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The holidays are upon us, but so is winter (for many of us, at least). Having to stay indoors all day long can be depressing, and there can be other things that bring us down, too. Worry not – the Internet is here to help!
I asked all MakeUseOf staff writers to pitch in and share some recommendations for their most uplifting, inspiring or funny websites to browse when you’re down, and here are a few awesome ideas. You might want to bookmark this post for later reference – some of these sites never get old.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It’s a collection of amazing talks by smart people about a huge range of subjects, and we’ve mentioned it many times before. The TED website lets you sort videos by various qualities, such as “informative”, “funny”, “beautiful” and others.
A TED talk is typically short, and if you pick the right one, it can be incredibly inspiring. Some will make you laugh outright, while others would make you think (and maybe realize there is plenty of hope in this world).
When I need some carefully crafted playlist, 8tracks is where I go. This is a website which lets users create and share their own playlists (not for downloading, but for listening on the site). There are no annoying audio ads, it is completely free, and the mixes can be tagged and sorted in all sorts of ways.
Here’s a search showing mixes tagged happy, sorted by popularity. Or maybe you’re looking for something more mellow, in which case the Winter calm mix shown above might do the trick. Once you find a mix you like, you can bookmark it and come back to it later. 8tracks will shuffle the tracks when you listen to it again; they do this for a legal reason, but I actually like it because it lets me listen to the same mix several times without it getting too predictable.
Now that we’ve got some nice background music, let’s keep exploring.
Reddit is an amazing website, curating user content from all over the Web. It’s a close-knit community with its own quirks (we’ve written about it before). It is a huge, sprawling website that can be tricky to start using. Fortunately, our resident Reddit expert, Dave, had several specific sub-reddits to recommend.
Above is just one image I found on the pics sub-reddit. Dave also recommends the Trolling Animals sub-reddit (contains some NSFW text), the funny sub-reddit, and the aww sub-reddit for images that make you go “aww”.
Warning – Reddit is incredibly addictive. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
The Oatmeal is a fantastic collection of comics, lists, and other fun stuff. It was recommended by our editorial overlord, Mark, and I would have to agree. The Oatmeal contains some really geeky comics (the above is from cat vs. Internet), all done up in a very cute, clean style.
We’ve previously included The Oatmeal in a list of 8 Awesome Webcomics You Don’t Want To Miss (it was the header image, even), so if comics is your thing, you may find other goodies on that list (and one more hiding further down this post, too).
If you’ve got time for some videos but TED isn’t your thing, you may want to try Cracked. This somewhat-rowdy humor site creates its own videos, such as When Euphemisms Just Make Things Worse. It also features amusing articles and roundups such as 5 Awesome Vehicles for the Extremely Wealthy (And Insane). Cracked isn’t always family-friendly, but it can be pretty funny.
xkcd is a web-comic of mythic proportions. If you’re a geek, you probably already know it, but it should definitely be a part of this roundup. In particular, the “Random” button which lets you skip between past strips is important. I could spend hours just clicking that button and reading the tooltips.
xkcd isn’t always good, but it very often is (and sometimes it’s even great). It’s not all “ha-ha” funny, either. Some strips actually make you think.
YouTube (Nyan Cat)
I wasn’t sure whether or not to include ffffound in this roundup. It’s not a “funny” website – rather it’s a curated image gallery, containing a lot of random, artsy stuff. Most of it is not funny at all, and some of it can even be gloomy or depressing. But almost all of the images are interesting, beautiful, or inspiring.
For me, scrolling through ffffound is like going into a museum exhibition. Lots of art, and the lack of context makes it all that more interesting. Again, this one may not be for everyone, but it inspires me.
Google Image Search
This is another one recommended by Justin. Justin says Google Images can be really good at cheering people up, if you know what to look for. He recommends using links to pictures of animals instead of emoticons. The results are frequently hilarious.
Google Images can also be nice for looking up pictures of stuff that you know will cheer you up (no, I don’t mean porn). For example, if you love cats, you can find about 60 million pictures of cute cat photos.
Bonus: No Website At All
I’d like to end off with a revolutionary idea. If you’re feeling down, I think one of the best things you could possibly do is go outside and take a walk. Yes, I’m serious. Even if it’s really cold outside, just force yourself to get off that chair, put on some warm clothes, and go outside. Don’t even take music with you. Unless you’re living in a really scary neighborhood, taking a few minutes to just stroll outside and look at the world can do wonders.
I’m guessing many people will bookmark this article and come back to it when they need it, so why not help them out in the comments? What are your favorite websites to visit when you’re down?
Image Credit: ShutterStock