There is a great deal of information available about depression in all of its various forms. I defy you to watch daytime television or anytime television, for that matter, and not be inundated by gorgeously art-directed commercials detailing the realities of depression and heralding the latest pharmaceuticals.
Make no mistake, depression is real and debilitating and the treatment of depression is a very important thing. Pharmaceuticals are also a good thing and they can make a world of difference when they are prescribed appropriately, monitored closely and supported by talk therapy. But, there is also a little situation which sometimes arises in our lives that is less serious, less intense and far less difficult to address.
I am referring to the blues.
For the purpose of our conversation let me further define the blues as a transitory and unpredictable feeling of melancholy exacerbated by, but definitely not limited to: bad weather, weight gain, being done wrong by a man, a woman or “the man”, the Cubs, job stress, home stress, running out of cream for your morning coffee, watching any portion of the national news especially political coverage and not getting a single like or response to your most clever Tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram pics.
Here are a few ideas for besting the blues:
“Sing Out Louise!” It’s no accident that there is an entire musical genre known as The Blues. Go ahead and give your bummed-out-bad-mood-vibe a little traveling music. No one is listening, not when you’re standing in your shower with the exhaust fan humming and who knows, you might have an open mic night in your future.
Move it. Get some exercise and let those endorphins work for you. They are real and they will trigger positive feelings in the body, similar to that of morphine. You don’t have to compete in an Iron Man, just break a sweat a few times a week.
Do unto others. It can be good medicine to help others. Not your friend who needs help drinking a six pack, but maybe that older couple down the block who needs help raking their leaves. Service and thoughtfulness can be wonderful distractions from the blues.
Light it up. Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 2 AM which means the light will fade earlier and earlier every evening. A few well-placed light timers can keep your environment from giving you the blues. The key is to set timers so your lights turn on BEFORE you return in the evening which will make your home feel welcoming and warm instead of empty and gloomy. A programmable thermostat may also be a good idea.
Well, the Cubs are out of it and Daylight Savings is almost over which means that “The night will soon be dark and full of terrors”. Pay extra attention to your possible triggers and take some steps to limit the impact of the blues in your life.
If you are having long-standing, debilitating feelings of depression, then consider finding a therapist. I happen to be one and as long as there is cream for my morning coffee, I am ready and willing to help.