20 Ways To Boost Your Mood When You're Depressed

20 Ways To Boost Your Mood When You're Depressed

Mood boosting activities that are sure to put a smile on your face.
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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.

3. Call your mom

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.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Asked For Help On A Barnes & Noble Bathroom Stall

5. Workout

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.

9. Write

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.

13. Clean

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.

Cover Image Credit: emicuratolo / Flickr

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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I'll Always Be An Organ Donor

I mean, outside of the cute little heart I get to have on my state ID.

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Check yes, nod at the clerk, give them a big thumbs up... It's really not hard to sign up as an organ donor. For me, it looks less than five seconds when buying a state ID to tell my clerk that yes, I did want to donate my organs to anyone in need after I died.

Organ donors like myself are always in high demand, especially because only 3 in 1,000 people die in ways that allow for an organ transplant. That wouldn't be too bad if the vast majority of people were organ donors, but only 54% of Americans are signed up to be donors.

Unsplash- Thoracic cavity

But why aren't people donors?

One word: religion.

While most all major religions are not in opposition of organ donation, studies have found that people will cite their religious beliefs are why they're opposed to donating their organs. Many people believe that they may not have access to the afterlife if their bodies aren't fully intact, but I have a problem with this logic.

"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10.

"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Saheeh Al-Bukarhi.

Most large religions have this reoccurring theme of altruism, and that's what organ donation is all about: sharing something you have with someone less fortunate. Giving them a body part that I'll no longer be using won't harm me, it will help them, and it will hopefully look good if there's a Big Guy Upstairs.

Unsplash- heart made from neon lights

So go watch an episode of "The Bachelor." In those 60 minutes, 6 people have been added to the organ transplant list.

Go spend a relaxing weekend at the beach. In those two days, 40 people died waiting for an organ transplant.

Go to the DMV. Check that box. Save a life. Save eight lives, even. Be that person's shot at a second life.

It's not like anything is stopping you.

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