I’m not sure if it’s a case of the pre-summer blues or end-of-semester-blahs, but I’ve personally needed some pick-me-ups for the past couple of weeks. Of course, we all know that getting enough exercise, sleep, and eating properly can improve our overall mood and stamina, but sometimes we all need some quick-fix feel goods, so here are a few tricks that help perk me up when the coffee just isn’t cutting it, in hopes that you may find temporary salvation from your grumpiness as well!
Save all your veggie scraps to make broth
Admittedly, I’m the kind of person who cooks and bakes to unwind, and I find a lot of joy in the craft. As a broke student, I also try to get the most out of my groceries and try very hard not to be wasteful. One great trick my last roommate showed me was something so rewarding and simple that I’m kind of embarrassed that I never thought to do it before.
I simply save all my veggie scraps (onion peels, stems, stumps) and put them in a container in the freezer. Then, when I’m ready to make broth, put the scraps in a crock pot, fill it with water, sprinkle some salt on top, and let it brew. After a few hours, I strain the broth into a tupperware container. And voila! No more spending $4 for a litre of broth.
Taking a few minutes to stretch everyday has personally helped me out tremendously. We all carry stress in our bodies, and stretching is a wonderful way to release tension. It’s great how ten minutes of high school gym class stretches (or yoga stretches) can set you right for the rest of the day.
Take time to get ready before leaving for the day
As nice as it is to have that extra few minutes to sleep in, it’s also a horrible feeling having to run to the bus stop in the morning, or even worse, up seven flights to your classroom (VIU knows I’m not exaggerating). On the same note, preparing for the day the night before is something that I am just starting to take my mom’s advice on. Choosing my outfit for the day is a task that I probably shouldn’t leave to my half-asleep, delirious self anyway. Not that I think what you’re wearing should ever be of paramount importance in your life, but I’ve also recently had someone ask me if it’s laundry day. Sometimes it feels good to wear real pants.
Make a list of reasons why you’re proud of yourself
Sometimes, you just have to write it out. Although I’ve been a therapeutic writer since I discovered paper couldn’t argue with me, making a list of reasons why you’re proud of yourself is something everyone should do sometimes. On the same note, I also like to make a list of everything that is currently okay in my life. There’s nothing quite like creating a comprehensive list as a way to put things in perspective.
Get lost on purpose and ask a stranger for directions
Getting lost isn’t particularly hard for me, as I have a horrid sense of direction. However, I have a theory that asking a stranger for directions is a brilliant way to soothe mild depression. This works best in cities, or on sky trains or subways, where there are a million people and a billion stops and ways to get lost. From my experiences, perfect strangers are usually incredibly nice and more than willing to help you out––and that’s a nice little score for humanity, if you ask me.
Get creative with self-discipline
I know there are few things less discouraging than the dread of realizing I left a big assignment to the super last minute. In times like these, I like to brainstorm more creative forms of motivation for when, once again, the coffee just isn’t cutting it. Lately, my favourite way to avoid procrastinating is to do school work in my most uncomfortable pants and shoes. Call it silly, but after six or seven hours, nothing inspires me more to finish off my paper than the notion of pajamas waiting for me at home.
Do one thing at a time, from start to finish
A friend I have, who was prepping herself for law school at the time, gave me this advice. Never look at the never-ending list of things to do. Skipping things on your to-do list is like skipping questions on a test: you hope it’ll be easier to do when you come back to it, but it never actually is. Cross from one side of the bridge to the other without ever looking down.