Winter Blues or Feeling Down? Suggestions to Quickly Claim Your ‘Self’ Back.

new year conceptThe New Year is in full gear and it is freezing in many regions of the country.  The days are still short – dark in the morning and dark early in the evening. The holidays are behind us.  Many of us are left with a gift of extra five pounds, signs of the holiday left-over goodies.  An easy prescription for the so-called ‘winter blues.’

To make matters worse, this morning I heard on the radio the host announcing that January 6th is a “Depressing Day” – back to work, holiday bills piling up and tax forms reminding us of the famous or infamous April 15 tax day ahead.  Just listening to the announcer almost gave me the ‘winter blues.’

Is This Time of the Year Really That Depressing?

Depends who is responding to that question. Had you been with us in the locker room this morning, you would not have picked up any sign of gloom and doom. I shared before that three times a week a group of us, mostly seniors, take part in a water aerobics class at a local YMCA. While drying off, putting socks on,  getting dressed and ready again for the outside world we chat along, solving each others and the world’s problems with lots of laughter, opinions, and of course some bickering.  This morning the talks were all about New Year’s resolutions like:

 “Don’t talk to me about New Years’ resolutions; I’ve been there, done them and not; I am not worried about my weight; I am worried about my daughter whose son – my grandson – was killed in a motorcycle accident this past December 16.”

“Resolution? What are you talking about? I am glad I am here! My resolution is to put one foot in front of the other and keep my husband from driving me crazy.”

“I just want to have a good time and not worry about small things.  And for the big things in the world? I would drive me crazy; can’t do a thing about them. Been there, done that! Gosh did I used to get upset with our Senator!”

No one mentioned financial worries, but I know some have. No promises of resolutions “. . . been there, done them and not . . .” Only a common wish to manage life, appreciate what we have and who we are, and not worry about small things. One lady summed it up: “Hey, tomorrow will come and go, God willing, whether we are here or not, might as well enjoy today!” We all burst out clapping: “Amen!”

Over the years we learn to cope with difficulty in life as we experience a spectrum of great joys and successes to utter disappointments and deep losses.  Thus, ‘winter blues’ or a declared January 6th ‘Depressing Day’ have become for most of us seniors part of the waves of life. It does not mean though that winter blues don’t visit us during darker and colder months!

How to Get Your ‘Self’ Back When Those Winter Blues Strike?

Times happen that you feel down. Your mind is racing in circles and chasing negative thoughts. You sense that something is out of sorts, disrupting your routine a bit because you feel not being yourself. You wonder:  “What is going on with me?”

During times like this quickly take charge, seek attention and pamper yourself to get your more joyous self back. Suggestions in the literature how to overcome emotional downs are many. But what stands out to be most helpful, especially for seniors as demonstrated in the locker room: reaffirm to live the life you want to live!  For example:Actionable Intelligence Green Road Sign on Dramatic Blue Sky with Clouds.

  • Treat yourself to your favorite drink: a cup of your special tea; that delicious coffee you yearn for; a refreshing juice or smoothie and relax. Think only about yourself, be selfish – I know, that is so hard at times – but do it!
  • Dream of the life you want but don’t only dream. Think of making it happen. Think of steps to take, no matter how small, to move in the direction of your dream. Write them down, make a list. For example, if you love to travel and explore, plan a trip and write down all the things you will take along, want to explore and do, even though you have no idea yet when you do it. But the hour of planning does wonders. You will feel you are in charge and got your ‘self’ back.
  • Reflect on the people with whom you interact. Are they energizing or draining you? Although you might feel compassion and understanding for those who bring you down, it is important to make sure that they don’t interfere with your own happiness and health. Stick to the people you’re comfortable with, who show their love for you. A strong, emotionally supportive network is your safety net when times get rough.
  • Cultivate hobbies and activities that bring you joy. No matter what your chosen pastimes are, find time in your busy life to do things that bring you comfort, happiness, and contentment. Not everyone has a locker room as a fun social interaction or emotional outlet. But joining a group for a specific activity or hobby; e.g., exercise, hiking, reading, embroidery, etc. assures sharing in a fun spirit.
  • Get plenty of sleep and eat right. When your body is well nourished, your mind and spirit tend to be healthier as well. You’ll most likely be in a better mood and have the energy to do more and cope with issues around you or confronting you.

Regardless of how old you are, where you live, or what you do for work or fun, good mental health is integral to life. Use these ideas as inspiration to come up with ways to make sure your life is happy, fulfilling, and bountiful.

To Abundant Joy in 2014!

About Ute Goldkuhle

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