Most of the time, I’m pretty happy-go-lucky, easy-going, laid-back and carefree. I tend to live life flying by the seat of my pants, and I enjoy that. If life is too planned out, it gets boring for me. I like to have a general plan, but room to veer off the path if I want to or need to.
Most of the time, I’m glass half full. I’m optimistic. I’m happy to be alive. Truly, it is very rare for me to have “the blues.”
But every now and then…I fall into a dark abyss. It’s not clinical depression. It’s the blues. And almost always, I don’t know what triggers it.
Lately, I’ve had the blues. As always, I don’t really know the trigger. I’m sure it’s a culmination of things: a delayed reaction to my mother’s death at the end of December, my friend’s illness, the school year coming to a close, and being worn out after spring break vacation.
Today, my friend, Maureen, suggested all the pollen in air could be to blame. I usually have a headache every few weeks, but lately, I’ve had more, and yes, the pollen could be part of the problem. I can take meds to help with the headaches, but there’s nothing I can take to improve my temporarily sad mood.
I know it’s temporary. I’ve been here before. It makes me want to crawl into bed for a weekend and watch movies in a dark room.
Most of the time, I know some solutions for “the blues.” One thing is to get out and do something nice for someone else. It almost always lifts my mood. Not this time. I’ve tried. I’ve done favors for people. I’ve performed random acts of kindness. No mood lift.
Another solution is my tried and true method of “fake it till you make it.” It’s actually my solution for almost everything in life. With my two life mottos, “I’ll make it happen,” and “We’ve got this,” “Fake it till you make it” usually gets me through anything. For sadness, I find pretending I’m happy usually makes me start to feel happy. It almost always works.
I learned “fake it till you make it” in my 20s. I’m not a morning person, but when I was working, I had to adjust to the rest of the world. I actually had to show up at work in the morning…imagine that! It wasn’t easy for me. By the time Thursday rolled around, I was dragging. It could do a number on my psyche.
One Friday morning, as I was walking into the office, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window as I was walking in, and I looked sad. I straightened my shoulders, put some pep in my step and a smile on my face, and I actually FELT better. It became my answer to weariness: fake it till you make it.
A couple years later, after a breakup with a boyfriend (I dodged a bullet there!), the same thing happened. I was walking into the office and saw my reflection…looking all sad. I thought, “If he sees me looking like this in this parking lot right now, he will be so flattered.” I straightened up, pepped up the step, and put on a big smile. It totally changed my mood and my outlook.
I learned from those experiences, and like I said, it almost always works.
Maybe this week was just a tough week, though I can’t point to any one thing that has happened. Maybe it’s the pollen. Maybe I’m missing my mother and worrying about my friend, and it’s all catching up with me, so I’ve been looking at other ways to lift my spirits.
Sunshine is often the answer, and I’m afraid I missed my opportunity to sit in the sun today. Sunday and Monday look rainy and cloudy, so come on, Tuesday!
We all know exercise can improve mood, but when I’m down, I’m down. I just want to be alone and watch stupid movies. The last thing I want to do is exercise. Maybe tonight after dinner, I’ll go out for a walk.
And speaking of dinner, I’ve been reading a lot about mood-boosting foods. I’ve learned some mood-boosters are chocolate, carbs, fruits, and vegetables. Maybe I’ll base my dinner menu on that tonight. Maybe some macaroni and cheese for dinner with a strawberry salad, followed by a big chocolate dessert. If it doesn’t boost my mood, I’ll at least be happy that I’ve eaten some of my favorite things!
As we were leaving her lacrosse game earlier today, my sweet 14-yr-old daughter asked me what was wrong. When I told her I’m just having a tough week, she said, “Mom! Take some time for yourself! You never do that!” That, actually, made me smile.
I guess I’m raising a pretty good girl…plenty of reason to smile right there.
So I’ll just keep thinking of my daughter and smiling about what she said. Maybe that will improve my mood. I’ll add the mac and cheese, strawberry salad, and chocolate tonight, and then go for a walk.
If that doesn’t work, I’ll “fake it till I make it.” After all, my mottos are “I’ll make it happen” and “We’ve got this”! One way or another, I plan to shake the blues soon.
How do YOU shake the blues?
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