By Michele Herenstein

It all started with a piece of cake.

Sometimes my mood plummets and I feel down and need a pick-me-up. I’ve thought, what could be something that would lift my spirits? For me, it’s a large piece of caramel cake with caramel icing and frosting. I don’t splurge with cake often, but when I do, I feel elation. I feel so uplifted after devouring this piece of cake. It’s like a runner’s high. It’s like an adrenaline pill. Many people feel guilty after a large yummy piece of cake. I do not. I treat myself to a gift and I’m glad for it.

Everyone has moments when they need a pick-me-up, when they feel bad about themselves, or when they need something to make them feel upbeat. Whatever they find to treat themselves is a positive reward.

Whether you buy yourself a gift, learn some Tehillim, eat your favorite foods, buy a gift for someone you love, or volunteer, hopefully you are making yourself feel a lot better.

Maybe meditation or listening to your favorite songs would help. Perhaps a book or a podcast will distract you from your worries.

Some people love to drive; they find it freeing. The change of scenery gives them a sense of freedom. I sometimes like being in the car, although not driving long distances. I actually have a goal of taking driving lessons to learn to drive on highways. I feel the need to be more independent.

According to Nancy Schimelpfening, author of “7 Mood-Boosting Gifts,” there are many ways of uplifting oneself from being down in the dumps. Deep tissue massage is beneficial and enjoyable at the same time.

“There’s growing evidence that for those who can master it, mindfulness meditation can help relieve depression. Sitting quietly and being ‘in the moment’ is inherently relaxing, but there’s more to it than that: Meditation actually can bring about physical changes in the brain, studies have found.”

Getting a dog forces you to be active and outdoors; “… simply cuddling or petting an animal of any type can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and soothe.”

There is too much weighing down our brains and bodies. We can only cope with so much stress. Many new apps include a breathing and relaxation technique. Several times a day, my watch “tells me” that it is time to take a minute to breathe. It doesn’t work for me because I can’t be interrupted while in the middle of writing or being busy to stop for a good, long breath. But I can see it being helpful for others. mentions ways to uplift your mood in “Fighting Depression” by Neel Burton, MD. “Break down large tasks into smaller ones, and set realistic deadlines for completing them. Try to reduce your levels of stress. Don’t blame yourself for ‘doing nothing’; you are merely giving yourself the time and space that you need to get better.”

Other ideas are: “Get out of the house, even if only to buy milk or for a walk in the park” and “Avoid making or acting upon important decisions.”

Self-care is super important and is discussed by the Powerful Mind blog. We must take care of ourselves, but it must be in a way that works for us. What works for one person may not work for someone else.

Elna Cain lists four ways to improve your mood: get active, limit your sugar, express yourself, and start a project (“4 Proven Ways to Uplift Your Mood,”

Some people try aromatherapy, yoga, essential oils, working in a garden, trying to make someone delightfully happy, listening to music, watching an old movie that brings back good memories, volunteering, donating, exercise, and obviously so much more. Everybody is completely different, so there are many ways to try to elevate your mood.

I have some new projects in the works, I’ve thought of getting a puppy (probably not going to happen), I’ve had cherished new friends to whom I can open up and express my feelings, and my writing gives me an adrenaline rush. It’s my writer’s high! It’s my favorite thing. I imagine myself writing, eating a piece of caramel cake, with a dog by my side, practicing deep breathing. How happy I could be!

There are easily more than 100 ways to take care of yourself. And don’t forget about laughter, which is quite fitting as we get closer to Purim. Laugh and laugh and laugh! Tasty hamantashen with singing and dancing is the best mood-lifter of all.

Happy Purim!

Michele Herenstein can be reached at


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