30 Silly Ways to Lift Your Spirits When the Times Are Tough

At times when things are not going well, it’s easy to become demotivated, unproductive, and even depressed.

When you don’t see a light at an end of a tunnel, when nothing seems to be working out, try to remind yourself that things will change for the better. They always do, even when it doesn’t seem possible.

And in the meantime, here are 30 brilliant tips that might help you get through a rough patch.

Some of them have worked for me before, some of them haven’t, and some of them are just utterly impractical & impossible, but 30 is a lot, and the title is set in stone, so here they are:

  1. Watch a silly video, the internet is full of them.
  2. Read a motivational blog post, even a cheeky one can put you in a good mood.
  3. Cat gifs or gifs of equivalently silly animals can always make you smile.
  4. Meditate for a couple of minutes, it’s surprisingly frustrating.
  5. Scream for a couple of minutes, it’s surprisingly therapeutic. (If you don’t want to alarm your neighbors, scream into a pillow, it works just as well.)
  6. Send someone a heartfelt thank-you note just to make their day, it will make you feel much better.
  7. Go for a walk, even if it’s just around your apartment, then brag about it on social media.
  8. Call a friend and share your worries, fears, and concerns with them, just venting out to someone can often help.
  9. Play a video game, the sillier the better.
  10. Read a book, a one you can really enjoy, even if it’s a shallow book with no substance.
  11. Sing along your favorite song, it will certainly put you in a better mood.
  12. Sing along your least favorite song, it will certainly put you in a better mood.
  13. Watch another silly video, or watch the first one again.
  14. Close your eyes and balance on one foot as long as you can, it’s bound to make you smile.
  15. Throw away an old item that no longer brings you joy.
  16. Create a giveaway among your followers or friends for an old item that no longer brings you joy.
  17. Flip a coin, call both tails and heads, then see where it lands.
  18. Eat something healthy other than a banana.
  19. Reply to the latest spam message you received with a genuine, heartfelt story that ends all spam forever.
  20. Write a poem, the sillier the better.
  21. Write a blog post, the sillier the better.
  22. Write some gibberish text without meaning or structure, then call it a poem or a blog post.
  23. Draw an arc, a circle, a square, then try to figure out which one you resemble the most.
  24. Draw a stickwoman, preferably in a dancing position.
  25. Reply to every post and tweet you see in the next 10 minutes with “Yes! But why?”.
  26. Hug someone, preferably yourself.
  27. Eat an avocado, it’s a super-fruit, so it’s bound to give you superpowers.
  28. Write a list of 3 things you’re grateful to have in your life.
  29. Write a list of 3 things you’re grateful to not have in your life.
  30. Write a list of 3 ideas that are impossible to accomplish, then create a detailed plan on how to tackle each and prove yourself wrong.

If you do any of these, please let me know on Twitter if it works. And if it doesn’t, I certainly won’t remove it from this list.

And remember, it’s OK to have some fun, it’s OK to take a break, it’s OK to feel bad sometimes, and it’s OK to read a motivational, or a silly blog post every once in a while.

Easy or Meaningful

If you ever have a choice to do something fun and easy or something meaningful, always pick the meaningful.

It might be hard, challenging, and not nearly as enjoyable, but it’s infinitely more rewarding, as it will make a difference in your life and possibly in the life of others.

And at this very moment, you have this exact choice.

Hard Rest & Reset

We all need rest and reset, and probably more often than we’d like to admit.

We need a rest from work.
A vacation to recharge our batteries and gather the willpower to tackle new challenges, as our results will be better when we’re focused, well-rested, and motivated.

We need a rest from our family.
Some quiet alone time to gather our thoughts and help us be more present in the precious moments with our loved ones.

We need a rest from nonsense.
Disconnecting every once in a while will remove all the distractions of social media & news and help us focus on the important things.

We need a rest from busyness.
Practicing mindfulness can center our minds and make us realize that most of our thoughts are either wishful thinking or irrational fears.

If possible, take as many breaks as you need. Your boss, family, and your mind will thank you for it.

Care About Something to Stand Out

One of the easiest ways to stand out anywhere is to care. It works exceptionally well because so few people truly care.

Care about what you do. Care about what you say. Care about your customers, coworkers, and your company. Care about the next person in line, the person serving you, and the person behind you.

It will make a world of difference for you and everyone around you.

And by the way, pretending to care is not enough. It won’t work. You have to actually care.

On Patience

Patience is one of the most universal and useful skills you can develop.

You can practice it at home with your family, at work with your colleagues and customers, on social media with strangers, in a store with (likely) underpaid workers, in traffic with people in a hurry or essentially anywhere.

And just as well, it is useful anywhere.

Whatever it is you do, patience will help you get further by encouraging you to focus on the long run and a big picture.

It’s difficult to even imagine a situation where more patience is not better than less, so when in doubt, be more patient.

Inaction & Injustice

Overlooking or ignoring injustice can be just as bad as the injustice itself.

It communicates that you’re OK with it and lowers the bar. It desensitizes you and sets you up to ignore even bigger injustice next time.

When you don’t agree with something it’s up to you to act upon it and let everyone involved know that you’re raising the bar and that we all need to move in the right direction, even if it’s in small, baby steps.

(Baby steps are not nearly enough right now—what we really need are huge leaps—but some people, unfortunately, can only start the change with baby steps.)

On Free Software

Free almost always comes with a cost. A cost that probably isn’t apparent or clear at first, but a real cost nonetheless.

It can occur in the form of privacy, reliability, security, customer support, or long-term development. A good example is a number of apps that end up selling your personal info or go away entirely without any kind of warning.

If you find a product or service useful and want it to exist beyond a few years, insist on paying for it.

It will help improve it, give its owner more incentive to make it better for you (as opposed to worrying about making it profitable or breaking even), and you probably won’t have to worry about your privacy or finding reliable alternatives.

And if you’re not prepared to pay for it, do you actually even need it?

PS. Seth Godin & Anselm Hannemann give more insight into the subject.

Stop Chasing Perfection

I will no longer chase perfection. Not only it’s impossible to achieve it, but it’s also entirely counterproductive.

Nothing ever gets finished when you want perfection. And that’s a damned shame; imperfect art is much more impressive and influential than nonexistent art.

Stop hiding in the shadows. Show us your best good enough work.

I know I will.