Ah, January and February. Such gloriously dull months. We’re all too poor to go out and the weather is so rubbish that we don’t want to leave our hovels anyway!
This delightful post-Christmas lull is the worst time of year for those suffering from S.A.D and depression. The dark mornings, the dark nights, the constant sense that the Old Ones are planning to rise up and enslave us… Maybe not that last one.
Either way, it sucks and we all have days where dragging our stinking carcass out of bed seems like the worst thing in the world. Recently, my mood slipped so far down the spiral that I thought it could never be retrieved. But, hey! With a little work and a lot of patience, it is possible to turn that frown upside down! Here are 5 things that you could do to make these terrible, terrible months seem just a teensy tiny it brighter.
Note: If your symptoms are extreme enough to affect your daily functioning for two weeks or more, or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please see your family doctor or a counselor right away.
1. Dance Magic, Dance:
Nothing helps lighten my mood when I’m in a funk than listening to some excellent tunes. (NB: Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True is a personal favourite) It doesn’t matter what your favourite genre of music is, just play it (unless it’s something like Radiohead – Fade Out… maybe don’t put that on). If you like angry music, great! Play it loud and scream at the top of your lungs. You like angsty folk? Act out the words. Put some feeling in to it. Pop and Dance are more your thing? Dance! Dance like your life depends on it! Just put the music on and, like the wise Eminem once said, lose yourself in the music.
2. The Great Beyond:
Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, the sky is full of tiny icicles that are falling at maximum velocity right in to your face resulting in brief but searing pain. Seriously though, if you look up from whatever it is that you’re doing and see even the tiniest sliver of sun – Go Outside! As much as it might seem like your body is crippled with misery, lying in bed all day is just going to give those bad thoughts more time to fester and burrow deeper. Sunlight is an excellent mood booster and the act of physical movement can really help to sweep away those bad feelings, if only for a little while.
3. Talking, Talking, Talking Happy Talk:
Whilst building a barricade to keep the rest of the world out may be your goal, it’s not necessarily the best thing for you. Talking to someone can be a huge help when you’re feeling low. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend or a family member and you don’t even have to talk about how you’re feeling. Really can’t face conversing with another human? Talk to a pet. Goldfish are exceptional listeners. Cats can be good too but you’ve really got to catch them in the right mood, otherwise they start meowing about how self-involved you are.. Not that this has ever happened to me.
4. I’m Having A Me Party:
Ok, you’ve tried the above and maybe they didn’t work out as well as planned. That’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take a deep breath and step back. Few things soothe a worried soul like a soak in a hot bath. Light some candles, put on some soft music and just relax. A little bit of me time can help to reboot the old synapses. Not a bath fan? Ok. Take a nap, read your favourite book, cook your favourite meal (and eat it, obviously) and if you want to cry, go ahead. Crying is cool and I’m not just saying that because I cry at everything. Do whatever it takes to relax, wind down and push those bad thoughts out of your head.
5. Step Away from the Bottle:
I don’t want to get all preachy in this last one but you see so many of these posts and they never include the things to avoid. Here’s a short list: alcohol, drugs, confrontation, fights, weapons, Radiohead, the film Steel Magnolias, etc. You get the picture. Anything that you think or know will make you feel worse than you already do needs to be avoided like the plague. If you don’t take anything else from this post, please take serious note of this last one.
So, there you go. There are a million posts just like this on the internet so please don’t just take mine as gospel. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that you are ok.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to have some stern words with a cat about its attitude problem…