We all struggle with feelings of sadness . . . feeling blue. This time of year when it is gray outside can be hard for many people.
Social media also gives us the false sense that everyone’s life is full of fun and devoid of the challenges of life. WRONG! We all struggle with these feelings of insecurity, knowing our purpose and feeling less than. So if you are a little down and out, here are some suggestions that have worked for me . . . that get me out of my “funk” and start feeling better about me and my life.
I am not a scientist, but I do know from experience that getting your body moving increases the endorphins, which helps you feel happier.
Take a walk
Getting outside breathing fresh air (even if it is cold), is good for the soul. Look around and see nature, neighbors, or just spend this time just being alone with God.
We live in a rural area. We do have neighbors, but I might not see them when I walk in my neighborhood. Sometimes, I take Daisy and she always makes me laugh.
Yes, I said dance! Last night as an example, Neal and I saw something on television about a kid doing the “floss”. I had seen this, but Neal actually knew the name of the dance. I was impressed! We watched a “How to” video on YouTube and then each attempted it . . . while in our pajamas. It was hysterical . . . because we were both soooo terrible. However, the point is that it made us laugh so hard! Here is the thing, you don’t have to be good. Actually, the worse you are, the more you will laugh, which is the whole point! You can even dance while you fold the laundry. Just get your groove on!
We have a rowing machine in our basement. Truthfully, I do NOT like rowing. Matter of fact, I don’t like ANY exercise! So, it is not the actual rowing that gives me pleasure, but I know rowing (or any type of exercise) releases endorphins, which makes me feel happier. I also feel like I have accomplished something. Jammin’ out with some of my favorite songs also helps!
Clean or straighten your house, do laundry, etc.
You might scoff at this, but this works for me. I LOVE to be productive and checking things off my “To Do” list makes me feel productive. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I make my bed every morning, clean up the kitchen, go through the mail on our dining room table, pick up shoes, etc. My goal is not perfection, but decluttering helps me to feel better.
List your Blessings
This just works for me. I have a prayer journal in which I list my blessings from time to time. You can also just list them in your head or say aloud. When I start focusing on all that God has provided for me . . . big things like Neal, our children, friends, our home, etc. as well as small things like the great smelling candle on my desk as I type this blog post, Buddy sleeping on my bed behind me, the daffodils blooming outside, the hope of spring coming, that I finished the laundry, I lost .4 pounds since yesterday, etc. You get the idea!
Focusing on what is right in our lives changes our perspective, which ultimately changes our lives!
Listen to uplifting music
I have several plays lists that lift my spirits. Mandisa gets me pumped up for the day, especially her Good Morning song! Lately, I have become obsessed with Lauren Daigle and her Look Up Child album. I listen to her song, You Say. This song reminds me of what my Heavenly Father thinks of me. I need this reminder every day!
Get lost in a good book or podcast
You can read or listen to a great book or podcast. I travel a lot and thus am the queen of audible. I am constantly listening to good books that help me grow and understand myself, feed me spiritually, or sometimes just let me get lost in a good story. Feed your mind and soul with good books and podcasts.
Here are some of my favorite uplifting books:
Talk with a friend
There is nothing better than taking a moment to catch up with a friend. However, be sure your friends are true friends. In other words, they are people who are positive and lack negativity. There are times your friends might need to share a negative experience with you and ask for your advice, but if this is the norm (i.e. their constant drama is bringing you down), get new friends. Friendship should add value to our lives, not steal our joy.
Go volunteer and help somebody
Sometimes, it is just good to help others. The giver gets as much benefit as the receiver. Go serve at a homeless shelter, read to kids at an elementary school, go play Bingo at a nursing home, feed dogs at a shelter. It gets us to think outside of ourselves and think about the needs of others. Keep JOY the focus of your life (J = Jesus first, O = Others second, and Y = Yourself last).
