing a drink with someone is so relaxing. Just go to a restaurant with someone, buy a margarita and just talk. You'll be surprised at what can come out over some drinks.
11. Take a hot bath
This just spells relaxation all over it. Dim the lights, maybe light some candles, and throw some bubbles or a bath bomb in there and let the bath do it's thing.
12. Go to a new restaurant
If you're like me, food is your love language. I personally L O V E trying new restaurants. Getting out of your normal routine of going to the same places to eat might put you in a boring rut. Get out of that cycle and try a new place with some friends! Trust me, it sounds boring but it's actually a lot of fun.
When I have an anxiety attack, sometimes all I want to do is vigorously clean. For some reason it's like my meditation, I can't explain it. Sometimes you can be put in a bad mood because you're environment is dirty. Once you clean your room or the kitchen you'll feel so accomplished, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
14. Put on some makeup
I love my giant makeup kit. I have hundreds and hundreds of dollars of makeup. But I didn't buy that make up because it was pretty. I bought it because when I put it on, I feel unstoppable. There's just something that makeup does to a woman's confidence. I can wake up feeling like a completely ugly and disgusting blob, but once I finish putting on my full face of makeup, 30 minutes later I feel like Beyonce.
15. Go shopping
Getting a new item can make any woman feel like the hottest woman on the planet. You may have just blown 30 bucks, but you just gained priceless confidence. Even if you don't want to go shopping at the mall, I personally love grocery shopping. All of my friends think I'm so weird, but there's just something about the organization of grocery shopping, and the amount of products on the shelves that I love. It's strange, but grocery shopping is another form of meditation for me. Try it out!
16. Take a selfie
The right lighting and the right filter can make any woman confident in who she is. You can feel utterly disgusting, but maybe just try snapping a picture of yourself and see how beautiful you actually are.
17. Build your dream board on Pinterest
If you're a girl then you love Pinterest. Period. I personally love scrolling through it for cool DIY's, recipes, and wedding ideas. Try building a new board of inspiring quotes, graduation cap decorating ideas, tattoos, or new healthy recipes. It'll keep you busy and away from those negative thoughts.
18. Binge watch your favorite shows with your favorite snacks
The title of this one speaks for itself. If you're like me, sometimes when you're depressed you don't want to do anything. All you want to do is lay in bed. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though. Sometimes just laying there can be therapeutic. But while you're at it, grab your favorite snacks and have a relaxing day in bed without any responsibilities.
19. Get your nails done
I always feel like the hottest girl on campus when I finish getting a manicure. It's something about having nice polished nails that does something for a girls confidence. If your nails are on point then your attitude might reflect that and make you feel ten times better about yourself.
20. Choose to be happy
As someone with depression, I know this is hard. Depression is consuming and it's not easy to just "choose to be happy." I get that. What I'm trying to say is to make the conscious effort to be happy. Look for the happiness in the littlest things. Even when you're having the worst day possible, just try to have the best attitude and outlook you can possibly have, because at the end of the day, you're not alone.