Laugh more, cry less: six tips for better mental health in 2021

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      If 2020 was a dessert, it was Rachel’s ground beef trifle from Friends. Many faced financial instability, pandemic-related anxiety, loneliness, and seasonal depression that unfortunately lasted all four seasons.

      But one thing is certain—we love a good opportunity to reset and restart.

      However, conquering the dreary winter months that follow the holidays without having several emotional breakdowns is challenging. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety from overspending and overeating around Christmas, and the back-to-work blues haunt many this time of year.

      According to research found on , 25 percent of study participants said they were the least happy in January compared to other months. In terms of seasons, 51 percent of the participants said they were the least happy in the winter.

      To help you over the daunting hump that is the first few months of 2021, we’ve crafted six unique recommendations that can improve your mental health.

      Find a funny podcast or television series

      Sometimes a belly-jiggling laugh can turn even the worst days around. This is why you should always have a roster of hilarious shows and witty podcasts to call on in case of emergency. We highly recommend It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, King of Queens, Kath & Kim, and Workin’ Moms.

      If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a bathtub, draw a bath with an alarming amount of bubbles, light some candles, and throw on a light-hearted podcast. Winter is not the time to immerse yourself in podcasts about Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.

      The following podcasts can melt away the agony felt from forgetting to wear deodorant combined with a poor review from your boss.

      • How Did This Get Made with comedians Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, and June Diane Raphae;
      • My Dad Wrote a Porno with Jamie Morton;
      • Inside the Closet with LGBTQ comics Mateo Lane and Emma Willmann;
      • Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper;
      • Girls Gotta Eat with comedians Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine;
      • and OOPS The Podcast with Francis Ellis and Giulio Gallarotti.

      Give CBD oil a try

      Cannabidiol (CBD) oil can be a great calming alternative for those who don’t enjoy hitting fat blunts.

      According to , CBD has the potential to benefit people with general and social anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even depression. CBD comes in several forms, including oils, ointments, beverages, gummies, and tinctures.

      The safest way to purchase CBD is by visiting a legal cannabis store where knowledgeable staff can provide product information and dosage suggestions.

      Discover new hobbies

      By keeping busy, you’ll have less time to focus on the stressors in your life. Whether you want to take up circle embroidery, painting, photography, or keeping a journal, rainy January provides you with the perfect opportunity.

      For those looking to get out of the house, consider safely volunteering at a local animal shelter or retirement home, or delivering food for SkipTheDishes. Finding a new hobby that provides you with extra income can ease some of the financial worry you may be experiencing. If you love frequenting thrift stores for preloved gems, consider refurbishing the items you find and selling them through Instagram or Etsy.

      If “lose weight” or “improve mood” is on your New Year’s resolution list, participating in online dance or kickboxing classes can help you achieve both goals. Tons of free class options can be found on YouTube.

      Start each day with a positive thought

      Replacing “I am so flipping tired” with a more positive thought each morning can work wonders on your mood and confidence. By jotting down something you like about yourself or one thing that you’re grateful for, you can change the outcome of your day.

      We are our own harshest critics, which is why it’s important to compliment yourself every once in a while. Try writing down a detailed positive affirmation or thought every morning for 30 days, then hang the piece of paper by your bed or bathroom sink as a constant reminder.

      Have more orgasms

      Gettin’ down and dirty is great for your mental health—it’s scientifically proven, we swear.

      Orgasms release neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin, which combat stress and depression. Along with boosting your mood, orgasms can also combat insomnia, improve focus and memory, alleviate pain, and more.

      No partner? No problem. A self-love session can work the exact same magic on your body. Check out these .

      Be mindful of who you spend time with

      Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

      This means that you should prioritize spending time with those who bring out the best in you. It’s perfectly fine to Marie Kondo your friends—if they no longer spark joy, distance yourself or politely end the friendship.

      During the pandemic, make a conscious effort to safely spend time outdoors with those you love. This will improve your mood and your relationships.

      If you’re still unable to find your happiness after implementing some healthy changes, consider speaking to a psychologist or to your family doctor about other options. Life is simply too short to be unhappy.