Whatever it might be. I am partial to eating Tim Tams and watching Dr. Phil, or listening to the Rasmus. Be proud to be silly.
52. Have Something Delicious Delivered to your House
Don’t go for the normal pizza – see if your favorite Italian or Moroccan restaurant do deliveries? Will the bakery send you out a fresh-baked loaf? Bask in the glory of ringing someone up and having hot food arrive on your doorstep. It’s a wonderful world we live in.
Dress up like a tourist (shorts, shirt, camera, “bum bag”, ridiculous hat, guidebook in back pocket) and go do something really touristy: whale-watching, the tourist bus tour, or go to the over-priced amusements. Talk loudly, take hundreds of photos.
54. Clothing Attack
Find all the clothes in your wardrobe you don’t really like and attack them with hundreds of studs and spikes. I bet you like them better now, right?
55. Invent Music
Buy a silly instrument – a harmonica, a tin whistle, a recorder, a djambje, anything as long as it’s inexpensive and makes noise. Be loud and enthusiastic in your playing.
56. Feed Ducks
Make a “feel happy” soundtrack of your favorite songs, and stick it on your MP3 player. Put on your favorite walking clothes. Walk to your local park or river, stopping at the dairy on the way to pick up a loaf of bread. Walk through the park listening to your favorite songs, a find a good stop to sit down a throw morsels of bread to the ducks and geese.
57. Secret Squirrel
Find a secret place. Your secret place should be high up, with a great view. Look for tall trees in the park, abandoned buildings with easily-scaled roofs, or unknown nooks and niches above bridges. Take yourself there when you feel blue, listen to music or read a book and watch the city unfold around you. Be careful climbing to your secret place – falling from your favorite tree won’t cheer you up!
58. Buy Silly Slippers
In the cold of winter, your feet need all the warm they can get. A pair of ridiculous slippers – shaped like dogs, penguins or Eric Adam’s loincloth – cheer you up.
59. Otherwise Know As …
Decide on new nicknames for all of your friends. Send them a text or email to let them know their new nickname, and call them that from now on. The more outrageous the nicknames, the better. Nicknames make a person feel loved, like they’ve reached a new level of intimacy with you.
60. Rise and Shine, Sleepyhead
Changing your morning routine can alter your whole day. If you shower at night, try showering in the morning, just after you wake up. What do you eat for breakfast? DO you eat breakfast? We need to change that? Do you open the curtains? If not, open them wide! Do you get up too early? Too late? Change up your routine for a week, and measure the affects on you whole persona.
61. Wake-up Call
Change your alarm clock to something fun. On our epic Europe adventure we had “Morning Manowar”. I tell you, nothing makes you more excited to get up and explore castles than “Hail and Kill” at 7am.
62. Find a Totem
A totem is an embalm representing a creature or object you feel a strong connection with. Carrying a totem on your person gives you the sense of being able to draw power from associating yourself with that creature. It’s a little new-agey, but I also think it’s quite metal.
My totem animals are cats, and birds – specifically ravens and ducks. We made friends with ravens in Norway, and ever since, I’ve fallen utterly in love with them.
63. Experience New Things
Find a list of “what’s on in your town”, and for a week, do something new every day. Alternatively, search travel websites for reviews of off-the-beaten track things to do in your area – sometimes backpackers find the gems you’d never otherwise discover, because their hearts and minds are actively searching for those experiences.
One day I was feeling crap, my husband snuck out of the house. He returned 20 minutes later carrying a huge box. What was inside? A lego viking ship! We spent the afternoon making it up and having high seas viking adventures. Best. Cheering. Up. Ever.
65. Write a Personal Manifesto
Who are you really? What are you about? What makes you tick? What morals and beliefs do you follow? Write yourself a personal manifesto – who you are, who you want to be and how you’re gonna get there. For more info on manifesto writing (an artform in itself) read about Nothing Elegant’s Blog Manifesto project
66. Open an Etsy Shop
If you’re a creative type, why not see if you can sell some work online. Etsy
is a great place to sell handmade crafts or vintage collections. You don’t have to try and make millions selling your work, but list a few of your best pieces and see how you go.
