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Smiling sun balloon in grass

By Emily Skehill, Manager of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services at Mental Health America

It’s safe to say that most people are having a tough time right now. Talking through your feelings can be helpful, but it’s also important to spend some time in a more positive headspace too. We could all use some cheering up - here are some ways to brighten your friends’ days!

  1. Send a cute animal photo.
    What’s better than looking at cute (or funny) animal pictures? Make someone’s day by sending a random text with a photo that will put a smile on their face. Bonus: while searching for the perfect one to send to your friend, you can look at as many as you want!
  2. Plan a game night with a group.
    It’s tough to cheer someone up when you’re limited to the virtual world. Luckily, some classic feel-good activities can be transferred online. Round up a crew for game night – you can find classics like Scattergories, Bingo, trivia, and so much more available to play with friends via video call.
  3. Reach out first.
    When we aren’t feeling our best, reaching out can be daunting. If you know your friend is having a tough time – or even if you don’t but are having a good day yourself – start the conversation! Sometimes just knowing that someone wants to talk to you can lift our spirits.
  4. Do an extra chore.
    If you aren’t living alone right now, pick up an extra task around your home! One less thing on your roommate or family members’ plate will go a long way in making them feel supported.
  5. Send a motivational text.
    It’s always nice to know someone is rooting for you. Whether you send a simple “thinking of you – hang in there!” or scour Pinterest for your favorite quote/graphic combo, a little bit of inspiration will be appreciated.
  6. Watch a movie together.
    Watching a movie alone isn’t always as entertaining as watching with a friend. Find something on Netflix (light-hearted comedies are a good choice), make some popcorn, and watch it from your own homes. You can count down and press play at the same time or download Netflix Party to sync up and have a chat box on the side.
  7. If you live near them, plan a socially distant outing!
    Grab some snacks and head to an empty parking lot. You may have to shout to each other from your cars, but just seeing each other – without screens involved – can help you both feel more connected.
  8. Send a letter.
    It’s always exciting to receive snail mail! Make some cards or buy printable ones online (ideally from a small business or Etsy shop). Write about your favorite memories together, draw a picture, or tell them what they mean to you.
  9. Have a few dollars to spare? Venmo someone for coffee on you!
    Money is tight for most of us right now. If you have some extra cash, pass it on to a friend for a drink - their local coffee shop may offer curbside pick-up or they can get a virtual gift card and save it for a treat once places reopen. They’ll feel loved and have a reason to get out of the house, and a small business will benefit too – everyone wins!
  10. Send a story of kindness.
    There’s a lot of scary stuff happening right now, but there are so many people rising up to help each other. If you see a story that gives you some hope, send it to others to pass that feeling along. Need some ideas to get started? This article includes a bunch of feel-good stories from around the world.