Sometimes, things just don’t seem to go your way. If anyone realized that lately, it’s me. I recently had a move, which would be hard enough in and of itself, but I was escaping a tough family situation, and am now living with someone I hardly know. Sounds fun, right? Maybe you’re not in the same situation but have been feeling really down lately. I’m just starting to learn, barely, what can get me going again.

For those of you in a similar situation, here are what has helped me get me back on my feet. Some of these things are going to seem counterintuitive, or even contradictory, but the thing is, different things work for different people, so I’m going to throw them all out there.

Music- happy, or sad

One night I was being all moody until my friend started playing Rainbow Bunchie. If you haven’t heard it, it’s the most cheerfully stupid song ever, accompanied by a bouncing rainbow... thing. For some reason it made me crack a grin and I had an instant mood whiplash, but the good kind.

But then again, sometimes, especially if you feel like you need your feelings to be validated, it’s helpful to listen to sad/angry/deep/dramatic music. Sometimes I feel too poopy to rock out to my favorite uplifting songs and I go temporarily emo (which I personally find is really fun, and a side of me I like to explore on occasion).  You might have to try a few different songs before finding out that fits your current mood.

Talk with your friends

Maybe you have a friend who you can tell EVERYTHING to, and who’ll give you awesome advice. That’s a really good thing, and I have a friend like this. But even if you’re friends are the type who would rather tickle attack you or play video games the entire time, just go with it. Even hanging out, not talking about anything important- or even not talking much at all- can really help. But if someone can actually help yousort out your problems, all the better.

Ask someone who is wiser than you

Speaking of advice, here’s a thought: especially if you’re young, your friends may very well not know what the heck they’re talking about. So as cliché as it may seem, going to someone older or more experienced can make a lot of difference. I’m not saying your friends don’t have good ideas- they might have great ones!- but it’s also good to check in with someone who’s had more life experience, like a parent/guardian, older relative or even a counselor, if you feel so inclined (they can be good because you don’t know them personally and they have confidentiality agreements). Sometimes even just having someone to listen to you, who doesn’t get ruffled by whatever mood you might be in (I always cry when things get really personal) can be really, really great.

Take your mind off it

Instead of lying in bed all day glaring at the ceiling, try getting up and doing something. Rock out to your favorite play list while you clean the house, or take a walk, or get some of your friends together and have a pizza party. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you stay safe and get your mind off things. If you can get something productive done somehow, like chores or a workout, you’ll feel even better. Which reminds me...

Seriously, try working out

The endorphins released from working out can improve your mood by a whole heap. And this isn’t just some science-y thing, I’ve felt this myself. If you aren’t used to working out, start out slow and gradually build up your exercise tolerance. You’ll be healthier and happier!

Smile. Just try it!

And if all of this doesn’t work, just remember: you WILL feel better sooner or later. Maybe it won’t be today, or maybe it won’t be this week- heck, life is hard and sometimes it really hurts!- but you’ll see the sunshine one day, and it may be sooner than you think, or at a time or place you don’t expect. I really like the song “Smile” by Vitamin C (yeah, I like old geeky music, lol). I was upset this morning and I have to admit, it’s hard NOT to cheer up at least a little when you hear a song telling you that yes, life is tough, but smile, okay?! And the best part is, if you DO smile, your body will be a little happier just from that simple act. So smile, even if it feels stupid. You might be surprised. Because life really is, in the end, one confusing but wonderful surprise after another. So try to enjoy the ride. I will.

-Barista Nicole-

Image: Steven Zwerink