Dealing with the blue days
Do you ever have days when you just feel down? Sometimes you don’t even know why. You might be tired, run down, emotionally exhausted or perhaps you’re hormonal (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!). Sometimes, for no apparent reason, we might just feel sad, lonely or anxious. It’s a totally normal part of life.
On these blue days, it can be hard to get out of the slump you’re in. Trust me, as someone who battles anxiety on the frequent, I know how it feels to be so crippled with unease or worry that you can barely function, let alone find the strength to climb out of the deep dark hole you’ve fallen down.
August was a jerk of a month
August was possibly one of the worst months of my life so far. My beloved Granny passed away, a close relative was diagnosed with cancer, and I broke up with my boyfriend, all in the same fortnight. And then I got sick with a nasty throat infection.
I felt like the walls were closing around me and for a couple of weeks there, it was like I was in some sort of foggy haze. I was unable to focus on anything, I felt sluggish, tired, de-motivated. I was drinking every night after work and barely exercising. It all came to a head after about 3 weeks of this. I woke up one Saturday morning in one of the most anxious states I’ve ever been in.
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, and for me, it’s a sensation like I want to be doing something but I don’t know what that actual something is. I want to get outside and go for a walk, but the thought of leaving the house is overwhelming. I want to bake a cake, but I can’t figure out what to bake. I want to go see a friend, but then again I don’t want to be around people. In a word, it’s exhausting.
Climbing out of the hole
On this particular day, the good news is, I pulled myself out of the hole. But I didn’t do it alone. I contacted a group of friends on Facebook (privately), told them how I was feeling and asked them what they do when they are feeling down to cheer themselves up. I received almost 150 suggestions. It was so completely overwhelming and the most lovely feeling to know that other people go through the same thing, and survive, on the daily.
I ended up with a long list of suggested self-care techniques. Simple things that anyone can do on a blue day or a day filled with anxiety, to show themselves some love and just take a breath.
What did I do that day? I baked a gluten-free, low sugar chocolate cake, took my shoes off and sat in my garden in the sun and read a book with my feet on the grass. I drank tea, ate chocolate and I wrote a packing list for an upcoming holiday. In essence, I created something, I earthed myself, I nourished myself and I planned something exciting for my future. I took control, but in a really gentle and calm way. I did things that I love doing.
In the end, it was one of the best days I have had by myself in a really long time and I resolved to do more things like this in the future, because we all need to show ourselves some kindness and just take time to be in the moment, every once and a while. We need to give ourselves permission to just go with the flow a bit, to unplug and just potter around.
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The following day, I planted a vegetable garden in the sunshine while listening to music in my headphones. I went for a long walk by the ocean, and I made soup. By the end of the weekend, I had turned my mood around completely. I felt so happy and rejuvenated! I resolved myself to do more of this.
If I hadn’t reached out to my group of friends I wouldn’t have found these techniques for pulling myself out of the hole that is anxiety, and I want to pass the list on because I think everyone needs a hand getting out of a slump every now and then. I hope that you find this list useful.
THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING BLUE
Sit in the sun or curl up in a comfy chair with a good book.
Lie on a blanket under a tree and look up at its beauty (magnolia or cherry blossom recommended).
Call a friend for a catch up.
Go for a walk.
Go for a drive, turn up the music and sing your lungs out.
Make a spotify playlist of ‘Happy Songs’.
Sit quietly and envision everything you ever wanted, coming to you.
Bake something (and give some of it away).
Take yourself to the movies or invite a friend.
Dress up and go out for dinner.
Take yourself for coffee, sit in the sun and people watch.
Go to the beach, put your feet in the sand and read a book.
Take your dog for a walk.
Eat some good quality chocolate.
Take a long hot bath with epsom salts (wine/tea optional).
Burn essential oils.
Buy yourself a bunch of flowers (or pick some from the garden and arrange in a vase).
Clean out a cupboard.
Go through photo albums and reflect on happy memories.
Write a list of goals and dreams.
Journal about how you are feeling.
Plan a holiday or weekend away.
Re-read a favourite book with a happy ending.
Do something creative or crafty, knitting, crochet, quilting, card making, colouring in, drawing or complete a puzzle or crossword.
Watch Gilmore Girls / Sex in the City / Queer Eye, or something else lighthearted that you love.
Make / eat soup.
Watch Gardening Australia on iView.
Go for a swim.
Take a long shower.
Get a massage.
Give yourself an at home foot spa and/or pedicure.
Watch an old (funny) movie or a crime series - it will take your mind off everything else.
Have a good cry.
Go to the farmers markets and explore.
Bike ride with friends (or solo).
Earth yourself - go outside, take your shoes off and put your feet on the grass.
Browse a bookstore or visit the library.
Go to the gym.
Cuddle a baby / dog / other animal.
Read a magazine like Flow, Audrey Daybook, Wellbeing, Frankie, Delicious, Gourmet Traveller.
Build a campfire under the stars.
Listen to a meditation podcast.
Read a book in bed with a cup of tea.
Go ice skating.
Plant up some new indoor plants and put them around your house.
Tidy your wardrobe.
Call someone who needs a friend.
That’s my list of things to try when you’re having a blue day
Do you have any of your own self-care activities that you turn to on days when you’re feeling down or anxious? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below - I’d love to hear them!