It’s Feeling REALLY Bleak Out There Right Now—Here’s What’s Giving 6 Well+Good Staffers Joy

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It would be an understatement to say it's been a time. Not only have the past few months brought major threats to basic human rights and the health of our environment, but also, gun violence has been on such a steep rise in this country, experts suspect we're becoming practically numb to its horrific effects. And don't forget, the lingering pandemic still droning on in the background. All of that's to say, if there were ever a time when some—any!—amount of joy or products that spark it might be wholeheartedly appreciated, I'd say it's right now.

Though you don't necessarily need any particular things to experience joy (heck, you could always have a shower-singing party or dance your heart out in your living room), dire times call for pulling out all the stops. And that's why I've polled the Well+Good team—and dug into my own happiness-boosting arsenal—to gather the rituals, practices, and, yes, products that we're all using right now to spark a little more joy in these rather joy-parched times. My hope? That you'll pick up one or more of these ideas to infuse some more joy into your life, too.

Here are the practices and products that spark joy for 6 Well+Good staffers

Spending time on the water

"Thank goodness for my paddle board, which has become my own floating oasis these days. I've been paddling for a few years for exercise, but lately, my newest board feels more like a sanctuary than ever. I bring some snacks, sunscreen, and a bit of water, hit the lake, and zone out. I can just float away... literally." —Frankie Krempa, associate commerce editor

Diffusing a soothing scent

"The activity that's always most effective in taking my mind off all the terrible things is my sculpt class at my local yoga studio. (Basically, my brain is too busy trying to balance on one leg while doing a deadlift to worry about societal collapse.) But even when I'm not working out, I can set a joyful mood in my own bedroom by recreating that yoga-studio smell with essential oils. I've tried a bunch of different diffusers, and Alo's is nice and large (so you can run it all night) and easy to clean (no mold to be found). The brand also makes some really nice essential-oil blends—my favorites are Chill + Unwind and Breathe + Spa—which have helped keep me calmer and allow me to feel happier as I unwind with a book or show." —Gina Vaynshteyn, senior commerce editor

Making Shirley Temples

"Making Shirley Temples (yes, the drink) as an afternoon or evening pick-me-up is sparking lots of joy for me. It feels fancy and nostalgic and childlike all at the same time, and is just delicious. There's also a trend right now of Dirty Shirleys, aka spiked Shirley Temples, which sounds delicious, as well, but I have yet to make one... maybe joy for another day. The real trick is using very fancy maraschino cherries. My favorite? The OG Luxardo." —Samantha Leal, deputy editor

Cleaning and organizing (yes, really)

"I'm due to have a baby any day now, and even though I've never been a Danny Tanner or Monica Geller type, I cannot stop organizing. Specifically, I've been stocking the baby's wardrobe with outfits in fabrics so soft, I wish I could wear 'em myself. And the washing and folding and hanging up of garments is giving me joy. Posh Peanut's PACMAN-themed pajama onesie, in particular, is so cute, I could cry just looking at it in the dresser drawer. (The hormones are real, folks.)" —Alexis Berger, lifestyle director

Sipping a sparkling beverage during the workday

"I am constantly reminding myself to drink more water because when I'm not hydrated, I find that I am way more anxious. And one way I've been able to stay on top of my hydration goals is with Liquid Death. Yes, it's another sparkling water brand, but the branding is just so...badass that I pretty much always have one on my desk. It just makes me smile because it looks like I'm chugging a beer and should be listening to Metallica, but it's just water with some light fruit flavoring. You can also get the plain version, which I really love—honestly way more than a Pellegrino or whatever fancier sparkling water may typically come to mind." —Vaynshteyn

Releasing back tension

"I recently bought one of these back stretchers with acupressure release points that I've been laying on every day after work for at least 10 minutes. Feeling relief course through my body after spending all day hunched over a computer is a very specific type of joy, and one that I'm all about." —Leal

Taking a spa-like shower

"I live in a 500-square-foot studio apartment with a boyfriend and a dog, and my nightly shower has become my only way to escape (love you both!). Instead of jumping in and out as quickly as possible the way I used to, I now take the opportunity to really enjoy the moment—and the alone time has become almost meditative to me. To make the experience feel extra spa-like, I start by dropping an Esker shower bomb on the floor, which fills my bathroom with eucalyptus-scented steam. I also have an entire collection of luxurious-smelling body washes—which I alternate between, depending on my mood—and will often treat myself to a scalp massage with a scrubber, a deep-conditioning mask, and full-body exfoliation." —Zoe Weiner, senior beauty editor

Practicing a nighttime body-care ritual

"While my nightly shower is definitely a self-care moment, these days, I'll keep that vibe going even after I step out. Once I'm clean, I make a lotion sandwich by coating my entire body with a layer of lotion (I've been loving the ones from Saltair lately), then seal it in with a layer of oil before moving onto my absurdly long face-care routine and slipping into my favorite silk pajamas." —Weiner

Raising a glass of chic, non-alcoholic wine

Personally, I've been on a doctor-ordered booze-free journey for a few months now thanks to a pesky stomach issue, but only recently did I fully give up my skepticism about non-alcoholic wine and embrace the trend at home. And I'll just say, I'm so glad that I did because cracking open a bottle of the Gallica rosé from Acid League's Proxies Club sparks (almost) as much joy as the real thing. It's as tangy, refreshing, and crisp as any great, dry alcoholic rosé, and I've found that even just the act of pouring it into my wine glasses—after months of those things collecting dust—brings about its own kind of buzz.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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