The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines doldrums as “a spell of listlessness or despondency.” Life experience has taught me the things which helped me cope when I was feeling down and out of sorts. Here are some of the things I’ve learned to help me ward off the blues.
- REST YOUR MIND. For some like myself, concentrating isn’t always easy. In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to multitask our lives away. While we know efficiency is a great trait, being still for a time has value. Concentrate and complete tasks one at a time. I sometimes find myself all at once: checking social media while updating my budget spreadsheet and checking email with a music playlist sounding in my ear. Taking a break short break can jumpstart our minds back into focus. I used to work with numbers and spreadsheets for many hours during the workday. I found getting up and walking around the office for as little as a few minutes helped me refocus my concentration.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP. I can’t speak to the adequate number of sleep hours required for anyone except myself – those recommendations are better left to the experts. I need at least seven hours or more of sleep per day to feel rested. When I wake up feeling refreshed, my entire day usually goes well. I’ve discussed sleep patterns with friends and family over the years. Some people in my life claim to get no more than four hours of sleep and feel great. Others claim at least eight hours of sleep makes them feel rested. I remember seeing an interview on television years ago with a nonagenarian. The woman claimed the key to her long life was getting plenty of sleep and walking daily. I’ve seen people I’ll just call “moody” who weren’t the most pleasant people when they lacked hours of sleep. I know from experience about how things like overall health, medications, and caffeine can interfere with a restful sleep session. One thing most of us might agree on is how sleep is necessary for our mind to function properly.
- MAKE YOUR OWN FUN. I pride myself on what I call ‘making myself happy.’ I think of things I enjoy and take some action. Everything we enjoy can’t always be done at a moment’s notice. However, simple things like taking a walk, reading a book we enjoy, or participating in physical activities can do wonders to uplift our spirits. Do what you love. Music listening and dancing in my home are my go-to activities for feeling better. I listen to music daily and often!
- ENERGIZE. I can remember learning the fact food is fuel for our bodies in science class as a child. The nutrients in certain foods provide boosts of energy throughout the day. Eat recommended foods high in nutrients (you can Google them). Certain food increase energy, and, in turn allow us to do activities we enjoy.
- MOVE YOUR BODY. Whatever works for you! If you jog, run long-distance, or walk you know the benefits these activities provide toward feeling better. For those of us with physical limitations, modifications to popular exercises work the same way. Dancing in my home, most times alone, is one of my favorite things to do. The body’s release of endorphins is said to be responsible for those good feelings we get when we move our bodies.
- PRACTICE RELIGION OR SPIRITUALITY. Whatever your belief system, connections to a greater power or with our inner selves can go a long way toward boosting one’s spirit.
- SEEK HELP. If you’re sad more than normal and find your daily life is affected, seek professional help. We know ourselves better than anyone else. Today’s plugged-in society comes with the benefits of websites, text lines, support groups, and toll-free numbers to seek help. Here are a few links that may help.
- INTERNATIONAL: https://ibpf.org/resource/list-international-suicide-hotlines
This is strictly an opinion piece and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
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