They say, “you are what you eat.” I think that is true. Simply stated, when I eat right, I feel better. Neal and I have been eating much better for the last two months. We eat more fruits and vegetables and very little junk food. The first two weeks were the toughest, but once I got all the bad carbs ☠️out of my system, it has been easier! I have given up all diet cokes and replaced my morning diet coke with a cup of hot green tea. ☕️ I also try to drink a lot of water during the day. I have lost 11 pounds (20 more to go)! I’ll take this as a win!
Love on your animals
There is something that relaxes me when I squat down and love on our dog Daisy or cuddle up with Buddy our cat. They remind me of the simplicity of life. Like the sparrow, they worry for nothing and that reminds me I shouldn’t either.
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
Just like describing my weight above, I know I am not there yet. However, I celebrate this approximation. In other words, I am moving in the right direction and that is what counts. My house might be a wreak, but cleaning out my bedroom closet counts as a celebratory moment in my book! I have SOOO many projects to do around the house, but again, just take them one step at a time and celebrate each step in the right direction!
Spend time with God
Spend time reading your Bible
I would like to share I read my Bible every day, but that is NOT true. I should, but I fall short. However, when I do read my Bible (reading Mathew now), I feel so much better. I start each book of the Bible by viewing the video on the Bible app. This gives me context for this book of the Bible. As hard as it is, I try to tune out everything and focus on God’s message to me.
Here are some helpful video links as you read the Bible:
Spend time in prayer and meditation.
I talk to God as if He is my BFF. I can be sitting at my desk at home or driving down the road. I just talk to Him . . . tell him my troubles, ask for guidance, thank Him for my life . . . and just be with Him.
Sometimes, I write in my prayer journal, especially if I am at home. This keeps my mind from wandering, which is a constant struggle for me. All this to say, talking with God sets the tone for my day. He reminds me that I am worthy and you are too!
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV
Things to avoid:
Eating out of boredom or depression
I admit that I struggle with this, but I am learning to change this habit. I have reframed my thinking about food. In other words, food is for fueling my body, so I make better choices (more fruits and vegetables and very little junk food as mentioned earlier). Don’t feed your blues with food because that just makes it worse – – you physically feel bad and you feel bad about yourself. However, if you do have a moment of weakness or a lifetime of eating poorly, you can readjust and change your habits! Every day is a new day!
I admit I watch television, especially in the evenings with Neal. However, I am usually doing something (crocheting, working on my blogs, making Pinterest posts, etc.) while watching. Just be careful that viewing television does not keep you from being active physically and mentally.
Stop comparing your life with the lives of others. Remember that social media is most people’s highlight reel, not the real reel! Nobody posts about doing laundry, going to the grocery store, having a bad hair day, their recent fight with their husband or that they gained 5 pounds over Christmas! So, have perspective when viewing social media. Don’t compare yourself to others. Know that your life is worthy of living and follow God’s plan for your life, not somebody else’s life.
When the storms are raging . . .
When I am really troubled about something or struggle to get myself to a happier place, I stop and analyze why I am feeling this way. Neal and I talk about this and help each other.
Sometimes, a multitude of things come together at the same time (doing taxes, managing a stressful project at work, worried about a loved one, feeling neglected by your spouse, being sick, a major breakup, lost your job, etc.). Life happens and it is not all candy canes and lollipops. However, talking through what bothers you with a friend or spouse can be helpful. Sometimes, I can just work through this on my own. My only word is caution is not to belabor this too much. Once I understand what is bothering me, I can compartmentalize this and come to the realization that all of this is temporary or that some of these things I cannot control. I just have to let it go to God. When I let go and turn it over to God, I see His real power and grace. He has carried me through dark times in my life and He will carry you through too.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Final Thoughts . . .
Be YOU because you do that better than anyone else! God designed you to be special in your own way, with your own gifts, and with your specific purpose! Remember that you are a child of the Most Holy God, the creator of the universe and He chose to create YOU! Be the special, beautiful, and unique person He designed you to be!
As a friendly reminder of your worth to God: Lauren Daigle’s You Say
FINAL final thought . . .
Remember, this life is temporary! Keep an eternal perspective and that makes this life easier!
What activities or scriptures help you to shake the blues?