This week, I went around campus asking various people one simple question: “what do you do when you’re feeling down?”
The goal when I first began this mission was to collect a strong number of ideas for coping strategies, to help those in need. However, after seeing how long it took most people to think about their answers, I realized that many of us don’t really develop methods for pulling ourselves out of states of despair.
1. “I bake a cake, or some sort of sweet treat. Focusing on that helps distract me, plus it gives me the comfort food I need.” – Layla F.
2. “I do something that I enjoy that isn’t overwhelming. I’ll watch my favorite movie or TV show, get a pizza, and just hang out by myself.” –Hailey C.
3. “A lot of times I will let myself cry for a little bit, then tell myself ‘that’s enough.’ I will take a nap or just be by myself. The best thing when I’m feeling down is being near my mom.” – Rese Y.
4. “I usually start painting. I like to match my emotions to colors and paint how I’m feeling. It turns my negative feelings into a work of art.” – Emily B.
5. “I always do what makes me most comfortable, like watching anime or movies or playing a game. Reading a book helps because it distracts me and sends me away to another world.” – Sam P.
6. “I take my dog to the dog park. It gets both of us outside, and it makes me smile seeing him run around with the other puppers.” – Trevor S.
7. “I listen to sad music and embrace the feeling. We are only sad sometimes and you have to appreciate the emotion, that way when you feel happy you can look at how far you’ve come.” – Jared O.
8. I make myself some tea, put on comfy clothes, and write it out. I think part of the process of cheering yourself up is to address your feelings first.” – Ana N.
9. “I smoke a cig, sometimes two.” – Sierra W.
10. “I go for a run. It’s hard to worry about feeling sad when you can’t even catch your breath.” – Adam S.
11. “I turn on the shower and lock myself in the bathroom. The sound of water is calming, especially when you don’t live near a waterfall.” – Lexi C.
12. “It makes me smile when I play with my cat because seeing how stupid he is makes me feel smarter.” –Kloey C.
13. “I go for a drive and blast the music until I drown out my own thoughts.” – Evan P.
14. “I put on my favorite song and go out in nature. Keeping myself cooped up indoors is usually half my problem.” – Jakob D.
15. I cry… a lot... and then gather my thoughts, take a bath, and relax. I usually call my mom or listen to music and get something to eat and by then I’m okay.” – Kat F.
If we were to identify the activities that cheer us up when we’re feeling down, it would be much easier to recover from the negative emotions we face in our daily lives. Especially during this stressful month of December, it is important to practice mindfulness and have a “self-care plan” ready and waiting for when you need it. Hopefully these responses give you hopeful options for times of crisis, and remind you that there is always a way to make yourself feel better, even in your darkest hour.