14 instant pick-me-ups for when you need a boost

Post by Open Colleges on June 1st, 2016

We all have down days where we feel sad, low, depressed or unmotivated. What you need on these days is an instant boost! Below you will find a list of 14 instant pick-me-ups that will help you through the tough days.

Borrow a dog or a cat

Animals are fantastic! They have zero concerns about outward appearances, and provide unconditional love. Amusing, cute, energetic, lazy, furry and kind, what’s not to love?

So next time you’re feeling low, ask a friend or family member if you can borrow their dog to take for a walk in the park. Or you could borrow their cat and cuddle it while watching a movie. It’s amazing at what a difference spending time with an animal can make to your mood.

Even science agrees! With a number of studies finding people who spent time with animals experienced some real positive effects including, lower blood pressure, a sense of belonging, fewer colds and flus, less stress and elevated mood levels.

Give someone a compliment

Giving someone a compliment when you’re feeling low sounds strange, right? Well that may be so, but there’s actually logic behind the move.

Offering up a compliment takes your focus off yourself, and helps you to get out of your own head.

When you’re low, it’s easy to get locked inside your own head and to stay in a cycle of negative thinking about yourself and your situation. Giving a compliment helps you to turn your focus outwards, engage with people and start to notice the world around you.

It’s also a really good feeling to make someone else genuinely feel good about themselves.

Dance and stretch

You don’t always have to go for a 40 minute run to feel better. Moving your body a little when you’re feeling down not only releases feelgood endorphins, but the more you really focus on your body and how it feels as you move and stretch, the more your nervous system becomes ‘unstuck’.

A quick groove in your pyjamas to your favourite song, followed by a good stretch helps to centre and balance you, while also giving you a good dose of happiness hormones to make you feel more positive about the world.

Embrace a saying

Our thoughts determine our life, so when you’re feeling down, it’s likely your thoughts will be pretty negative.

Counter this by finding a mantra and repeating it to yourself. It doesn’t have to take long, just keep repeating it to yourself throughout the day. It is amazing what a little change like this can do.

Mantras you may like to choose:

‘Let’s just be awesome.’

‘Feel my feelings and let them go.’

‘What can I learn from this?’

‘I deserve to be happy.’

‘I feel secure in who I am, I don’t need to compare myself to others.’

Buy yourself flowers

There’s something about the luxury of buying a big bunch of flowers to spoil yourself that just makes you feel better.

Beautiful, colourful and fragrant, flowers are the ultimate instant pick-me-up.

Visualise things working out

Amazing things happen in our brain when we visualise success. Science has found that visualisation can actually produce the same patterns in the brain as doing the action would. Visualisation is like a dress rehearsal for success.

So next time you are feeling low, take a deep breath and visualise things working out for the best.


Looking up at a beautiful starry evening sky can help us to feel a part of something big and amazing. Contemplating the wonders of the universe can also help to get you out of your head and disrupt your negative thinking patterns.

You may even want to have a bit of a Google about constellations, and when you’re looking up into the sky, see if you can spot them!

Eat really good chocolate

Go to the shops and find a small block of the highest quality chocolate you can see. Skip over the usual suspects, and head right for the fancy one that you usually wouldn’t pick because it’s too luxurious. Then buy it.

Once you’re home, eat it. On the couch in front of your favourite movie, on a rug outside in the sunshine, in the bath, or snugged up in bed!

Go to a discount store with $20

Need some retail therapy to get your mind off things? One fun, instant boost that won’t cost you the earth involves heading to a local discount store with $20 in your wallet.

Spend up on fun and comforting things like nail kits, candles, paints and paper, etc.

Then take all your goodies home and enjoy them!

Check out some history at the museum

Nothing boosts the imagination like a visit to the local museum. Learn about the past, about cultures that came and went, and about the thousands of years of history all in the blink of an afternoon.

A trip to the museum will inspire you and ignite your curiosity. Most importantly, it will get you out of yourself!

Sweat it out!

Head down to your local pool, spa or hotel, anywhere that has a sauna or a steam room. Pack a book, a towel and sit back in the heat, while your muscles unlock and release, your skin gets a good cleanse and your immune system gets a good boost!

Watch movies you used to love as a child

Nothing is quite as comforting as a movie that you loved as a child.

So when you need a boost, find a childhood favourite, build yourself a pillow and doona fort in front of the television and lose yourself for an hour or so.

Buy a plant

Pay a visit to your local nursery, buy yourself a colourful plant and take it home.

Pop your plant in a prominent position inside or outside your place, give it a name, care for it and watch it bloom and grow!

We all have bad days, it’s a part of life. Being kind to ourselves on our off days can make a huge difference to how long the dark clouds hang around. So next time you’re having a low day, give yourself a break and try one of the above instant pick-me-ups. And remember, as with all things, bad days will pass.

General advice Popular topic Student success
Open Colleges
By Open Colleges