What To Do When The World's Got You Down

by Mia Mercado

There’s a lot to be worried about right now. I know that’s probably not the best way to start off a piece on how to relax and take care of yourself, but sometimes it’s important to acknowledge the scary garbage fire in the room before you can move on to putting it out. Given the heightened amount of political stress throughout our country, self-care has become a both priority and a necessity.

I’ll admit that I’m not great when it comes to relaxation. Don’t get me wrong, I am very good at napping and am all for a face mask. However, mindful rest like mediation isn’t my go-to when it comes to taking care of myself. I’m all for “unplugging” as a concept but can barely get myself to put my phone down for an episode of Girls, a show that is only 30 minutes long. I long to be relaxed by yoga but just putting on a sports bra exhausts me. What I’m saying is the kind of self-care techniques I’ve seen are not necessarily the kind of things I care to do myself.

But the beauty of self-care is that its purpose is to improve your mood by taking time out for you. Here are a 19 little things that are fun or silly or dumb (in a good way) that you can do when you need to distract yourself from the world for a little bit.

1. Watch an animal live stream. Wanna know what the pandas at the San Diego Zoo are doing right? Probably being very adorable, but you should check just in case. There are polar bear cams, kitten rescue cams, and goat cams, if that’s your thing. You can find out what virtually any of your favorite animals are doing right now with the search of a Google.

2. Play word games on And if you don’t already, follow Merriam-Webster on Twitter. It is 2017 and a dictionary is leading the resistance.

3. Peruse WeRateDogs. It’s my current happy place. And right now, we all deserve a little time in our happy place aka browsing a social account dedicated to doggos.

4. Marathon food videos on YouTube. I’ve been obsessed with Hot for Food because, despite not being vegan, the concept of vegan cheese fascinates me. You don't even have to make the recipes. There's something super satisfying about just watching videos of gooey cheese or melty chocolate.

5. Paint with Bob Ross. There are two seasons of Bob Ross painting on Netflix that you should take advantage of. Like with the cooking videos, I have very little intention of ever painting a scenic winter landscape. I do, however, have every intention of chilling out while Bob makes me some happy little trees.

6. Scroll through the Oddly Satisfying subreddit.

7. Have your mind blown by this math problem. It's about how no two people have likely ever shuffled a deck of cards in the exact same order. This video from VSauce explains why.

8. Can't unplug? Download this browser extension. It's called OmNomNomify and makes Cookie Monster take over your page. So now, you'll be bombarded with a little less politics and a lot more cookies.

9. Borrow a dog. If you could use a some real-life puppy time but don't have a dog of your own, check out services like Bark'N'Borrow where you can hang out with a dog when their own is a little busy. Or, go volunteer to walk some pups at your local shelter. Everybody wins!

10. Play a board game. I've recently rekindled my love with Bananagrams. It's great when I want to take a mental break by exercising my brain in a different way.

11. Color-coordinate your closet. Or just reorganize it. Decluttering has actual health benefits. Go through your drawers and put together a box of things to donate.

12. Watch this relaxing GIF. This is one of the more mindful-relaxation techniques that has worked for me.

13. Read some good news. The Huffington Post has a whole good news Twitter account dedicated to happy news worth celebrating.

14. Try nail art. Simply Nailogical is a good place to start.

15. Make a fancy cocktail.

16. Rewatch T-Pain's 'Tiny Desk Concert' for NPR. If there was ever a time for "Buy U a Drank," it's now. After that, check out Tiny Desk performances from Anderson .Paak and D.R.A.M.

17. Go do karaoke. Or anxiously watch other people do karaoke.

18. Watch a dance tutorial. Here's on for Worth It' by Fifth Harmony. If you're extra bold, you can actually try to do the moves. I'll probably just stick to watching it though.

19. Find your next favorite reaction GIF. I call dibs on this one.

Self-care might seem trivial in the face of all the giant, scary things that are going on in the world — but in order to tackle all those giant, scary things, you also need to look after yourself. Do that. It's the weekend. Now is a good time for it. Rest, and when you come back to it all on Monday, you'll be ready to take on the world.