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I‘ve been quite sad lately.

I’ve been going through deep, untread waters and I’m finding it hard to navigate through. Even though I can’t control the season in which my life is in at the moment, and instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’ve been doing certain things which have been easing my sadness and helping me ride out this storm a little more smoothly. Here are 20 things to do if you are sad, too:

1. Cry. Really, let it all out. Sometimes I’ll even set a time, put on sad music and just cry. Your heart will really feel a little less burdened.

2. Exercise. Instead of focusing on the things in your life which are out of your control, focus your energy on the things you can. Use all your sadness and anger and funnel it into working out your body. Exercise has been likened to an anti-depressant, it’s a powerful mood-lifter, and it’s free.

3. Read a good book. Find a book on a subject you are drawn to and get lost in it.

4. Listen to music. I can’t explain how much music has helped me through the hardest of times. When you listen to something that speaks to your soul, it has the power to lift your pain away.

5. Watch a beautiful film. A good movie can relieve your sadness, if only but for a while. It has the potential to make you feel less alone, change your perspective on life and even give you hope.

6. Buy something nice for yourself. Something as little as buying yourself a nice piece of jewelry, clothes or flowers can can make all the difference in a hard day.

7. Draw on supportive, loving friends. The friends who are strong for you even when you feel weak, who love you even when you feel unlovable, and who support you even when you lose sight of your dreams – they are the ones you need to surround yourself with.

8. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and it’s okay if you don’t get anything done that day. Be gentle with yourself and don’t push yourself to do anything you’re finding hard to do.

9. Laugh. I believe laughter is one of the most healing things for the soul and a key to a life lived well. A simple moment laughing with someone or watching a comedy can help bring your soul back to life again.

10. Sit by the ocean. Isak Dinesen once said, “The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” There is something comforting about the consistency of the waves of the ocean, especially when you feel your life is so inconsistent. While you sit, reflect on this quote by Sarah Kay: “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

11. Make a treasure box. I have this shoebox in my room. Over the years, I have put in it all the letters, photographs, concert tickets, little notes and sentimental trinkets. Whenever I feel low, I would take out this box and look through everything. At the end of it, I’m a mess – a grateful, loved-up mess. I encourage you to have one too so that anytime you feel sad, you are reminded of all the times you laughed, smiled and were loved.

12. Envision. What do you want your life to look like in five or ten years time? Envision where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, maybe even who you come home to. When you feel discouraged, think about it and believe that you can make your dream into a reality.

13. Surround yourself with nature. John Burroughs once said, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

14. Make a little effort. As inviting as track pants may be, something as simple as putting on lipstick or wearing a nice dress can make you feel ‘blah’ to confident in no time.

15. Practice gratitude. Don’t let your sorrows close your eyes and heart to the beauty left in this world. Even a simple thank you before you go to sleep is more than enough.

16. Do something that scares you. Get out of your comfort zone and do something that makes you feel and come alive.

17. Pay someone a compliment. We think so many wonderful things about people but never tell them. Start complimenting your mum, your local dairy cashier or even a stranger on the street, and not only will it potentially make someone’s whole day, but the love you give will come back to you many times over.

18. Tell someone you love how much they mean to you. You might be surprised – your words can make all the difference in their world and give them much needed hope in their struggles, too.

19. Decorate your room. Surround yourself with inspirational words or beautiful photographs. This is your space – make it a place where you feel happy, relaxed and inspired every time you’re in it.

20. Be honest with God. God can handle your sadness. He can handle your anger. He knows exactly what you are going through, but He longs to hear them from you. Even if you come to him with no words but pain in your heart, but He ready to love you in your brokenness. Will you allow him to comfort you?

I believe that you can survive the storms that are welling inside of you. I believe you have something in you that is so much more stronger than your sadness. The morning is coming – hold on to hope and don’t let go, for you very well know that it is the anchor for your soul.

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