A list of do's and don'ts for cheering yourself up

I have been having one of those periods of drift and slump.  They don't tend to last long for me so in an effort to shake it off I offer you a short list of do's and don't's for attempting to get rid of it, like a dog shaking off water:
  1. Do watch chickens run, not hop and scratch, really run as in hurtling along.  Their legs splay and somehow they manage both the speed of hurtling with the action of waddling.  It never fails to make me smile.
  2. Do spend time with a just four year old. Me: "Let's play a guessing a game.  I'm thinking of an animal that lives in a field.  You have to guess what it is."  Him: several sensible attempts and then successful guess.  Him: "It's my turn.  It's an animal that lives in a field and its dangerous."  Me: several attempts and success.  It's a bull.  We go back and forth.  I think he's got it.  Then I throw him a curve ball: "I'm thinking of an animal that lives in Africa."  He tries and fails and fails again.  Me: "I'll give you a clue.  It is heavy and it charges and it has a horn."  He gets it, a rhino.  "My turn, my turn, Grandma.  It lives in Africa.  I'll give you a clue.  It's an elephant."  Me: "Is it an elephant?" Him, indignantly: "That's not fair, Grandma.  You have to guess."
  3. Do turn up the faces of your drooping hellebores and marvel at their beauty.
  4. Do spend an evening with your adult children and listen to them take the mick out of each other.
  5. Do cook a fabulous lamb tagine.
  6. Do watch Rhod Gilbert trying to be a dustbin man.
And some don't's:
  1. Don't watch the news.  This is quite a hard one for a news junkie like me but sometimes it's a great idea to take a day or two off the relentless tide of disaster, cupidity and incompetence.
  2. Don't read the Daily Mail, ever.
  3. Don't watch any form of reality TV, even for a few minutes.  Big Brother and I'm a Celebrity are obvious ones but pretty much everything in this format has been set up to be "good television" for which read strife and anguish, real or hyped.
  4. Don't eat the extra biscuit or the second piece of cake.  You just feel fat, lacking in will power and, if its the second piece of cake, faintly sick.
  5. Don't finish the bottle.
And now I am going to take my book and go to bed.  Tomorrow, as Scarlett said, is another day.


  1. A hen running - I've never thought of thinking of a hen running when miserable or at times of stress but now I know it's perfect as part of a cheering-oneself solution.

    I'm going to sleep happy.


  2. Possession being nine-tenths (and all that) I occasionally race to the kitchen in an effort to avoid anyone switching on the early morning news...'way too depressing at that hour.
    And this morning we had a couple of wild ducks dabbling in a tiny garden pond...a fine sight to get the day started!

  3. I love listening to my kids talk together, best moment last year was listening to them chat in the garden after going out for dinner together.
    and good advice about the crappy telly:-)
    thanks for sharing

  4. Another evocative post from you, Elizabeth!

    Hens running - a wondrous sight, like fat ladies in bloomers, holding up their skirts....

    And kids affectionately teasing each other - during my son't monosyllabic/grunting teenage years, I would overhear him and his friends and be amazed by how articulate and witty they were.

    I hope you stayed cheered up?

  5. Can I add 'watch lambs skipping' to the list of do's? Seeing them running and jumping in the sunshine really lifts my spirits.

  6. Do go for a long ramble, taking only a dog for company.
    Do put your feet up and get stuck in that frivolous novel you have been meaning to read for ages but were too embarrassed to take from the pile in which you've hidden it.
    Do an Araucaria crossword with your significant other.

    Do not go into a huge supermarket full of harassed shoppers who shove their trolleys into the back of your legs and glare at you as if it's your fault.
    Do not waste time housecleaning and ironing when the day is good enough for a spot of gardening.
    D not work yourself into a frenzy over prevailing attitudes, people you dislike and politicians' misdeeds.

  7. A lot of great advice to chase away those blues that find all of us!!

  8. You've listed some of my favorites and some of my most detested!
    Do watch goats play together.
    Do go to the sea and take a deep breath if you can get there.
    Do stand under a blossoming tree, tilt your head back and look through to the blue sky.

    Don't go anywhere near a shopping mall
    Don't beat yourself up for finishing the cake and/or the bottle

  9. Wonderful suggestions! Feel better. A book in bed will help, I'm sure of it!

  10. Great advice :-)

    Hens running across the lawn - like ample ladies running for a bus :-)

    Have a good day. Frosty but sunny here. Hens very very busy trashing the lawn (sigh!)


  11. Some good suggestions on do's and don't's for chasing away slumps or stresses. I agree with all your don't's especially reality TV and the Daily Mail thing. Supermarkets and shopping malls never fail to make me miserable!

    For do's, you can't beat a good walk or a good book, marvelling at the leisure of a sleeping cat, a spot of therapeutic weeding or just a nice cuddle. Aah.

    Hope today is a better day Elizabeth.


