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7 Simple Ways To Make This Week A Little Less Shitty

Operation "just get through this week."

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1. Knock one thing that you've been putting off forever off your to-do list.

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Maybe it's making a doctor's appointment, or cleaning out your disgusting trash pit of a closet, or buying a pair of jeans that isn't worn down in the crotch. There's SOMETHING you need to do and haven't. Whatever it is, you'll feel so much relief once it's not hanging over you anymore, clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D, tells BuzzFeed Health.

2. Try to pet an animal.

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There's a reason some universities bring in therapy dogs during finals week when students are on the edge of stress-induced breakdowns. Being around animals is soothing AF, according to Bonior, so go out of your way to get some animal therapy this week.

Obviously, it's a little more difficult to get some one-on-one time with animals if you don't actually own one, but there are ways. Some are a bit less creepy and more ethical, like calling up a friend with a pet and asking to hang, or volunteering at a shelter. But if you have to sit around in parks waiting for dogs to pet or go into some pet stores and pretend like you're interested in adopting? SOME PEOPLE MIGHT JUDGE YOU, BUT I'M NOT ONE OF THEM.

3. Hang out with — or at least call — a friend or family member you've been meaning to catch up with.

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OK, sure, they might be momentarily super weirded out that you're rekindling the art of the telephone, but once they get over that, they'll be touched and you'll be happy for the social contact. Win-win. (But seriously, according to Bonior, maintaining your social life — which can be one of the first things to go when you're crazy-busy and overwhelmed — is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health.)

4. Try out keeping a ~gratitude list~ for a day.

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Or even a week. Write down all the little things you're grateful for, whether they're big things in your life (your friends and family) or small things that happened today (your Seamless order arrived 15 minutes early). "Reminding yourself of what you have leads to appreciation that helps you feel measurably more content," Bonior previously told us. Not only will it make you feel good as you're doing it, but you'll have something to look back on when you need a pick-me-up.

5. Go outside if there's even any semblance of sunshine out there.

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It's no coincidence that when the days get shorter and darker, you can start to feel like crap. Whether you're dealing with full-blown seasonal depression or not, the lack of sunlight can make you tired, cranky, and lethargic, so it's important to get outside for some fresh air and natural light, says Bonior. Obviously, getting your rays through cloud coverage isn't as good, but you'll still feel better.

6. Do something before bed besides watching Netflix.

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Getting a decent amount of sleep is pretty freaking important to your mental health and happiness. And as fun as it is to unwind before bed with an episode or two (or four or ten) of whatever you're currently bingeing on, research has shown that the blue light from electronics can keep you awake because it suppresses the production of melatonin. So screens before bed = having a harder time falling asleep and a harder time getting up in the morning. Instead, try going TV-free once or twice this week and see how you feel doing some of these activities.

7. Forgive yourself for something that's been weighing on you.

Briography / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: photosbybrionna

Everyone makes mistakes or has things they've been carrying around — and those things only make you feel guilty and ashamed. This week, give yourself permission to forgive yourself. Maybe there are a few amends that need to be made before you do that. Or maybe, you just need to acknowledge to yourself that you're choosing to move on. Bonior suggests writing something down about it and burning it. It's surprisingly cathartic — blow away the ashes and let the guilt and shame go with them.

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