NEW CASTLE —
What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?
December is a busy time of year, and I've got a lot to do in the next month: cookies to bake, friends to visit, shopping to do, kids' Christmas concerts, and preparing for Santa's big arrival.
Problem is, as K.D. Lang so eloquently puts it, "I'm too busy bein' blue."
I so hate the fact that I had to hit one of my blue spells at this time of year. Normally I'm happy as could be from the first falling leaf until the new year ... and then I get blue. (That's mostly because I know I don't have any real holidays or vacations for the next six months, but it's not a real BLUE blue, if you know what I mean.)
But my moods are as unpredictable as western Pennsylvania weather, so I've had to figure out a few ways to pull myself out of a slump, lest I allow myself to wallow in it and face the very real danger of it becoming the norm. Actually, I know quite a few people who become depressed at this time of year, so for the purpose of helping out, I guess it's fortuitous that I slid down this slippery slope right now. So I'm going to share with you a few of the little blues-busters I've found to work pretty well.
1) Breathe! — Meditation is great if you can get a handle on it. For me, it's a hit and miss thing. If the monkeys are behaving, I can get a good relaxation going. If they're flinging poo at the moment, I know to move on to another technique. I learned a great piece of wisdom about meditating that really helps if you're the kind of person who always says they're going to do it but never seems to get around to it: Just put the pillow on the floor, then put your butt on the pillow. The rest will follow.
2) Talk it out! — I've made the most amazing friend a couple of years ago that I was afraid I was going to chase away with my ridiculous moods. She always knows when I'm down, either by the look on my face or the tone of my voice, and no matter how hard I try to chase her away, I just can't shake her off. (I want time to wallow in my misery, after all!) By the time she's through with me, I'm almost always laughing so hard that something inevitably shoots out of my nose and passersby are looking at us like someone left the asylum gate unlocked. If you're blessed enough to have a friend like this, talk to him or her. Love like that doesn't come around very often.
3) Get soaked! — Steaming hot bath, bubbles, candles, and Sarah McLachlan on the the iPod. There isn't a depressed thought in the world that can survive that scenario. Give it a whirl.
4) Get moving! — This is the kind of advice that I'd like to punch other people up aside the head when they say it to me. But it works! It really, truly works! It doesn't matter how long I've been doing an exercise routine ... I still have to fight myself to put on the tennies and get moving EVERY SINGLE time. But the minute I'm on that elliptical with some Metallica or Slipknot blaring in my ears, I'm 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
5) Listen! — I've mentioned music several times already in conjunction with other activities, but music alone can make all the difference in your mood. I've made a playlist of empowering songs on my iPod and even if I just sit in my Lazy Boy and chill out, I've found that it's impossible to feel sorry for yourself when you're listening to Alicia Keys singing "Superwoman." (Even when I'm a mess/ I still put on a vest/With an S on my chest/ Oh yes, I'm a Superwoman!")
6) Stroke me, stroke me! — (Sorry, another song on my playlist.) But if you happen to have a pet (cats and dogs work better for this than iguanas or goldfish), then stroke away. I have two cats that are almost identical, so if one isn't available, the other one usually is. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have both of them on my lap at the same time. Goodbye, high blood pressure! Goodbye, monkeys ... my kitties are the kings of the jungle here!
Whatever you choose to do to lift your spirits, always remember one thing: Most of what upsets you has to do with either the past or the future. (Unless you currently have your tongue stuck to a flagpole.) Focus on what's happening right here, right now. Just look around, and breathe. If you don't find happiness, keep looking for it.
Insist upon it. Grab it with both hands, and your heart, and never let it go.
NEW CASTLE —
What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?
- News Bloggers
Josh Drespling: Sick and tired of being sick and tired
I'm sick of being sick! It has been over a week now fighting this ungodly pestilence that has settled in my body. Despite my best efforts, this plague has taken a firm hold of every avenue of my being. It has become the most constant and present force in my life.
Gary Church: A REAL buffet for Father’s Day? Now that’s saying a mouthful!
My favorite thing about Mother’s Day is the buffet. I can do some real damage with a nice spread of food laid out before me. A good, homemade buffet can't be beat.
Tim Kolodziej: Want true gratification? Then delay it
Whether you are an athlete, an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom, you will be faced with dozens of temptations today. For better or for worse, your life depends on your choices.
Gary Church: A little trimmer is just the right fit for someone my age
There are definite signs in my life that show I'm really starting to age. I can't believe that I just bought a battery powered trimmer/edger. The gas trimmer I have now is 25 years old and very powerful.
Lisa Madras: I’ve still got plenty of questions, but now I have family to help answer them
What’s something new you’ve recently learned about yourself? Oh, happy day. I've been waiting my whole life to have a great answer to this question, and now that I finally do. I can hardly believe it myself.
Josh Drespling: Thank you, Mom. I’ve never said this before but ...
I'm a terrible son. I’ll can freely admit my shortcomings. Well, maybe not as awful as some. I've never been in prison or killed anyone (though I may have thought about it). I’ve never been a drug addict or a drunk. I remember most of the holidays, birthdays and celebrations and I'm capable of supporting myself and my family.
Gary Church: Gary the Governor? It’s starting to grow on me
Every day, while walking home from West Side School, I would pass the fire station on Smithfield Street. Twice a year, the fire station turned into the election place, where my parents voted.
Tim Kolodziej: You know, this isn't my day — and it's not yours either
“This isn’t my day.” I’m going to step out on a limb and guess you’ve heard that statement before. You may have even uttered it a time or two yourself. Maybe just this morning.
Gary Church: A Facebook friend request and the new ‘normal’
I recently received a friend request on Facebook from a woman named Robin. I wasn’t familiar with this person. Being a little skeptical, I wrote back and wanted to know why she picked me, when she didn't know me.
Lisa Madras: I’m kickin’ it old school — and trying to get a leg up
What lessons did you NOT learn in the classroom? Several weeks ago, I found myself stumbling around outside of my comfort zone. I'd gone to a college campus to begin working on a new degree and new direction for my life. And boy did I feel like a square peg.
- More News Bloggers Headlines
- Josh Drespling: Sick and tired of being sick and tired