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 www.sherwood.ie of Lough Dan in Co Wicklow – one of my very favourite places to walk.