  12. good list! I would add, go for a walk with your dogs. Watching them gallop in huge crazy circles just for the fun of it, never fails to lift my spirits.

  13. Some very sound advice. I think that animals and grandchildren are always trying to cheer us up and show us that life is not all bad. We need to drag ourselves away from all those negatives and let them...Tramp Czech Republic

  14. Some excellent advice. I love the hens running one and the elephant anecdote reminds me of a number of similar things I've had with my own children. You are so right about not listening to the news. It is entirely reported with a negative slant, even where a positive one exists (and the same goes for reality TV shows).

    Can I also add to your list: Watch a dog helpfully carry a roll of wrapping paper from the car and along a path through a narrow doorway. Had me doubled up this morning!

  15. I think I'd have to add 'Don't read everyone tweeting about their Fab Lives on Twitter'... and I'm on it! It's just that sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person having a rubbish day

  16. Excellent guide... I couldn't agree more about the reality tv and extra biscuit suggestions... Now I just need the willpower to stay away from the biscuits.

    In my eyes the best way is not to buy them at all, but that also involves willpower ;)

  17. I don't have any chickens, but love watching the birds through the kitchen window, pecking away at the bird feeder. And another cheer-up - walking around the garden after a shower. Doesn't everything look so clean and fresh!

  18. Come to think of it, any poultry running is amusing. Geese, swans, ducks, pheasant, ostrich, peacock - all right I don't know where poultry begins or ends - what is poultry, exactly (and why are there Poultry's but not Poultry Streets in London and Bath and who knows where else? Are swans Poultry? If you're not the Queen, that is. When we weren't discussing poultry the children and I would play a game 'Who's the first one to see a plant or animal beginning with.....'B' Of course if I had said 'P' younger and uber-competitive daughter would have cried out 'poultry' at the first thing with feathers. But I don't know whether this would have counted. We would then have an argument over the rules. At least it stopped us reading the Daily Mail.

  19. A good list - couldn't 'do finish the bottle' be in either category?

    I almost never read or watch the news - very long story - it made a huge and surprising difference to my life. I read books instead.

  20. I really like these Elizabeth, particularly the running hen. They are hystericcal aren't they? I agree with the finishing of the bottle (but am not so good at managing it!). Hope the drift drifts away for you x

  21. And - DO read nice blogs! Lovely to be back in touch. Love your description of the hens. Aren't they wonderful time wasters, I do miss having them. Wild birds are currently doing it for me just now they are so busy eating!
    Hoping you are feeling happier today.

  22. Oh I have to disagree about the Mail. I read it purely because it's so ridiculous it makes me laugh. OK, sometimes it makes me rant a bit, but I usually get at least one good post out of it!

  23. Add ducks to your list they are funny whatever they are doing!

  24. Loved reading this post - cheered me up just thinking about the hens!

  25. Ok, so I haven't read all the comments (sorry) but I empathise with your thoughts on puling oneself out of the slough of despond. I could add my own, but won't but entertaining little grandchildren is probably the best. And creating something with one's hands - so concentrated that one cannot use the brain to analyse anything else. Is it a left-brain, right-brain thing do you think?

  26. Lucy - glad to be of help!
    SMS - wild ducks would be a great addition.
    Martine - It is great isn't it, hearing your kids talking to each other and liking them!
    Rachel - yes thanks, a couple of days with elder daughter and younger son have been just the thing, and being back home is pretty good too.
    Mountainear - had not thought of lambs skipping but that is so right.
    Friko - oh, more good ideas here, thanks.
    Kim - it is great to get others' ideas too.
    Pondside - ooh, more good ideas. I love the blossoming tree and the not beating oneself up for finishing the bottle or the cake.

  27. Kim - a book in bed is always a winner isn't it?
    Celia - oh yes, the running for the bus image is perfect.
    Jeanne - check for supermarkets and shopping malls, check in the other direction for sleeping cats.
    Kath - ah, might post about this as have just taken in my son's dog for a month.
    Tramp - as you say, we just have to go with all the mood lifters.
    PM - love your dog story too!
    Chris - oh yes, you are not alone in having the occasional rubbish day.

  28. Oh goodness - DO restyle your blog. It cheers your readers no end! Aha - you have already done so.

    These are excellent tips. I will try, at least to follow the ones concerning confectionery and 'bottles'. So far the confectionery one has already been broken today.

    I do hope that things are a little less slumpy and that the sun is shining in Wales. The elephant story was a classic.

  29. Oh and something else to cheer you. My littlest, who is 21 months, likes to run. She's still quite new to it and falls often but when she runs she trails her arms behind her at 45 degrees. They are her 'go faster' arms. She looks like a funny, tiny little concorde.

  30. Since I'd done a post on getting over the blues myself I just had to zoom over and see what you had on your list. Your list is wonderful! love the bit with the four year old grandson. Must agree about the news ( we call it the body count at our house) and the reality TV. Give me English murder mysteries any day, like Rosemary and Thyme.


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