Recently I had a robust case of the blues. OK, it wasn’t too bad, but it lasted about two days. The annoying thing about the blues is that sometimes we can’t put a finger on why we’re moody (or maybe it’s just me) – much to the chagrin of everyone else. Anyway, this time, I knew what the problem was and there wasn’t too much I could do about it, so I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself. Yes, a little pity party. I know, I know…I should know better, but my heart and my head refused to connect on this one for two days so I decided to make a mental list of how I could lift my mood. Two things I realised as I was making my list were:
- When you’re sad, doing more of what makes you happy will lift your mood; but
- When you’re sad, you won’t feel like doing most of the things that make you happy.
So….what do you do when you can’t be bothered doing the very things that will lift you out of your bad mood? I tried riding it out – thinking that a good night sleep will reset the system, but I woke up and remembered why I was sad yesterday, so I carried on being sad. Lol.
My motivation had to be external. It was the kids. They wanted to go to the park. They wanted to play monopoly. They wanted to bake. I couldn’t say – No, Mummy’s sad, so I can’t do these activities. Therefore, I allowed myself get cajoled into doing those things that will make me happy even though I didn’t feel like it. For someone else, this external motivation could be a friend asking you to come out for an outing, or a partner asking you to do something with them.
(note, I’m not talking about clinical depression, for which you would need professional help)
Here are a few things I tell myself to do when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Yes, sometimes I need a push, but they haven’t failed me yet.
- Get Active – Go for a run. Take a long relaxing walk round the block. Allow the kids to convince you to go to the park with them, but take your running shoes or your skipping rope. Go for a boxing session. Punch away your frustrations. Exercise helps your mood. Proven fact.
I went to the park with the kids, and took my skipping rope as an after thought. I really did get into the skipping eventually, worked up some sweat and came home thinking, “I’m glad I did that”
- Reach Out – Tell a friend that you can’t really shake off the blues and need some cheering up. Tell your hubby. Call your mom and have a chat. Send an email to a close friend. Pray.
I always ask God to cheer me up. Sounds like a silly prayer? It does work for me. I also reached out to some close friends and a nice old chat was heartwarming.
- Engage in your hobbies – Grab a cup of tea & read a book. Watch your favorite show on Netflix. Challenge someone to a game of scrabble. Go bush-walking or rock climbing. Paint. Draw. Colour in. Bake. Cook.
I poured out a glass of wine & worked on an acrylic painting project I’m doing for my kitchen. Then I started baking a sourdough barley loaf. Later on, I settled in for a night time read from a couple of new books I borrowed and sipped on some Camomile tea. Nora Ephron’s “I remember nothing” was a great read.
- Remember you’re not alone – Everyone in this world passes through minutes, hours, days or months of sadness. It’s normal. It will pass. It’s not the end of life as you know it. Life is still good. You will be happy again.
- Use it for good – Think of why you’re feeling sad (if you can put your finger on it), then think of those who have it similar or worse than you. Find a way to reach out and help them. Sending someone an encouraging message is helpful. Ringing someone up for a chat is helpful. Sometimes, it takes being sad, to remember others who are also sad.
When I’m sad because my husband is away, I think of those I know who have husbands in the Force or who have lost their husbands and I use the opportunity to pray for them or reach out to those I know & find out how they are going. This also helps me reset my perspective.
How do you deal with sad moments or days? What cheers you up? I’d like to know.
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