My dog Kloe is normally one of the happiest and perkiest dogs alive. Most of the time if just mention the “w” word (as in walk) she starts spinning and doing her happy dance. I’m sort of the same way. Most days I wake up and am convinced that something wonderful is about to happen and I am incredibly fortunate just to be alive. But to be honest, there are days for both Kloe and I when one or the other of us wakes in a funk. We aren’t feeling necessarily bad, just blah. What I’ve gradually learned is that the blahs aren’t usually something to fear, fix or fight. Instead, the SMART thing to do is remember we always have more options than we know and sometimes relaxing into the moment is the best antidote.
Of course, it’s also good to remember a few things we should avoid when we have the blahs.
What NOT to do:
1) Turn on the TV and watch the news.
2) Hang around negative people.
3) Force yourself to work on anything that isn’t absolutely essential.
4) Beat yourself up for not being more motivated or getting more done.
5) Try to talk yourself out of it.
6) Bitch and complain about it to anyone who will listen.
7) Get loaded or drunk.
8) Go binge shopping and buy things you don’t need with money you don’t have.
9) Eat anything and everything you can get your hands on.
10) Convince yourself it will never end or that it’s a “condition” that needs treatment.
11) Force yourself to do something you don’t want to be (be nice, creative, happy, etc.)
After you’ve gone through the above list making sure none of those actions are part of your motivation, then one or more of these should help.
What You CAN DO:
1) Listen to some music you enjoy—the more upbeat the better.
3) Get grateful. Spend time listing at least 20 things you are thankful for.
4) Go outside. Spend time in nature.
5) Find something to laugh about (a movie, TV, funny cat videos on You-tube, etc.)
6) Do something nice for someone else.
7) Surround yourself with anything you consider amazingly beautiful.
8) Read something fun with no redeeming value at all. (A novel, magazine, short story)
9) Meditate or pray.
10) Spend time with good friends.
11) Do something purely for the fun of it—with no goal or purpose in mind.
12) Get a massage or take spa day.
13) Watch a movie or video about other people doing good or overcoming tremendous odds.
14) Take a nap.
15) Practice EFT –Emotional Freedom Technique (here’s great direction)
16) Make a plan to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
17) Reconnect with something you love.
Although I’m a naturally optimistic person, I realize that not everyone comes from that same vantage point. If you are prone to depression or something even more serious, different actions may be called for. But for most of us, simply giving ourselves permission to feel the feeling and acknowledge we need to indulge our moods every now and then, can make the difference between an occasional and limited experience, or one that lasts for weeks or months.
I also learned that when I find myself in a funky, blah or even sad mood, that putting a time limit on fully feeling the emotion is helpful. When I woke up yesterday with a case of the blahs, I gave myself permission to spend the entire day feeling that way. Instead of doing work, I spent some time exercising, reading purely for pleasure, and chatting with friends. As might be expected, this morning when I woke up I was back to my usual self.
One Last Thing
One final thing can also help if the blahs become more regular. That is to monitor our eating and drinking. According to Samantha Heller, NYU senior clinical nutritionist in an article on WebMD about seasonal depression, it is good to eliminate all white, starchy foods—bread, rice, potatoes—for at least two weeks. Heller recommends:
Dark Chocolate for the tryptophan.
Oatmeal (original, not desserty)
Egg whites for omelets
Whole grain crackers and bread
If we are honest we all have days when we aren’t feeling 100% positive and engaged with life. Fortunately for the vast majority of us this is a temporary situation. Rather than fear it, or try to fix or fight it, sometimes the SMARTest solution is to grab a good piece of dark chocolate and curl up with a good book. At least that seems to work for me. What about Kloe? When Kloe is in a funk she is content to eat her dinner, cuddle for a bit on the couch, and go to bed early. The next morning she is always ready for her walk.
What’s at least one piece of SMART advice you can add in the comments below?
( 91ce5500f5ae1cf15437a31d09878d82ffbd232ac0a73f6418 )