For many people, the holiday season isn't always happy. It could be due to dealing with the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one. At times it's due to a sense of regret or melancholy reflection. When the world feels "closed" and we spend more time at home, it can amplify these feelings and thoughts--even if they're not objectively true. I've been there. If you're there now, sending you love. You're NOT alone.

But there's no denying if you're depressed, lonely, or just feeling generally melancholy during a time of year that's meant to be extra merry, it can make one extra sad. And 2020 has been extra hard.

If you can relate to this, please consider reaching out to those you love or consider speaking to a therapist. It can make a huge difference.

In the meantime, I've found some things...simple things...that can give your spirit a boost. When we're sad we forget to take care of ourselves. We may not feel we have the energy to engage in some of the daily activities that can truly help.

A few weeks ago, a friend (thanks Martin) posted some suggestions that helped me. It also made me think of others that I know have been a game-changer when I've been down in the past. And honestly, it can make taking action easier when it's plainly written down for us--at least for me it is. And you'll find some of these are so very basic. But I think you'll find some of the most basic things can be truly therapeutic:

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Take A Shower. Yes, baths are wonderful, too. At the same time, taking a shower can be invigorating. It gets you moving and reminds you that you're alive. Take a LONG shower. Let the water run over you and imagine it cleansing your spirit, too. If you need to sit on the floor of the tub or shower, that's fine. Just let it wash over you for awhile.


Moisturize Everything. Yes, even if you're a guy. Whatever lotion you like best. Whatever scent makes you feel better. I remember my Mom used to use the old-school Baby Magic on me when I was a toddler. That smell is always comforting. Maybe you want something that smells like a fancy forest or a field of flowers. Whatever. Take your time and make sure you kindly cover every part of your body down to your toes.

Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures

Put On CLEAN, Comfortable Clothes. I know when we're sad, it's easy just to roll into whatever we had on yesterday that's dutifully waiting for us on the bedroom floor. Make sure the clothes are fresh and preferably not torn to shreds. It can change your mindset. Just this alone can make a big difference.


That Includes Clean Underwear That You Really Like. Much like the way we worry less about cleaning the rooms of our house that people don't see, we often don't consider the state of our undergarments, outside of "special occasions." But whether or not someone else sees them, WE know what's underneath our clothes and it has an effect on the way we feel.

Maybe your favorite pair are racy, black, and lacy. Maybe you love a pair of silly boxers you received that have your favorite superhero on them. WHATEVER. Make sure they're clean, put them on, and smile like a fool at yourself in the mirror.

Pink cotton panties with white lace isolated over white

Go In The Kitchen And Drink A Glass Of Cold Water. With Ice. And give yourself bonus points for adding lemon, orange, strawberries, or mint. It'll give you an extra boost.


Clean Something. Anything. DON'T try to tackle a huge project when you're sad. Not finishing it may make you feel worse. Pick a drawer. Wash one load of laundry. Focus mindfully on making your bathroom sink sparkle. That little goal accomplished will give ya a lift. It works like magic, I promise.

Modern kitchen with black sink and fronts

Put On Some Music At A Higher Level Than Normal. It doesn't have to be blaring, but make it loud enough so it gives you a different sense of energy in the room. It can be upbeat and dance-inspiring. Or sometimes, classical music of a more cheerful variety is exactly what you need to change your mood. If you know the words, sing. If you wanna dance, dance. Dance even if you don't wanna. Even if you're "not good at it." Often mood follows action.


Cook Something. Like actually. Don't just grab the chips or cookies. Prepare something. It doesn't have to be uber-complicated or gourmet. It could be as simple as scrambled eggs and toast. Or spaghetti.

Only requirement? Add a little something of your own. A different spice. Chop up and add some veggies. Spread a different flavor of jam on your toast--something nice. You'll feel like you accomplished something and just the act of doing this and eating it mindfully is nourishing for both body and mind.

Cook Something

Create Something. Again, you don't have to attempt the novel of the year. Simply write a poem or short story. Sketch an abstract portrait of your cat. Color in a coloring book. Knit. Play with clay and sculpt something that makes your chuckle. Again, don't worry about it being "good." The act of creating itself is the "good" here.

Artist Working on Canvas on Floor of Studio

Go Outside. I can't overestimate how much nature does truly nurture the human heart. If you can, take a leisurely walk. Sit on the grass. Let the sunshine or rain drops shine or fall upon you. Pull a few weeds. Feel the dirt. Smell the earth. If you can't go outside than get some sweet-smelling herbs at the store and sniff deeply.

Woman Listening to Music in Grass

Reach Out To Someone. I know we rarely use our "phones" as phones these days, but the sound of a human voice can be therapeutic. (Don't call people who are toxic and tend to leave you feeling worse than you did before.) There are chat services available, too. Say hello to a stranger. (If they don't respond, just know they may be struggling, too. You saying hello may have been therapy for them, even if they don't show it.)

If you don't feel up to that, send a message or write a letter to someone. The point is, have some kind of social interaction with someone. Humans need each other.

Young woman with dog at home phone call
Sergii Gnatiuk

Cuddle Your Pets. If you have them. If not, consider adopting one. Few things have brought me more pure happiness than companion animal friends. Take photos of them. Talk to them--about whatever. They're good listeners. :)

Young woman is lying and sleeping with poodle dog in bed.

If you are in a difficult place right now, again, please know you're not alone. This list may seem almost silly it's so basic. But doing these things can truly boost your spirits. Sending love and hugs to you this season. Please take care of your dear self.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:


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