We all know that life comes in ups and downs. If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time accepting this. I get it–it’s all relative: without the bad feelings, we would never know the good and all that stuff. But, it’s hard knowing that at some points you will be dragged down, and all you can do is cope with it when it happens.
Rather than continue to dwell on misfortune, I’ve decided to compile some techniques and feel-good tactics that work for me when times like this hit. I’m not saying that these are the answers for everyone, but maybe they’ll provide a little inspiration
1. Practice acceptance
It sounds a little cliché, but sometimes you just can’t change things. If you can, maybe it’s a good thing to think about whether you really should. Dwelling on what could have happened differently, or questioning why something happened provides no solace. It just serves to feed frustration, helplessness, and regret. Things get a lot easier when you get to a point where you can accept that this is the way things are. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is work with what you have from here.
2. Take a “sick” day
Sometimes, we all need a day to lie on the couch with a blanket and indulge in guiltless comfort. Allowing yourself to acknowledge your feelings can help you come to grips with them much faster. The con is that lying on the couch all day can leave you feeling lethargic and groggy, so do this with caution and avoid too much of a good thing.
3. Plan something
This could be a vacation, a night out, an entire change of lifestyle. Whatever it is, it’s something good that you can look forward to. Having hope for the future is one of the things that keeps us going in life. It can change your entire outlook on a situation. For some more of my thoughts on planning your travels, click here and here.
4. Focus on your health
It’s easy to fall into the “comfort” trap: indulging in less-than-healthy foods and forgetting to strive for your daily water intake goals. However, when the path is unclear and your hope for the future is dwindling, focusing on your health is always a good motivator. Be conscious of your body, how you are treating it, and how you feel when you treat it well. Eating well and staying active can do wonders for your energy levels, mental health, and confidence. And, though it’s been said a million times, don’t forget about the glory that is endorphin release. Once this slump has passed, you’ll be happy that you had the foresight to take care of yourself. For some health-related tips, click here.
5. Talk it out–if you want to
Some of us thrive off the support systems we’ve come to trust, others are loners that need some time alone for their wounds to heal. You wouldn’t force someone else to open up to you, so don’t force yourself to do the same if it doesn’t feel right. Of course, if you’ve been building something up in your head, just saying it out loud can be the best thing for realigning your perspective. If you want to talk about it, don’t feel the need to apologize for gushing about yourself and your problems. Find someone that doesn’t need the apology.
6. Practice escapism
You can’t run from your problems, it’s good to come to terms with your feelings, etc. etc. But, sometimes there is no greater healer than time. With time, the pain subsides and life goes on. In the meantime (time, time, time–I get it), there can be nothing better than an escape. Reading, watching mindless movies or TV, playing video games–these things can be a refuge from the hours of staring at the walls and focusing on your pain. You’ve got to come out of your hole at some point, but hiding away in your little world of adventure, romance, and mystery can be a perfect escape.
7. Start a new project
Being productive at this stage may sound like the worst idea ever, but hear me out. Starting a new project and letting your mind run away with the possibilities will surely do some good. When something bad happens, making some kind of change can feel necessary. We want to be different from the person who went through that, if only for a little while. Learning a new skill, taking on a creative venture, building something from nothing can be exciting and inspiring. Who knows? Maybe the bad stuff can be the start to something really good.
8. Practice freewriting
If you’ve never tried freewriting before, now’s the time to do it. Take a piece of paper, or a blank page on Word, and write for at least 10 minutes. Just write the first sentence that comes to mind, then the next. Do it without judgement. The first 5 minutes may be tough as you let go of your need to plan ahead. After that, it should happen more naturally. Don’t go back and edit sentences, just keep going. When you’re finished, go back and look at what you wrote. Pick out a few sentences that you like, or that have more meaning to you. What do they say? This practice can be a way of opening up your thoughts, bringing out your feelings and stories and giving you the start to something new. Some of the most creative ventures have been inspired by pain, let your emotion free and see what you can turn it into. Here is an essay I wrote that began as a freewriting exercise.
9. Browse Quora
This is quite specific, as it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Although, as far as guilty pleasures go, I think it’s pretty healthy. If you’re new to Quora, it’s basically a question-and-answer website. It’s much more interesting than it sounds. You’ll find many questions and ideas that you never knew you had, and the site is filled with experts writing inspiring ideas and answering questions in unique and innovative ways. It’s an exciting way to expand your knowledge in many different fields (or in one, if you choose to browse on a specific topic, which is also possible). Also a form of escapism, but you can feel productive knowing that you might be learning something along the way.
10. Focus on the good in life
Obvious, but easily glazed over. Take the time to look at your life and the people in it. Would you really want it to be different? You are free to make choices and change your life, as long as you are willing to work for it. Make a list if you need to, think about the people that have been there for you, or your own abilities to be independent and take care of yourself (give yourself some credit!). I said earlier that there will always be bad times, but it’s important to remember that good things will happen again.
Share some of your tips for dealing with the blues below! Do any of these work for you?