We have a looming ’austerity’ budget, a possible ‘Address to the Nation’ by our Taoiseach (which is clearly not to tell us that all is well), and apparently we are facing possible economic Armageddon with the demise of the Euro. Has anyone else had enough of this current tidal wave of bad news? Our media is just full of the gloom and doom – from individual stories of hardship and pain to the ‘celebrity’ economists who are currently kept fierce busy as they whizz from TV stations to radio studios. “ Agghhhh” I want to scream. “I have had enough. STOP!” I have reached saturation point. I can take no more.

This morning I dipped in and out of radio programmes but could find nothing to raise my spirits. I had gone to bed last night having stupidly watched both RTE’s Frontline and TV3’s Vincent Browne. Thankfully I cannot remember my dreams but my spirit was still sagging from the avalanche of awfulness that is, apparently fast approaching us.

So having walked the dog through a beautiful morning sunrise I came home to bake for a bit and then I took refuge in Twitter. “Please cheer me up” I cried, well I tweeted but you know what I mean. “Tell me how you distract yourself from the negativity without spending a fortune.” And Twitter being Twitter soon my screen was filling up with wonderful cheap ideas to protect your sanity and to balance the negativity. I just had to share them.

So here they are.. in no particular order, the very best suggestions on how to raise your spirits when all around you seems to be going south!

  • Reading a book by an open fire
  • A walk by the sea, (Dun Laoghaire Pier was a particular favourite of twitterers) followed perhaps by a Hot Port
  • A long soak in a hot bath – candles, wine and a book are optional extras.
  • A coffee in your favourite cafe (with cake) and a spot of people watching.
  • Blast your favourite music loudly and dance like a mad thing around your kitchen or office.
  • The Botanic Gardens – free and full of squirrels
  • A browse in a charity shop or around car boot sale – you never know what you might find.
  • A good natter with a friend.
  • A visit to your local library – free books and a repository of all kinds of interesting information.
  • Make a big pot of stew which you then devour followed by a tin of Quality Street (a very retro feel good idea, but I love it).
  • Switch to Lyric FM
  • Learn how to crochet and make something nice.
  • Birdsong
  • Visit an animal sanctuary and help out – walk the dogs or pet the cats etc.
  • Watch ‘the best of wipe-out’ clips on YouTube
  • A cycle in the Phoenix Park which apparently is only €10 for 3 hours – free deer, birds and monuments.
  • A walk in the mountains – remind yourself of just how really beautiful Ireland is.
  • Time spent with a pet – borrow one if you don’t have one of your own.
  • Finally, join a choir and sing your heart and lungs out.

I would have never included the choir suggestion as I am not much of a singer, but last weekend I was lucky enough to be part of the #twitterxmassingle. For those of you not on Twitter, this was the brainchild of one Brenda Drumm who within a week put together a choir, musicians, producers and technicians and last Sunday we all came together to record a very special version of Wintersong. The single will be released on Twitter in the coming days and will be available for download. All proceeds going to the Neonatal Unit of the National Maternity Hospital in Holes Street. I will be blogging in more detail about this when the song is ready to buy. But let me tell you that as someone who was intending just to help out in some capacity last Sunday, I ended up ‘in the choir’ and did my best to sing along. And I can tell you it was the most uplifting and fun experience I have had in ages. So yes I say – think of joining a choir to lift your spirits along with your voice.

So there you have it… some of the best ideas that Twitter offered me to cheer me up. Sex was also mentioned but whereas I happily concur that this is an instant pick me up (no pun intended) for the boys, there are a myriad of other factors to be taken into account for the wimmins… basically that is probably a different blog post.

But if none of the above rings your bell, get yourself on Twitter – there’s a whole load of people waiting to entertain and make you laugh. They’d cheer a body up ! Thank you Twitter friends for sharing your wisdom.

Photo by of Lough Dan in Co Wicklow – one of my very favourite places to walk.

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022


  1. Hi Barbara!

    You're right – the Twitter machine is a marvel, with so many wonderful people only too happy to help you feel better.

    I've stopped listening to the news. I am saturated with the sadness of it all. I was reminded this morning, though, that the Mayans predicted the end of the world as we know it on 12/12/12 – and many believe that this will be, no so much an ending, as a beginning of something new and wonderful. So I've stopped worrying about what is to come and decided to look forward to it instead. 🙂


  2. In the midst of doom & gloom we must think of those around us with whom we interact on a daily basis. I'm a firm believer that negativity breeds negativity and also that there are times to turn away from, what can be scaremongering, on our national airwaves. So when you feel you're being dragged down take a look at Barbara's post and you will see & believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. With the exception of the bath, and the fire (too much like work to get started with either) I like the sound of all of those, thanks Barbara.

    I had to make a poster for something I'm doing the other day. I ended up messing about making a pattern with coloured post-its. Crafty stuff can be expensive especially if you're like me and not able to make wonderful items out of scraps of rubbish around the house but the post-its didn't cost too much. I got a heap of long post-its in Easons for €7 and cut them in half (1,000 post-its). The colours of the post-its were lovely to work with and it's really really really easy to mess around with them and make changes.

    Inspiration here:

    Very simple, no-mess, no-pressure creativity. 😀

  4. Everywhere I went today, people were saying they're printing punts up in Sandyford. Now that is depressing.

    I used to be a news junkie but for the past year or so I've been gradually weaning myself off. It's just too much.

    Nowadays I haven't a clue what's going on half the time and avoid shows like Vincent Browne, Prime Time etc. It makes a big difference to the stress levels.

  5. Guys, RTE1 doesn't work in my house, resulting in me not watching the news in over 6 months. The results, I am so much happier and believe together we can do anything. I mean, I just look at the kids I deal with, they have so much hope and excitement…and that are my news.


  6. You are right, Barbara. Switch to Lyric FM is the best piece of advice.
    I am the queen of 'make do and mend', I should have been alive during the war.
    Only yesterday,I bought two books in VdePaul, one euro each, life is what you make it.
    For Irish readers, check out Farmleigh's Christmas programme, free and wonderful.

  7. You're right Barabara – We need positive people & positive thought around us. I joined a gaelscoil choir thanks to John Ivory on 'twitter' and took part in the TwitterXmasSingle and they were the two best decisions I've made recently…with eh..not a note in my head…my little lad delighted. Lovely blog. M.

  8. Oh wow – you hit this right on the nose. I was perfectly perky this morning. Had my boiled egg and soldiers, singing to myself on the Dart & ready for a productive day in the office. Then, I heard the news and I felt the life drip out of me. I spent the morning convincing myself not to worry about money.

    The media's persistent negativity (and our self-indulgence in it) serves no-one.

    I reckon daily gratitude should be our national medication.


  9. Excellent. Here's what I did a few years back – I drive to work and live a bit out of town so had spent too much time listening to the news on CBC radio. No more. I get audio books from the library. It makes me love my drive and I get through more books. LOVE IT. News that is delivered constantly and constantly focussed on the bad stuff is very bad for us. Get it once a week or at the least only once a day. I vote for baths, sex, and reruns of West Wing. Oh and knitting.

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