Pinteresting Yourself Well (and other tips for dark days)

I was at a little shindig this afternoon for a pal's 50th. I have never had a Danish birthday cake before but I was impressed. It's a giant pastry person and the birthday girl chops off his head while everybody screams.

Apologize for the fuzziness; because screaming. 

As someone who is one quarter Scandanavian and prone to the macabre, this very much appeals. It's right up there with putting that candle crown on your head and lighting it on fire. Seriously, I love that kind of thing.

At the birthday lunch, a friend asked how I'd being doing and I told her I'd been in a real funk. I was at a party a few weeks ago and one of the guys was very handsy in a way that felt not-at-all playful and it sort of re-traumatized me. Then, a woman who had done something quite unkind when I first moved to town reached out in kindness, but, coupled with the other incident, it left me reeling. I felt like I was back in the place I was in over two years ago. I had a very dark couple of weeks.

My friend said that I looked well enough now and asked what I'd done to get better. My honest answer was that I sought out pleasant things. She has a very positive Instagram feed and I told her that reading her posts was hugely helpful. I told her I thought I'd also Pinterested myself well.

Seriously. I got on Pinterest, which was something I'd mainly used for research for my book and compiling my wish lists to help guide Mr. DoTT in his gift giving. I started pinning motivational quotes and pictures of cats in berets. Because, can you really be depressed if somewhere on the planet, there is a cat wearing a small striped shirt and a beret?

I thought about what else I did that made me feel better. 

I made myself exercise even though I did not feel like it at all. I'm a fan of a class called Group Blast. It's a step class and I have zero coordination, so I can't think about anything else when I do it. It's like cardio meditation. And the music is upbeat. It's hard to be down when you are doing reaction jumps to Pitbull's Fireball. 

I read a book that suited my mood. In this case it was My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh. Sometimes it's nice to feel like there is something tangible that it making you feel sad. Plus, this is simply a beautiful novel. 

I also gardened. I hate to garden because of my allergies, but I had a flower bed that had gone to weeds. I pulled out everything and turned the soil. There is something beautiful about the concept of tabula rasa: a fresh start. Even if I can't have one, my garden can. 

I made some plans for the future to help me focus on that instead of the past. That was useful too.

I had a doctor's appointment pre-booked and during my physical I told her that I was down. We agreed that what I was suffering was situational rather than clinical. And that time would help. It reminded me of a beautiful essay that Canada's newest Health Minister, Jane Philpott, wrote about dealing with grief:

I have an enduring memory of the line-up of people who came to greet us that morning. There was a queue of townspeople and hospital employees – some of them knew us personally and others had heard the news and wanted to bring greetings. That was the day I learned a common Hausa greeting at a time of mourning. One by one they shook our hands. With tones of sympathy and empathy, they said to us: “Sai hankuri”. This means: “There is only patience.”
At times like this, sometimes patience is required even though that's not something I like to accept.

I also made sure that life went on. Meals were cooked, clothes were washed, and children were driven to activities. Makeup was applied. (For those who care, I'm currently wearing Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Fiction because lipstick is a bit of a cure-all for me and the name makes me feel like working on my book.)

These steps might not work for everyone but they certainly worked for me.

I hope your days are bright right now. Are there things that you rely on to make you feel better? I'd love to know your tips.


  1. I just feel it out. I don't try to make myself better. But having said that I tend to see problems from the third person. I love travel but everything I return I have a hard time adjusting to London and had a down day last week but now I'm embracing the darkness and the coming winter...

    But I do wonder more and more of happiness is genetic?

    Reminds me to plant my bulbs!

    Hope you are well but writing might get certain parts of the brain more active too xx

  2. Thanks for your ideas on this. I did research on happiness for a magazine article and apparently there is a certain baseline component that you can't do anything about. Given that I come from Scandinavian stock, I assume that I will always have slightly morose tendencies. I need to get bulbs in too before the freeze. Thanks for reminding me!


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