Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt.

Every so often, I find myself slumping in my desk chair, zombie-eyed, scrolling through social media. After about 30 minutes (equalling approximately 200 photos) spent looking at Justin Bieber’s #tbt’s, I’ll snap the heck out of it and realize, Oh my god! I’ve been doing this for way too long, and it’s making me feel absolutely dead! When this realization strikes, I toss my phone into the furthest corner of my room, and get busy doing one of my go-to brain-healing activities:

Thrift. When I desperately need to unglue my eyeballs from my computer screen, my first instinct is to hop in my car and drive to ye ’ol Goodwill, or any thrift store in my vicinity, really. I am low-key obsessed (that’s a lie, I am high-key obsessed) with buying used clothes to cut them up, sew them, paint them, or really modify them in any way. On these trips, I like to go straight from the thrift store to a craft store—I find that being in a craft store helps me get *INSPIRED* and in the mood to make cool stuff out of whatever I just bought. Lately, I’ve been really into painting my clothes, shoes, and bags. You can pick up some fabric painting medium for less than $3 at most craft stores, in the acrylic paint aisle. Mix a little bit of this nifty stuff with acrylic paint, and VOILA! It’s safe to put on fabric! Paint whatever your heart desires, and then spray it with a sealant (these come in a can in the spray paint aisle—try Krylon or Mod Podge brand). I’m currently working on painting an anatomical heart in space onto a faux-leather purse I thrifted for $2, but the possibilities are literally endless.

Look up. I’ve recently adopted Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s motto, “keep looking up,” as one of my own personal mantras. Looking at the sky is probably like, my favorite thing ever—how cool is it to think about the fact that we’re on a planet that’s LITERALLY ORBITING IN SPACE? That being said, I highly recommend playing around with a telescope. If you don’t have one, ask around! My brother got one for Christmas a few years ago and never really uses it, so I steal it from him on the regular to gaze at the moon. Because it’s winter here in the northern hemisphere, you can see the moon while it’s still pretty bright outside. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with hauling my telescope outside in the late afternoon (like 3 or 4 PM) to look at the moon surrounded by the bright blue sky, and take pictures of it by placing my camera lens right onto the telescope lens.

Learn to play an instrument. You know that old guitar that sits in a corner of your house, collecting dust? Or the violin that you played for a few years in school? Yeah. Pick it up! I highly recommend hitting up a local library or music store and getting a beginner’s guide to whatever instrument you’re into, and working your way through it. One of my favorite things to do lately is print off guitar tabs for songs that I’m into (this site has a huge database of songs for free!) and learn to play them. There are also sites like MusicNotes that allow you to purchase sheet music for just a couple dollars, and then print it out at home. I recently learned how to play “Hotline Bling” on violin, and honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time.

Clean out a closet. OK, I’m gonna show my Boring Adult-ish Side here, but cleaning out my closet is probably my favorite way to de-stress. Like making your bed or picking up clutter, it’ll help you feel a little neater, a little more organized, and will (hopefully) open up a good bit of space in your closet. I like to go through each piece of clothing and ask myself a couple of questions: (1) Have I worn this in the past year? and (2) Do I see myself wearing it again soon?. Be honest! If the answer to both questions is “no,” throw it in the donate pile. If you answered “yes” to both, *neatly* put it back into your closet. Once you’re finished, you’ll feel so. much. better. I promise!

Make terrariums. This is probably the most fun craft ever. You can create a teeny tiny world full of whatever you like! I love this Yeti terrarium by Mab Graves, and especially this Beetlejuice-themed one! Pick up a jar or container and some small figurines (dollhouse furniture is PERFECT) from a thrift store, and some dirt, moss, and pebbles from your backyard (be sure to let the dirt and moss dry out completely before putting it in the terrarium. I pour mine into a plastic container and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours, just to be sure it’s dry!). Pour in the pebbles, dirt, and moss, and then arrange the figurines to your liking. Ta-da! You have a tiny, cute world, ready to be gifted to a pal, or set on your bedside table. Don’t you just wish you could LIVE in it?!

Take pictures. As a totally photo-obsessed human, I fully encourage you to take a camera with you anywhere and everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if that camera is your phone, a disposable camera, or a Go-Pro taped to your cranium. Just. Document. Your. Day! These photos could be easily used in a li’l zine, or could even be taped to your wall. I like to play around with DIY filters to get cool effects on my photos. Try stretching a piece of cheesecloth over the lens for a dreamy look, or even holding tinted transparencies in front of it for a pretty colorful effect! ♦