It’s been intensely thunderstorming around the clock for the past four days. Being someone who loves the rain, I was thrilled when I first heard the weather forecast. But now that I’ve reset all of our clocks over and over after power surges, dried off a muddy, wet dog dozens of times, and spent at least a couple of cumulative hours getting prepared to go outside and then taking off all of my rain gear and getting dry once back inside–I’m ready for the sunshine again.
I used to be accustomed to lots of rain when I lived in Maryland and North Carolina, but since I moved to Texas, I’ve been spoiled with big blue skies full of sunshine almost every day of the year. I still love a good rainy day every now and again, but four straight days of rain, accompanied by near-constant thunder and lightening (with a forecast of continual thunderstorms until the weekend), and I’m feeling mopey. Unfocused, unmotivated, sleepy, slightly grumpy, and definitely mopey.
Today I’m sharing some ways to “create sunshine” when you’re feeling down, whether your gloom is due to the weather outside or not. I know what it’s like to feel sad or withdrawn even when the sun is shining bright; I only recently moved out of a difficult season of this, which I wrote about here.
1 | Take a break from the dailies
The dailies of life–you know, the cooking and cleaning and commuting–they’ll wear you out. (I’ve written a post about this!) If you’re feeling down, give yourself a break and take a mini-vacation, even if you don’t take off work. Order takeout for dinner. Wear some of the clothes in the back of your closet so that you can put off laundry for another day or two. Skip your workout and get coffee with a friend instead.
This is so not my usual song. I am quite disciplined and typically encourage others to set routines, rhythms, and structure into their lives. But we all hit a wall sometimes and it’s worth it to put the non-essentials on hold for a day or two to breathe life and sunshine into your soul.
2 | Recreate a favorite restaurant meal
Now, if you hate to cook, this may bring you the opposite of joy. But if you do enjoy cooking, think of your favorite restaurant meal. Head to the grocery store and pick up some ingredients to make it, and then head home and experiment. This is especially fun with someone you love and some fun music. Try your best to recreate your favorite meal and see how well you do!
My husband and I have done this a few times, and we always end up liking our version of the dish better than the original. (Probably because we spent so much time and effort recreating it!) No matter what, we always have fun and enjoy the spark of creativity it takes!
3 | Go somewhere new or different
If you’ve never been to an antique shop in town, check it out after work one evening. If there’s a new restaurant, try it. If there’s a park you drive by every day and have never explored (and the weather isn’t bad), take a long walk there. Perhaps there are parts of your own neighborhood that you’ve never seen–put on some comfortable shoes and grab your dog if you have one, then walk around and admire the houses.
It can be so life-giving to step out of the ordinary and do something different. There’s something about experiencing a new place for the first time that makes you feel so alive!
4 | Redecorate
When I was a little girl, my friends and I used to play “Trading Spaces” in each other’s bedrooms. Does anyone remember that show? I absolutely loved it. We would sometimes go all-out and do full room makeovers, spending the entire day in the other one’s house (usually with a couple of other friends), and other times we’d do mini-makeovers, where we would just move the decorations in our rooms around but leave the furniture in place.
No matter what we did, though, we always had such a great time. And I always loved waking up the next morning in a room that looked and felt different! It was so refreshing.
Though my days of pretending to be Paige Davis are over, I still love redecorating on gloomy days. I think it’s so much fun to turn on some music and rearrange my home. Sometimes, I’ll move around furniture, but other times, I just move around some photo frames and little décor items. It’s just as refreshing now as it was as a child to be in a “new” environment.
If you need a little sunshine in your day, choose a room or two and redecorate. If you have the time and money, you could head to Home Goods or IKEA and buy some new throw pillows, curtains, or candles; if not, you can work with what you have. One of my favorite tricks is to move items from one room to another!
5 | Make a big thing out of a little thing
Little things like getting a manicure or having a movie night can be such a nice way to break up the monotony of life, especially during the week. So, make a big thing out of a little thing. Brew a delicious cup of tea, put it in a travel cup, and head to the salon for a manicure. Afterwords, go shopping (even if you don’t buy anything). Or buy some popcorn and a few boxes of movie candy at the grocery store, invite your friends over, and watch a movie everyone loves. This is so much more fun than watching a movie alone!
If there’s a holiday coming up that you don’t usually celebrate, celebrate it! Plan a special themed meal around it, watch a movie or TV show that references it, go to a local community event. This is such an easy and inexpensive way to bring sunshine into your day-to-day life.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, there are so many fun ways to celebrate! You could plan a traditional Irish dinner for you and someone you love. You could wear a festive green outfit to work and make your co-workers laugh. You could bake some cupcakes and drop them off at your neighbors’ house with a sweet note. There are endless options–just making big things out of little things will bring so much joy into your life!
6 | Bless others
There is nothing, nothing, nothing, that will bring you more joy or infuse more sunshine into your life than blessing others. Spend time with your people. Pray for them. Eat with them. Serve them. Help them. This can take on various forms depending on your season of life and your tribe, but here are some ideas: babysit your friend’s kids, pick up groceries for a neighbor, take a meal to a new mom, help your friend move, lend a book to someone who’d enjoy it, pick up your husband’s favorite candy bar at the grocery store, call someone you love and listen intently to their words, open up your house to new friends…the list goes on and on.
Determine what you’re good at, what you love to do, and do that. Sometimes it may be as simple as texting an encouraging message to a friend; other times, it will be more time-consuming or complicated. Anything you do to pour into others will bless you abundantly. There is such peace and joy that accompanies serving–it truly pours sunshine even during the hardest of life’s seasons.
// Does bad weather get you down, too? How do you “create sunshine?”