Lately, I’ve been struggling. I think it’s a mixture of many things. The most prominent is likely the coronavirus. Not that I ever got out much before, but knowing that I can’t makes me miss being social more than I normally would.
Add to that a cancelled vacation, not being able to visit my family for Christmas this year, and all of the negative news stories involving protests and discrimination and it’s no wonder I feel a bit down. But I don’t like it one bit.
When I get blue, I tend to retreat. I quit reaching out to family and friends because I don’t want to spread my negativity to them. I also know that I feel less patient, less tolerant. To keep from snapping at the people I love and saying something I might regret, I limit my contact.
What makes it worse is, with temps in the high 90’s and humidity causing it to feel closer to 110, my afternoon outdoors walks are out of the question. This has impacted me even more, many times making it feel like I’m never going to get over this hump.
Fortunately, I’ve found a way to get in touch with my inner grit and push through. I’m happy to report that each day it is getting a little bit better and I finally feel ready to rejoin the world again. Here’s what I’ve done that has helped and that may also help you if you are where I was just a short time ago.
- I do what I can. Even though I can’t work out outside right now, there are still exercises I can do indoors that will make me feel better mentally and physically. This includes getting on the floor and doing leg lifts and crunches after my morning coffee. I have also started taking 30-60 second exercise breaks every hour or so to get up and get moving many times throughout the day. It isn’t much, but I already notice it in my attitude. If you have been stopped from engaging in your normal activities, what are some ways you can change to get the same type of benefit? What modifications can you make that serve the same purpose?
- I call friends…even when I don’t feel like it. I know that retreating when I feel blue isn’t healthy. So, I’ve made it a point to reach out to some of my closest friends and family even when it has felt like the last thing I’ve wanted to do. Sometimes just venting about my feelings and giving them a voice has a way of lessening them. Other times, they share stories of other people who are hurting, which serves as a gentle reminder that I’m not in this alone. Usually, by the end of the conversation, I do feel some relief. Who can you call today that you’ve been retreating from? Who normally makes you feel better when you’re feeling down?
- I focus on doing things I love. Getting lost in an activity you enjoy is a good way to start feeling better. It takes your mind off whatever is bothering you, even if for a short period of time. This reprieve helps your brain (and emotions) reset to a happier, healthier place. For me, this typically involves reading, watching cooking competition shows, or spending time with my husband. Find some things you enjoy doing and make it a point to do them often. Think of hobbies you’ve been putting off and add them into your schedule so you don’t “forget” to do them.
- I try something new. When it feels like life has become hum-drum and every day seems the same as the last, I like to shake things up. Learning a new skill reignites the passion in me and gives me something new to be excited about. My latest passion? Cake and cupcake decorating. I just ordered all of the gear I need to try it out. I’m sure you’ll get some posts in the future sharing some of my new “creations,” for better or for worse. What is something new you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t? Are there online classes you can take or videos you can watch to teach you a new craft?
- I get more productive. The longer I sit on the couch, the worse I feel. Not only physically, but mentally too. Getting up and getting productive works wonders on my spirit. Being able to cross items off my to-do list gives me a sense of pride and a sense of purpose. Last week I tackled cleaning the base boards and fixing all of the nicks in our wooden furniture and furnishings. This week I will be focusing on cleaning up my computer files and getting rid of old emails I’ve stored in online files. What can you do to become more productive? What items can you tackle on your to-do list that will make you feel better once you can cross them off?
Getting over the hump isn’t always easy, and there are going to be times when it feels like you’ll never get there. But you can if you keep taking steps forward. Hopefully these are a few activities that will get you closer to where you want to be, maybe even propelling you firmly to the other side.
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