TIP: The key to success on Etsy (as far as I can tell) is to list lots of items, so your stuff shows up in more searches. Try to list an item a day for 30 days – you should start to see more regular sales once you have over 50-100 items in your shop (which is what I’m currently working towards). It’s only 20c to list an item, so you not going to bankrupt yourself.
67. Make Someone’s Day
Mark Twain said “the best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up”. The man speaks truth. Call an old friend up, just to say hi. Text someone and tell them they’re awesome. Take any idea from this list and do it for someone else, instead of for yourself.
Write a Gratitude List – I do this sometimes on the blog. It’s called Up the Irons!
and it’s a shout-out to everything good in life. Sometimes, when you concentrate on the bad, you forget all the little things making up the world of good.
Clean out a drawer, cupboard, desk or room you’ve filled up with stuff. Pile up old clothes and books to give to charity shops, and toss the rest away (or recycle it, if you can). You don’t need so much stuff, and having a clean desk/room/drawer feels like having a clean start. I feel instantly fresh and inspired after cleaning my eternally cluttered writing desk.
70. Light a Fire
Don’t you find something oddly comforting about a live, roaring fire? My family has always had open fires blazing throughout winter – I’ve never owned a heater till I moved to Auckland and lived in a hostel. We would sit round the fire at night and eat dinner, do our homework, watch TV.
If you have an open fireplace, light a fire in your living room and curl up next to it with a book and a bag of marshmallows. Hot chocolate, pikelet mixture, jam and chocolates work a treat, too.
If not, can you make a fire in a drum in your backyard? (check your local law about this). Pull up a chair, a can (or horn) of mead and a steak sandwich. Taste the night air on your tongue.
71. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
A diet of highly processed foods deprives us of much-needed nutrients, and nutrients make us happy. So give yourself a nutrient feast – find your local farmers market and spend up large and the freshest, most delicious fruits and vegetables. Toss into a salad, bake into a pie, boil up in a big vat of soup, or just enjoy raw with olive oil and hummus.
72. Play Board Games
You’re going to need a partner for this. Dig out all your “old school” board games – Monopoly, Hamburger (my favorite, cuz it’s about food), Mousetrap, Trouble, UNO, Blackgammen … whatever you had as a kid, and play them all. Make fairy bread and drink orange juice and wrap yourself in big blankets.
73. “Get Away From It All”
I’ve never been an advocate for this method of dealing with an issue, because you’re bound to find the issue waiting for you when you return from your sojourn. But sometimes, you just need a break from the world. If you know you need to “get away” for a few days, really get away. Skip town, and don’t take your cell phone. Go bush. Pack your tent and billy and find a corner of the wilderness unpopulated with human life. Relish the stillness of a world untouched by urban living. In the clarity of fresh air, all your muddled thoughts sometimes become crystal clear.
74. The Old Fashioned Way
I bake bread every day. EVERY DAY. I don’t use a breadmaker, or any prepackaged mix. I make bread the old-fashioned way – the way humankind has made bread for 10,000 years.
Throw away your modern conveniences and learn to make something to “old-fashioned” way. Can your own tomato pasta sauce, squeeze your own orange juice, make your own beer (I’m doing a home-brew course this year – exciting!), bake a loaf of bread from scratch … kneading that bread is therapeutic, trust me.
75. Build a Fort
Need I say more?
76. Up in the Air
This isn’t cheap, but I guarantee it will cheer you up. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
We took a hot air balloon ride over Cappedocia in Turkey. Not cheap (wiped our Middle-East budget clear out) but worthwhile. I never expected the sensation of being inside a hot-air balloon to feel like it did – everything is still. You can’t feel wind. You just hang, and bob along. You can hear everything happening on the streets below. Amazing.
Maybe it’s just a New Zealand thing, but nothing says relaxing and good times like going to the beach.
Go to a deserted beach – they’re easy to find if you know where to look. Pack a picnic lunch. Roll the legs of your pants up and run through the surf. Clamber over the rocks and find little fishies in the tide pools. Build a sandcastle. Watch the sun set over the water.
