10 Ways To Create Smiles All-Round

In case your brain is buzzing or stomach is churning, if you’ve got a little extra dread in your step or your mind is in shambles, here are 10 ways to improve your mental health and put a smile on your face.

  1. Break your rut. Try a new class; change up your commute; if you usually make yourself a cup of coffee in the morning, go and buy a pomegranate-spiced, soy macchiato (or whatever it is); book a stay-cation and pack your bags for the weekend; invite a friend over for dinner and cook something fancy. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s a bit different to your usual humdrum routine.

  2. Go on a digital detox. Nothing sends our minds into more of a spin than being glued to our phones. Whether it’s social media, an email addiction or text-anxiety, screen-time is usually the culprit for sleepless nights, decreased self-esteem and feeling drained or lethargic. Even if it’s just deleting your Instagram app for a week or two, or putting your phone to bed an hour earlier than you, make some tangible steps to create distance between you and your beloved smartphone.

  3. Travel alone. If you’ve been dreaming about taking a long trip, consider doing it solo. Being with yourself, and figuring out who that is along the way, is vastly underrated.

  4. Have a kind conversation with yourself. Self-compassion is the new self-care. Next time you find yourself in an undesirable situation: you’ve made a mistake at work, a first date makes a no-show or you’re feeling stuck in a rut, speak to yourself like you would to any good friend in the same situation.

  5. Take a leap out of your comfort zone. Of all the success stories out there, a vast majority have one common thread: throwing out all the pieces holding you back and welcoming those challenging situations. Apply for the job that you consider above your level, bite the bullet and set up business, travel the world on your own; greatness probably won’t just appear at your doorstep.

  6. Listen to a podcast. Our smartphones aren’t all bad, in fact they’re so much more than just a source of anxiety. Since we’re connected at the hip to this feat of modern engineering, harness it as a tool for self-improvement and get your education on with podcasts such as 'All in the mind' or 'Mental illness happy hour'.

  7. Buy a cookbook and try a new recipe. Does what it says on the tin. If you don’t want to splash out on a new cookbook, the internet is awash with recipes. Try Pinch of Yum for….

  8. Meditate. If meditation seems like a daunting endeavour, but you’re curious to put all that hype to test, download the head-space app.

  9. Tidy up. Marie Kondo’s techniques might seem a little extreme, but she’s right on one thing: if it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it out. Or simply clean your sheets and light a couple of candles. Tidy space, tidy mind.

  10. Power nap. Keep them short (less than 30 minutes), have them daily, and feel delighted by the spring in your step.