It's midday and your eyes are glazed over from the project that you just can't finish. You hop online, thinking that some social media time might clear your head.
This only makes things worse. Instead of cute animal photos, you stumble upon arguments about vaccines or guns or both. You grow nauseated after reading another string of exceptionally awful comments on public pages. You unintentionally feed a troll who is totally OK with attaching his or her real name to hateful remarks.
You're not even sure what the conversation was about anymore, but now someone who can barely string together a grammatically correct sentence is calling you an idiot. “FML,” you think, before feeling a twinge of embarrassment that even your own thoughts unfold in Internet slang.
You're frustrated with the world, or at least the world that appears before you when you've been sitting in an office chair for hours. It's time to turn off the computer and do something that will settle your mind.
1. Hike to the tide pools at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.
Los Angeles County is home to some spectacular natural settings, and they aren't all jam-packed with health-conscious Instagram devotees who are just so #blessed to live in Southern California. Take Abalone Cove Shoreline Park as an example. Hang out at the top of this South Bay bluff and feel the calm engulf you as you stare out at the Pacific. Hike down to relax on the beach or investigate the tide pools.
Unless you live in or near Rancho Palos Verdes, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is enough of a trek where you might want to save it for the weekend. However, it's a journey that you will want to take. When daily life is truly annoying, you can find solace among the tide pool creatures.
2. Grab a notebook and pen and get creative.
I can get more words on a page during a 20- to 30-minute Red Line ride than I can while sitting at the computer in my apartment for two-hour stretches. The reason for that is simple: Underground, there's no cellphone service. Without that connection, my phone doesn't ping with Twitter replies and Facebook comments. I'm not constantly refreshing my Instagram feed. I'm just writing.
Sometimes the best cure for frustration is to get everything out on paper, whether that's in words or drawings. Nobody has to see the end product. There doesn't even need to be a finished piece. You can simply jot down notes or rough sketches. Whether or not they come in handy later doesn't matter in this moment. Right now, you just need to vent. If you don't have a notebook and writing utensil handy, head to a spot such as Daiso, where you can pick up those items for cheap. Then find someplace where no one will bug you. Turn off your phone and set up at a coffee spot like Tom n Toms or grab a seat in a neighborhood plaza, such as the ones in Chinatown and Little Tokyo.
3. Read a scary novel, take a whiff of some unusual scents and munch on a few treats.
The stretch of Magnolia Boulevard that runs through Burbank near Hollywood Way is a delightful place to stroll and stock up on the goods that will help you forget about a frustrating day. Head to Dark Delicacies and peruse the stacks for a horror novel to get you through the night. Your Facebook nemesis might suck the energy out of you, but at least he/she isn't a vampire. Pick up a Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab oil in a horror-themed scent to heighten the fantasy. When you're done, walk over to the Burbank outpost of soda-and-candy chain Rocket Fizz for some much-needed goodies. Grab some candy that reminds you of when you were a kid and pick up an unusual flavor of soda, like bacon.
4. Rewatch an old favorite film on the big screen.
We all have our personal feel-good movies. We'll laugh even though we know every line. We'll run through a string of familiar emotions, from fear to sadness to glee. It's time to revisit these old favorites, but not at home. Set down the remote and head to a spot where you can sit down in a dark room with a tub of popcorn and few distractions. Between the Egyptian, Aero, New Beverly, Cinefamily and the Nuart, there's no shortage of revival screenings in town. The movies themselves can be anything from former Oscar winners to cheesy '80s horror movies. Your faith in humanity might be restored when you see that you aren't the only person obsessed with an obscure animated film or terrible-awesome action flick.
5. Go mural hunting.
You spent a good chunk of your day seeing the worst in people. Now it's time to see folks at their most creative. Hit the streets and seek out art. It's not a difficult mission to accomplish — the city is covered with street art, more so in certain neighborhoods. Peek into the alleys of Melrose Avenue for works you don't see while driving. The downtown Arts District is filled with murals from well-known street artists. Also head down to Spring Street on the edge of Chinatown and peruse the collection. Wander downtown in search for local Robert Vargas' Our Lady of DTLA and international street artists like D*Face. Keep your eyes open for painted utility boxes, too, like that cool portrait of Prince in front of Grand Park.
6. Turn on the radio and chill.
Can't go anywhere to ease your frustrations? Turn on the radio. Stay away from any station that plays “Shut Up and Dance” on the hour. Instead, flip through the college and public stations and prepare to be surprised. KCSN 88.5 is a good pick for rock lovers. You may catch an oldie, something along the lines of Fleetwood Mac or Neil Young, but it won't be a song you have heard on the classic rock stations. Listen for the new indie bands, particularly local ones, that you don't know yet but may just come to love.
Of course, if it's Sunday night, head over to KDAY and tune into Art Laboe. The heartfelt dedications are just what you need when you have convinced yourself that people are miserable and cruel.
7. Scream out your frustration at a karaoke night.
You already tried screaming at your computer. It didn't help. Maybe it's time you scream into a microphone. Ground Control at Complex in Glendale and New Wave Karaoke at New Wave Restaurant in Bellflower are both well-stocked with classic punk songs. Pick your favorite angry jams and hit the stage.
8. Go out for comfort food, not the hipster kind.
Maybe your problem isn't the rest of the world. Maybe you're hangry. Go out and get a bite to eat. Find a place you love where the food has kept you happy for years and the patrons aren't photographing every dish that comes out of the kitchen. Chow down on some fried chicken at Dinah's, a big sandwich at Brent's or an even bigger burrito at El Tepeyac.
9. Work out your frustration with a class.
There are few things that help cure negative thoughts more than exercise, if only for the reason that you're too busy wiping sweat from your eye to dwell on whatever's bugging you. If you have a gym membership, check out the class schedule, but if not, consider trying something new. Maybe now is the time to take up tap dancing or aerial workouts. Or you could head down to Slimmons and take the Richard Simmons class that you have always been tempted to try.
10. Be a friend to an animal.
A simple photo of a cuddly creature can help make our days a little brighter, but you can also try meeting one in person. Consider volunteering your time with a group like PAWS/LA, which helps people care for the animals in their households when they need it. If you're looking for a pet, visit local shelters, like SpcaLA Hawthorne, to find an animal that could really use a permanent home. Or just take the time to say hi to your furry neighbors.