78. Adopt a Pet
If you feel lonely, give part of your home to an animal without one. Every day, the SPCA and other animal shelters rescue hundreds of unwanted, neglected pets, and if no one comes to adopt them … you know what happens. It’s shameful and we should all do our bit for these animals.
Scientists have proven stroking a cat induces healing and reduces feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Pets love unconditionally, and they always know just what to do to make you laugh.
Who thought up such a ridiculous idea? And yes, as silly as karaoke seems, it’s immensely popular and lots of fun. Can’t sing? Neither can anyone else. Just do the best you can. Ham it up, be OTT ridiculous. Death growl if you have to.
Wait until fireworks go on sale in November, and stock up on these little packets of joy. Bring out a few sparklers to light up your BBQs over summer, or just dance around the backyard when you feel a little feral. Spell naughty words in the air, have a dual against a tree, or just pretend you are a fire fairy. Sparklers rule.
81. Ice Cream Parlour
Find your nearest ice cream parlour, and order the largest, most ridiculous sundae on their menu. Eat it all. Don’t feel guilty.
Or, better yet, make your own concoction at home. Give it a hilarious name, like “Steff’s Epic Metal Sundae Mountain of Doom”, cover it in whipped cream, frosting, crumbled biscuits, cut-up Mars bars, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, cherries, bananas, blueberries, sauce, fudge, sherbet and anything else you can think of. Eat it all. Don’t feel guilty.
82. Old School
Go to the library or a second-hand bookshop and find some of those series books from the nineties: the ones you undoubtedly read: The Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Pony Club, Goosebumps, Fear Street. Read them all again. Damn, weren’t they terribly awesome?
83. Community Classes
My husband and I are taking German classes at a nearby high school. It costs us $89 for seven 2 hour lessons, with all materials included. The school runs classes in everything: from burlesque dancing to Metalworking to Indian cooking. They are cheap, they are run by enthusiastic, experienced teachers, they are filled with interesting people, they enable you to learn new skills. In short – community classes are awesome.
Buy yourself a fancy notebook, and a nice pen. I love Black Spot Books
who hand bind journals they’ve created using recycled leather and found materials. I also like Immortal Longing’s
Shakespeare-inspired journals. Lots of people adore Moleskeine journals, but I honestly don’t see the difference between them and any other notebook.
What will you use your notebook for? Oh, the possibilities!
85. Random Club
Open your gig guide, close your eyes, and point. That’s where you’re going tonight. Dress inappropriately, and make the best of it.
86. Starry Night
Find your local observatory or planetarium. Show up for one of their evening lectures – they normally set up telescopes so you can look at celestial bodies. Better yet, take a course in astronomy. Amaze yourself at just how busy it is out there.
87. Sleepy Time
If you can spare the dough, buy new sheets and a duvet for your bed. Find something completely luxurious in a your favorite colour. Make over your bed, and you make over your sleep.
88. Facebook Friends
You know all those random “friends of friends’ who keep adding you on Facebook? Strike up a conversation with one of them. You know you already have something in common, and they added you so they can’t think your a serial killer or anything. Who knows, a “friend of a friend” might turn into an actual friend.
89. Dinner and a Movie
By Yourself. Yes, go out on a “typical” date all by yourself. Eat at your favorite restaurant (and don’t bring a book. You don’t need to distract yourself from your own company), and then go to a movie you really want to see. Buy yourself all the treats YOU want to eat, sit wherever you want (I love sitting right in the front row, and I fold all the armrests up and lie down. Cushiony!)
90. Love Letter
Write someone a love letter in chalk on the steps up to their apartment or the pavement outside their flat. Use several colours. Hide and watch their reaction when they see it.
91. Signature Cocktail
Pull all the liqueur bottles out of your cabinet and line then up on the counter. Now, go to the fridge and pull out all the liquids and fruits. Do the same with the pantry. Now, line up all your shot glasses and start mixing! You’re searching for the perfect signature cocktail. This involves lots of taste-testing. Be daring, be crazy. Give your drink a wacky name. (This is an also excellent way to use all those liqueur bottles people have left with half a centimetre of liquid inside.)
