Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to the Basics - what to do when you are stressed or down

I've been down and out lately emotionally for many reasons.  When I'm really low, I need people to remind me of the things to do to pull myself back up.  No one likes it when you are depressed or grumpy or cranky.

If you are feeling down, here are some of the things that I do that might help you pick yourself up:

1.) Find joy in the little things
On the way to work, I stopped by a little bakery to pick up some pastries for the office.  This lovely older Italian lady boxed them up for me and tied them with a string.  This reminded me of my childhood and the donut place in Potsdam, NY.  It wasn't a chain and they would tie up your donuts in a box like this.  The pastries were delicious and she was charming.

2.) Do something you love
I love cooking and trying new recipes.  For some people, comfort food makes them happy (I don't knock it and have been known to make my mom's lasagna recipe every week when I'm stressed).  For me, making new recipes and trying new things with someone I love is a pick me up.  Last night, I tried another recipe with my new vegetable spiralizer.  This enchilada bake was really scrumptious.  

3.) Exercise
I find that even a brisk walk can pick me up.  What really makes me happy is to go out for a 3 to 5 mile run.  The fresh air and endorphins make a difference.

4.) Be around someone you love
For me, being around my twin brother or my husband usually helps me feel better.  I know that my twin brother also loves being around his kids and his dog or cat when things are bad.

5.) Chocolate or your favorite sweet
Sweets, in moderation, are a nice pick me up.  I am a chocolate lover and know that I want chocolate when I'm stressed.  I just know I have to eat more than just chocolate to survive and can't eat tons of chocolate if I am going to stay healthy.  

6.) Intimacy
Being intimate with someone you love can also be a pick me up when things are bad.  Sometimes you go beyond cuddling and that makes a world of difference.

7.) Helping someone else
When I'm feeling down on myself, sometimes I need to just volunteer somewhere.  Surprisingly just going to the grocery store this week, someone needed me and my long arms to reach something off a tall shelf.  This little act of helping someone else in need makes me feel better both about myself and about the state of the world.  

8.) Make a list and prioritize
My friends in college always joked about my lists.  Sometimes when I am overwhelmed I just need to write a list.  This list can be a list of the things that I am worried about accomplishing, the list of things bothering me, the list of worries, or sadness.  Next, I make a plan.  How do I prioritize this list?  What is the biggest worry, toughest bother, or most important project and what can I actually do to fix it or make it better.

9.) Faith
When things are tough, for me, going to church helps.  Being around other people and praying with them for both my needs and theirs helps me feel better.

10.) Music
Another thing that makes me feel better is singing or dancing.  I pick some of my old favorite songs and crank up the music at home or in my car or office.  I then dance as hard as I can or sing as loud as I am able.  Both of these let out pent up negativity and make me feel better.

11.) Dress up 
I love to dress up.  I love costumes, bow ties, nice suits, fun hats, and any reason to look my best or to make people laugh.  For me, dressing in either my nicest professional suit and tie or in a costume both bring me joy and laughter.  I love looking good or having fun.

and finally (at least for me and my short list).

12.) Call Mom
I'm fortunate that my mom is a big part of my life.  When things are tough, sometimes I just want to hear her voice and she can listen to me complain or cry.  Just talking to her can make things better.  It isn't mom for everyone, but hopefully you have someone special you can talk to when things are tough.

You  may need to do one of these, all of these, or find your own way to crawl out of the doldrums.  Fortunately, at least some of these are free and easy to do.  If you are down, make that list, go for that walk, reach out to that friend, go on that adventure, try something new, and know that being down doesn't have to be the end all be all.  There is happiness and joy to be had.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written and thought out. Another thing I like to do is watch certain movies, such as "Charlotte's Web".
    Keep your chin up, you've got such a GREAT smile to share with the world!