10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Day

Karl H Christ
4 min readFeb 27, 2023

Rather than rail on about whatever recent or perennial problem has come into the news or my brain in the past week, I’m going to focus solely on positive thoughts today. The following are ideas and tips for feeling better, aiding your emotional and mental health, what is popularly referred to today as “self care.” These are practices I follow regularly, which (in addition to prescribed SNRIs) keep me from hating everything and help me feel generally good.


Use sun lamps. Particularly if you have to wake up before dawn. You don’t have to sit in front of them for any period of time. Just turn them on when you get up in place of regular lights. The spectrum of light they emit is less assaulting to the eyes and brain first thing in the morning, and they make you feel more awake, more quickly.

Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “Good morning, I love you.” This was recommended to me a couple years ago. It is corny and you will feel like an idiot, but it can also make you feel strangely good. It’s positive affirmation and self-love at their most basic. I suggest putting a post-it on your bathroom mirror, with that phrase, or just the “good morning” part, written on it, maybe with a smiley face drawn on it, as a reminder. That is exactly what I did. It’s dumb. It works.

Cuddle. You can cuddle a person or a pet. Both are nice. Honestly, pets can be kind of better if you have a big floofy one. I pet, hug, and cuddle with my dog for at least a minute every morning. He happens to be an extra large and astonishingly soft floofer who doesn’t mind being held and having my face nuzzling his fur. Not all animals or people are as accommodating. If you have neither a pet or a person to cuddle, I’m sorry, and suggest a pillow or balled up blanket as a substitute.

Exercise. I won’t tell you what to do or how much, but moving your body and getting your blood moving is essential for every aspect of your health. I run or workout on alternating mornings, but if all you have time for is a dozen pushups or some good stretching, anything is better than nothing.


Take naps. I’ve promoted napping before, and have to reiterate here that I know not everyone is in a position where they are allowed or able to nap in the middle of the day. But, do the best you can. If you have just a five minute break or you’re not driving for your commute, take a moment. Close your eyes. Relax your body. Deepen your breathing. Clear your head. Rest.

Go outside. You’re a living being with all the requisite needs that entails. Breathe fresh air, get some sun on you, if possible, surrounded by green. That last one can be difficult in artificial urban spaces, but it’s important. Being near, looking at, touching, smelling, just being around plants has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on people’s mental and emotional state. We are part of nature and it’s detrimental to be apart from it.

Drink water. You can have some coffee and tea too, but for the most part, you should be drinking plain water all day every day. We’re beings that came from water, are mostly made of water, and most of us don’t get enough water. Every part of you, from your brain to your bowels, will thank you.


Change clothes when you get home. Take off whatever you spent the day in and replace it with something more comfortable. Have designated home clothes. I prefer light joggers or sweats, sometimes a robe, in the winter, and soft gym shorts in the summer. And no underwear. You’re in your own home, stop punishing yourself, take off your underwear. And never wear shoes at home. At most, slippers.

Go to bed as long before you plan to go to sleep as possible. A half hour to an hour is good. Lie in bed. Read. Think. Meditate. Do nothing. Don’t do anything using screens if you can avoid it. You shouldn’t look at a screen for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. I suggest leaving your devices in another room. My phone, tablet, laptop and other devices all stay in the living room at night. Plug them in and charge them there and don’t worry about them until the morning.

Pet your dog. For those that don’t have dogs, I’m truly sorry, I hope you can fix that soon. After reading, I turn off the light and lie on the side of the bed to pet my dog, sleeping in his bed on the floor beside me. It’s calming, it’s a pleasant bonding experience for you and your pup, it has the potential to put you into a heavy sleep in minutes.

I can’t solve your medical or financial or relationship problems. But if you do at least the majority of these things daily, you can make whatever problems you have a little less shitty.