5 Simple Ways to Brighten your Day

Written by Mikayla Borchert

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Have you been feeling the winter blues? How about the typical spring semester restlessness? I know that I’ve certainly been feeling less chipper than I would like. When I have the time, skiing, running, and visiting family all help me settle my mind, but sometimes finding the time to de-stress can be stressful in itself. Here are five low-commitment ways to brighten your day with minimal planning.

 

1. Light a candle and have a warm drink

My favorite thing to do after walking home from night classes is to plug in my christmas lights, light my candles, and sip on some hot chocolate. The best part about this is that I can do it at the same time as homework (or Netflix). If you don’t have a candle—I would highly recommend picking one up during your next trip to the store—anything with a relaxing scent would work. This could be your favorite lotion or a home cooked meal.

 

2. Enjoy some light activity

I love going to the gym as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time or the energy to go (especially when it’s too cold to run there). This option is a little easier during the warmer months, but I still love to get bundled up and walk down by the stone arch bridge as long as the temperature is above 0. You could also do yoga in your home or even some squats or calf raises while brushing your teeth.

If you have enough time for more involved activity, students at the University of Minnesota have a membership to the Recreation and Wellness Center on campus included in their cost of attendance. Community members who are not affiliated with the University can purchase a membership to the St. Paul gym for about $40 per month.

 

3. Turn on your favorite pump-up song and dance like you’re in a music video

This could be your own, imagined music video or one that already exists. Just grab a hairbrush or an air-microphone and sing your heart out. My personal favorite is singing into my shampoo bottle to anything by Paramore, but you can customize your choices to get the most cathartic experience possible. Act as silly as you want, and you’re sure to be smiling before long.

 

4. Go somewhere new, like a local shop or restaurant

Food heals the soul. I am genuinely sad that I will never be able to visit every restaurant in the world during my lifetime. A new restaurant to me is like Disney World to a kindergartener. Try out anything in uptown—there are so many options (I grew up in the Twin Cities and didn’t go to Burger Jones or Chino Latino until recently).

As previously mentioned, I also like candles. There’s a shop downtown called I Like You that apparently sells tons of adorable gifts (I received a glorious candle from there for my 20th birthday), and I will be visiting ASAP now that the Super Bowl is over and Minneapolis will be back to normal soon.

 

5. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and tell them how much you appreciate them

College is exciting and full of new friends. It can also be sad and far away from old friends. I only see some of my best friends in the world a few times each year, so a phone call with them is the best cure for pretty much anything. It can be easy to forget how much a friendship means when there’s enough distance between you, so give someone that you’re missing a call to remind them how much you care. I bet it’ll brighten their day too.