92. Road Trip
Road trips kick ass. A car, good music, an adventure, bad food, what more could you want? I love a trip when you know roughly where you’re going, but you don’t have a specific schedule, so you can stop and look at random things on the way. On the last road trip I went on – up to a campsite by a lake – we stopped to take air-guitar pictures outside a picturesque white chapel in the middle of a rolling field. Next, we made faces underneath a duck-crossing sign.
93. Collect Something Interesting
It could be anything – I collect miniature trinket boxes (I want to start collecting pill or snuff boxes exclusively), and fossils, and I used to collect locks of hair. My husband collects vintage books about trains. I have a friend who collects typewriters, another who collects statues of elephants.
Once you’ve decided on your collection, spend hours scouring eBay or Amazon and making a huge wishlist of all the items you want to add to your collection. You probably can’t afford to buy them all, but maybe splash out on just one.
94. Pay off Debt
Owing people money stresses me out. I feel like a failure if I haven’t budgeted accordingly to be able to pay for something in cash, or I have to borrow money from a friend.
So sit down and make a plan. Many people find great success in Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball” plan: you write a list of all your debts in order of how much money is left on them. You make sure you’re paying the minimum on each, except for the one with the least amount left to pay back. You throw everything else you’ve got at that payment, and as soon as you’ve paid it off, you throw everything at the next smallest, and so on. It’s not the most cost-effective way (if one of your larger payments has a much higher interest rate) but most of debt repayment is about staying focused, and it’s hard to stay focused if you don’t see any results. Getting rid of each payment is like a little present for all your hard work – you stay motivated.
You can buy a decent-sized wading pool at Wal-mart. Fill it with water (warm or hot) and bubble bath. Pour yourself a glass of wine and have your own private spa in your backyard. I like to do this at night when you can see the stars.
96. Celebrate random holidays
You might have realised by now, I’m a big fan of celebrating random and made-up holidays. I’ve written before about remembering Dimebag Darryl
and having a metal Christmas
, but I’m sure you can think of lots of ideas for random or made-up holidays.
Celebrate the birthdays of your favorite writers, musicians and artists. Celebrate crazy religious holidays – Gala Darling wrote about celebrating Holi
– a hindi festival where everyone throws coloured powder over everyone else. It looks like the most fun ever.
97. Let Go of Useless People
On a couple of occasions I’ve had to let go of friends who were hurting me. They were good friends and good people and I loved them and didn’t realise what a negative effect they had on my life, until it was too late. Sometimes, loving someone isn’t enough, when they expect you to carry them too.
Let go of the people who cause you pain. Set them free to find themselves. Be the hero – be the person brave enough to say “this isn’t working and it has to end.” Letting those people go was like a huge weight lifting from my chest. I’m a firm believer that if the friendship is meant to be, it will come back, stronger than ever. And ending a friendship doesn’t undo all the wonderful, amazing good times and experiences you had together.
98. Embrace another Culture
Choose a culture or time period you don’t know anything about, but have always been fascinated with, and start reading books and websites. Whether you choose ancient Egypt, Communist Russia, Imperial China, the Maori or the Inuit, start a love affair with another time or place.
99. Mmmmm, Sprinkles
Bake a cake for a friend, or for your colleagues at work. For no reason, except “just because”. I find the act of baking theraputic – no matter what’s going on in the world, you still stir the batter, lick the bowl, and make your house smell amazing. Plus, you get to surprise someone with cake.
100. Hug someone
I love hugs – they’re my favoritest thing in the whole world. If you hug someone (a friend, a parent, a lover, a stranger), chances are, they’ll hug you back. Yay, hugs for everyone!
TIP: If you ever meet me, give me a hug. I will love you forever.
101. Talk to Steff
Even if no one else cares, even if no one in the whole wide world wants to listen to you moan or growl or cry or scream or laugh or sob or growl or smile – I do. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I always answer.
Thanks for the fantastic guest post, Steff!