I prefer the "wallowing" method. I will tell you how it's done. There are four basic components: Eating, Shopping, Diversions, and Brooding.
A. Caffeine things and sugar things and fat things. For maximum impact, take together. One of the nice things about normally taking your coffee with skim milk and Splenda is that in these sad times you can upgrade to heavy whipping cream and tons of sweetened flavored creamer. Wheeeee!
B. Supplements that let you feel like you're Taking Medicine---and may also incidentally help with mood and energy. I like fish oil, acidophilus, cod liver oil, iron, B-complex, vitamin C, flax seed oil, calcium with vitamin D, valerian root----er, not all at once, though taking a nice assortment each day gives me the happy feeling of being an Invalid. (I first checked with my doctor AND pharmacist, OF COURSE, and wouldn't advise taking supplements unless you first check with your own health care provider, especially if you actually ARE taking medicine.)
C. Salt things and fat things. For maximum impact, take together. It doesn't have to be Cheetos and Sour Cream & Onion Pringles---you could also do Doritos and cashews, or Chex Mix and Ruffles, or whatever is best for YOU. Customize your wallow.
A. Unnecessities. If financially possible, buy yourself some little things you don't really need. I focus on COMFORT and FUN. I find hair color particularly good, since the "Who cares?" attitude that accompanies a blue mood helps me get over the fear/change hurdle. I also bought a fleece throw blanket to snuggle in.
B. Fun versions of normally-purchased items. I find scented things particularly helpful. Vanilla-lavender (shown in the previous picture) is supposed to be soothing, and I do find it soothing. I have the shampoo, the conditioner, the body wash, and the lotion, and when things are grim I use them ALL. I probably have a visible lavender cloud around me. (Not recommended for situations where other people have to breathe your aura.) Grapefruit is supposed to be mood-lifting and energizing, and I find it so, and also find it thirst-producing. I hate Target's Method grapefruit stuff, but I love the Softsoap kind.
C. Inexpensive fun-but-useful stuff. I bought a whole bunch of 75%-off ornaments and cards and ribbon and gift tags. I spent a long time dithering pleasantly over choices. They cost money, but not MUCH money. And they're not really "necessary," but we WILL use them. I also bought a bunch of clothes for the kids on various season-end clearance sales, for next year, and a few things for right now. It improves my mood to have something new to put on a baby in the morning.
D. Totally boring necessities in large quantities. If the sensation of "putting things in a cart and paying for them" is comforting, but the sensation of "worrying later about the cost" is NOT, I buy things we DO need but not yet. This gives me some of the satisfaction of shopping, but without spending money I'll wish I hadn't spent. Plus, I find the "stocking up" feeling comforting. I especially enjoy buying pretty postage stamps, and brown sugar, and toilet paper.
A. When I'm wallowing, I like to choose a task that has the appeal of Symbolic Melodrama---but is also genuinely useful to have done. My task right now is going through the boxes and boxes and BOXES of stored baby clothes, getting rid of the ones we no longer need for anyone (anything youngest-boy Henry has outgrown; anything only-girl Elizabeth has outgrown). I've found this an excellent opportunity to brood and wallow in self-pity. The girl clothes are going to my soon-due niece, which is very satisfying. I don't suppose anyone would be interested in boy handmedowns?
B. Spending time with a diverting hobby. Blogging, for example. Or painting, or reading, or baking, or whatever. Baking is good, if you like baking, because it provides you with an additional source of fat and sugar for the Eating component, and also makes the house smell nice as mentioned in the Shopping section. Plus, you can shop for the supplies.
C. Planning fun things to look forward to. I'm looking forward to my niece; I didn't PLAN her but certainly she is one of the most exciting things I have ever looked forward to in my WHOLE LIFE. Plus, I can also put her in the Shopping category, because buying small pink clothes is one of the best soothing balms I know of. I'm also planning a Swistle Love care package giveaway for Valentine's Day, because I love sending care packages and also it lets me shop. And I'm fantasizing about when the kids are older and Paul and I can dump them all in my parents' basement and go on a trip to the town in Washington where we got married and had our first baby.
D. Movies and TV and books. Careful with this one: there's a fine line to....hoe. Tread. Whatever. You want to nurse the wallow here, so you don't want to accidentally get anything too feel-good that makes the world look like a good place again (Nanny McPhee, My Fair Lady). On the other hand, you don't want to nurse the wallow right over the edge into actual mental illness, so let's not get anything where a dog dies or where the filmmaker's goal is to reveal the dark underbelly of the human condition. Some good movie choices: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Singles, When Harry Met Sally. Some good TV choices: Friends, Sports Night, Gilmore Girls. Some good book choices: Firefly Summer or Light a Penny Candle, both by Maeve Binchy---or really just about anything by Maeve Binchy; the PostSecret books; Suzanne Finnamore books; Elizabeth Berg books, although not the recent "other time period" ones she's been writing; the Found books/magazines. What we're looking for here is light but moody---humor and broody in the right proportions.
E. New fun things. The aforementioned hair-coloring would be a good idea. Or if you haven't tried Postcrossing, a wallow is the perfect time for it: it lets you look forward to mail delivery each day, and also you can shop for postcards and pretty stamps.
A. I like to spend some time sitting in a rocker-recliner, wrapped pitifully in a throw blanket and gazing into nowhere, thinking of all the things that Won't Be. Allow a few thoughts to sucker-punch you---but not too many, we're going for a good balance here. Wallowing, maybe a teeny bit of weeping, but not descending into genuine despair.
B. I don't know if this is the same for you, but if someone else tells me I shouldn't be sad because other people have it worse, I feel like doing some bitch-slapping and/or sarcastic air quoting. Or perhaps hooking one leg around the backs of their legs and giving them a swift shove. "Oh, I SHOULDN'T feel bad?," I'd say, making heavy air quotes around the "shouldn't." "How very helpful!! You're absolutely right! I'm magically cured!! Shouldn't = doesn't!" Then I'd do a little bitch-slapping.
Or, "Oh, other people have it WORSE? So I'm sure YOU have never wanted something that NOT EVERYONE has. You've never wished you could come up with the money to pay your rent---lots of people don't even have roofs over their heads. You've never wished for a better job---lots of people would be happy to have ANY job AT ALL. You've never wished for a romance---lots of people DIE without EVER EXPERIENCING LOVE. You've never wished your husband would pick up his own goddamned underwear---SOME people's husbands are DEAD. You've never said you're hungry---lots of people are LITERALLY STARVING." Then the swift shove, and perhaps a little creative kicking.
But if _I_ tell MYSELF this sort of thing, it's helpful. It gives perspective, which is comforting. ...It's not very NICE, though, is it? I mean, essentially what I'm doing is making myself feel better by comparing other people's lives unfavorably to mine. I'm in essence saying "At least I'm not one of THOSE sad sacks. Compared to THOSE people, my life suddenly looks GREAT." Ick. Well, still. It can help make me feel happier with what I have, while hitting the perfect wallowing balance: I feel better, but I also reflect broodingly on all the sadnesses of the world I'm so far lucky not to be sharing.
There! I believe you now have all the information you need to start your own Wallow. Good luck, and good wallowing!