This post has been inspired by my life at the moment as I’m in one of those places – emotionally and mentally – that doesn’t make me feel great, but at the same time, I know I have to face it in order to move on and get out the other side and shut the door…with a bang! So, what’s the best way to feel those feelings – frustration, worry, insecurity, sadness – without allowing them to colour all the good things in life with a big black splash? Here are my strategies for turning the negative around – or at least facing it head on with a semi smile!
* Know it will pass: There are quite a few factors that are making me feel a bit down in the dumps at the moment, from everyday moans about the crappy weather and not having a car, to more serious worries about the health of my lovely parents. The fact that I’m living in a building site surrounded by rubble, excess noise and builders doesn’t help either. Sometimes it all comes at once and there’s nothing you can do but understand you won’t be feeling like this forever – it’s a passing phase and we all know time goes by so quickly that it won’t be long before there are other life’s niggles replacing these ones. It helps if we keep in mind that experiencing bad times are a part of life and if they help us appreciate the good times then that’s not so bad!
* Tackle the problems: Hiding your head under the duvet might be what you want to do – and that’s fine if it’s for a day – I’m all for the odd duvet day for allowing us to live in our slump for a bit and ‘owning it’ (as seems to be the expression of the day). But, when you resurface – and sooner rather than later – it’s a good idea to write down what’s making you feel low and take steps to work out how to move forward and solve any dilemmas. Ask friends, family or outside experts for help if you need to. It’s so important that you don’t ignore anything that makes you feel bad as it could fester and grow, taking small steps to dealing with your doldrums will make you feel more positive and instantly give you a feeling that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
* Embrace the good things: Getting caught up in your feelings of gloom and doom can make you miss out on those little things that beam those little chinks of sunlight through the clouds. I’m talking about that silly picture your friend emailed, the smile on your child’s face when she tells you about something funny that happened at school, that beautiful pair of shoes in your wardrobe that make you purr everytime you try them on. In my case, it’s celebrating the fact that my mum and dad are still able to make me laugh at their relationship which has stood the test of 53 years despite them not having had a quarrel free day (or even hour) and yet they still end the day snuggling up on the sofa holding hands, watching ‘their programmes’. So no matter how rubbish you might be feeling, grab those little chinks of sunlight and tuck them safely into your memory so you can call on them in the future.
* Faking it to make it: That ubiquitous Keep Calm and Carry On slogan has bred a multitude of clever copycats from Keep Calm and Drink Champagne to Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes – all good ideas as far as I’m concerned! But the sense of ‘just carrying on’ is probably the one that helps me the most. My thinking is: Life won’t stop – whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re happy or sad – so you do just have to carry on and you might as well do it the best you can. If you have to fake a smile, slap on your lipstick and those purr inducing heels, to make you feel a bit better, then do it! I find the act of simply getting on with things is enough to make me realise that – you know what? Things could be a lot, lot worse.
What tips have you got to help lift a dark mood – I’d love to know!