MOORHEAD — Hello folks, nice to be talking at you again.
Ever have those days when nothing seems to be going in the direction you'd like it to go? Ever have those days turn into weeks?
It's one of those feelings where nothing is really wrong, but everything just feels off, and there's no way to know what exactly triggered it or what is keeping you in that state. Soon one off day turns into two, then all of a sudden it's been a week and you find yourself looking forward to Sunday because you can finally take the naps that you've been waiting for since last Sunday.
That's what good ol' Emma has been dealing with for the past month or so. And it's time for it to stop. When us Vatnsdal children were younger, Papa V would read us a book by Kevin Henkes called "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" when we had a tough day. The line that has proven true for the past 15-odd years reminds me that even when one day is rough, it doesn't mean that tomorrow won't be different. That's why this week, I am bringing you all (but also me) five ways to go left so tomorrow can be better.
Do you have a song? That one song that, no matter what is going on, you can drop everything and scream it from the top of your lungs and feel 76 times better about everything?
Everyone needs one of these songs when they're feeling bummed about life. For me, it's "The Entertainer" by Billy Joel, "Son of Man" by Phil Collins (from Disney's "Tarzan") or the entire "Book of Mormon" Broadway album. Turn any of those bad boys on and the world immediately becomes my personal stage. And I promise you, I. Go. Hard.
It doesn't have to be fancy. Heck, most Disney songs can bring people out of a funk even if just for a little bit. Just hit shuffle on your music and let 'er buck.
Werk it, home-skillet
Food is great and all, but the amount of satisfaction you get after a good, hard workout is really hard to beat.
I'll be honest, I am a bit hypocritical when I am telling you to work out. But, like I said in the opening of this little ditty, things have to change. It's time to start using the gym membership I've been paying for and not using since February.
It's hard, I get it. Bundling up to drag your behind to the gym is one thing, but staying motivated when you get there is another. I've found the way to keep myself going once I get there is use the reward system.
My gym has massage beds available when you pay for a certain level of membership. Work out for 45 minutes? Great! Have yourself a 10-minute massage! You're paying for it anyway, so you may as well enjoy it! I also keep one special show on Netflix or Hulu reserved for when I am doing cardio at the gym. It distracts me from the death I am feeling as I make a sad attempt at working out. Also, when I have a hankering for watching that show, I know I have to get my booty to the gym.
All of this worked for me in the past, so why can't it work for me now? Besides, workout clothes are really cute. You gotta show them off!
There's nothing better than a bowl of your mom's spaghetti or your dad's pancakes to bring you out of the dimly lit mindspace you've been living in. Or, at least into a brighter area.
As previously mentioned, I am a HUGE noods guy. Pasta is my favorite thing in the world when things aren't great. But when you slop on some of Mamma V's sketty sauce, mmm. Perfection.
To make the gloriousness that is the ultimate in comfort food, brown 1 pound of hamburger seasoned with season salt, garlic salt and Italian seasoning, along with some onion in a big pot. Once the burger is done cooking, drain it. To the browned burger and onions, add a jar of the "meat-flavored" spaghetti sauce, along with a can of petite-diced tomatoes (and the water!!) and a small can of mushrooms. Season your sauce mixture with more garlic salt and Italian seasoning and a quarter-cup of sugar. Mix it up and let 'er simmer while you boil some long sketty noods. (Note: the noods MUST be long noods. I will not stand for any of this short-nood malarkey. It's an abomination.)
Toss on some sauce and you have yourself the ultimate comfort meal. You're welcome.
I've always had a love of reading. It's one of the few things I can do that will consistently bring me joy no matter how terrible I'm feeling. How great is it that you can stare at ink markings on a thin slice of dead tree and be transported into another world? Crazy.
It doesn't have to be books, though. Find what your "books" is. That one thing that, despite being in a dark, dark place, will always bring that spark of light. It could be playing with your pet, talking to a loved one or even just taking a few minutes to check in with yourself and find what you need to feel better.
Find your book.
Take a bath, light some candles and slap on a face mask.
Self-care is important. Especially as the weather starts to turn and the days get even shorter. Drink some water, shut off your phone for the night (unless you're using it to read The Forum — then please continue to do so! We like readers!!) and enjoy some time to yourself. You deserve it!!
Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.