I was going to call this post ‘Tips to beat the January blues…’ or ‘Tips to beat the winter blues’. While it’s seasonal gloominess that gave me the inspiration for the post, the blues can strike at any time of the year, and the tips are more or less the same.
To be clear: when I talk about having the blues, I mean feeling in a bit of a funk. Fed up. Bored, perhaps. The blues are different to living with a mental health condition, and while some of these tips can also helpful to anyone, they are not a cure…and I should know because I myself live with a mental health condition (post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD).
In no particular order, here are 10 tips for helping beat the blues….and remember, self-care is NEVER selfish!
I can’t quite believe I am writing this, because for most of my life I have been a life-long hoarder, and terribly untidy.
I discovered the joy of decluttering and tidying recently, when clearing out my bedroom.
I got rid of clothes and other personal items that no longer fit, or I no longer like. Or I just don’t feel good wearing. Most went to the local charity shop, and some are being sold for a few extra pennies in the bank account. The bonus is I can now more clearly see what I do have, and whatever I grab to wear from my drawers or wardrobe I know I love and will feel good in.
You might have different motivations for decluttering and tidying, and want to start in a different area of your house. Start small with a simple shelf, or blitz a whole room – it’s up to you!
The declutter was a great stress relief: it kept me occupied for a few happy hours, was productive and constructive, and I like the results. A less-cluttered bedroom feels more tranquil, calmer, which is helpful for me.
~BEDROOM~ As part of the Great Bedroom Declutter and Tidy (such a momentous event deserves a significant title) I reorganised the bookcase next to my bed. Before it was full of books (well…) and random crap, and felt enclosed. It now holds some Hugo mementoes, and some of my positive mental health books so they are to hand for the mornings when I need them. Good to be able to see white space through it: feels more organised, cleaner, peaceful, more tranquil.
Wear and Use Things You Keep ‘For Best’
We all have things we like to keep ‘for best’! Perhaps you wouldn’t go to the supermarket wearing a gown suitable for a black-tie ball, but give yourself little ‘best’ treats every day. You could spritz on your favourite perfume, or pop on a colourful scarf. Wear a piece of jewellery that rarely sees the light of day. Use a posh lotion or fancy potion that you have been ‘saving’. Anything that brings a bit of joy to your day.
Read or Watch a Favourite Book/Film/Box Set
By all means binge on a box set you’re desperate to watch, but re-reading or re-watching a favourite book, film, or box set can be comforting. You can switch off your brain because you know what is going to happen. It can be like catching up with an old friend. Speaking of which…
Catch up with a Friend
Have a chat, either face-to-face or on the phone with a friend. If you are able to meet face-to-face cake always helps perk me up, too…
You don’t have to get all hot and sweaty in the gym, although that is a bonus for the endorphin high! Even a short walk can help you lift your spirits. Get out in the fresh air during your lunch break, at the weekend, after work…whenever you can.
Whatever your interests or hobbies, there are always things to see, or do, as well as events or conferences to attend. Do some research, put plans in your diary. Book leave from work if you need to. If funds are an issue, figure out how much money you might need to save. Giving myself a focus and something to look forward to usually helps lift my spirits.
Random Acts of Kindness
Buy a coffee for the person behind you in the queue, drop a bunch of flowers on your neighbour’s doorstep, leave some change in a meter…it doesn’t need to be a big gesture. Research has shown that random acts of kindness not only make the recipient’s day, but helping someone can help put a smile on your face, too.
Do a grown-up colouring book. Sketch. Start a bullet journal. Write out your favourite inspirational quotes and make them look pretty. They don’t have to be masterpieces…just have fun. Connect with your inner child and create for the sake of creating. Losing myself in creating something helps relieve a bit of stress and can help create a sense of calm, too.
Write a List of Things You are Proud Of
Sometimes the blues can derive from feeling down about yourself. We all do it. However we all have things that we are awesome at, things we have achieved, things to be proud of. Write them down, celebrate yourself. Keep the list somewhere handy so you can have a read the next time you have a down moment to help perk you back up again.
Mindfulness can sound a bit flighty and hocus pocus, but in reality it is very simple, and down-to-earth. It’s really about being present in a particular moment. Depending on where you are and what you are doing, it could be something like noting how your feet feel on the floor. Or, you could pay attention to the smells and sounds around you. You could notice all the details in a flower, or appreciate the texture of an object.
Mindfulness can help switch your brain off from the gazillion thoughts and worries all competing for your attention. Even if it is for a few short minutes, that sometimes can be blissful relief.
What are your top tips for beating the blues?
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