At times we will find ourselves discontent, irritable, and generally just blue. The feeling may seem to have come out of nowhere, leaving you confused and a little on edge. It can be scary, at times overwhelming, and downright lonely. During these moments we rely on our mind, asking ourselves questions and using our best tool to make sense of this dreary feeling. We often feel as though we have exhausted all possibilities. We think we have a done a thorough job and yet we still can’t seem to shake this feeling of apathy.
Unfortunately for us, for those that can relate, we are more often than not asking ourselves the wrong questions. And our questions aren’t just slightly misdirected – in these moments our thoughts are often epic; We begin to examine the meaning of life, the reality of our relationships, even questioning the very nature of ourselves. We struggle to relax and our once still minds turn into dime-store psychologists and philosophers. Our questions are vague, massive, and without answers.
It doesn’t always have to be this confusing and arduous, I promise you. In fact, I’ll do you one better and tell you, while it’s fresh on my mind, exactly how I get myself out of these blues.
Yesterday was a pretty damn good day for me. I had spent the evening at my sisters during what was predicted to be the storm of the century but turned out to be no more than a heavy snow. I spent a little time with my sister, got ready and went off to meet a friend for lunch. My afternoon could not have been better: great company, great food, afternoon tea and the winter scenery all made for an ideal afternoon. Around 7 pm I parted ways with my friends, got on the train and headed home.
As I got settled in for the evening, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling the after-effects one generally does after such a beautiful day. In fact, I found myself a little frustrated, confused, and incredibly bored. “Oh shit, this isn’t good, ” I thought to myself; Something must have been terribly wrong, something real was happening here. My mind began racing: Am I not doing enough, is this life fulfilling, am I doing everything wrong? All of these questions! Who the hell asks themselves these questions and expects even a whiff of an answer? Evidently, I do – but this is not as dangerous as it seems.
I got up from the couch and walked to the kitchen, looked up on my dry erase board and there it was in all its simplicity: “Relax and take it easy” – On this night, where thoughts began racing, and questions began building, my relief appeared before me in this simple phrase. I sat down and decided to make a list – What did I eat today? How much did I sleep last night and how did I sleep? Is there any simple reason that I may be annoyed? And here is what I came up with: As I mentioned before the food yesterday was great. What I failed to mention was that I had eaten only two bites of it. The tea was good, but it was preceded by 3 cups of coffee. I got a bit of sleep, but I slept on a couch after spending the day in a hospital and navigating my way through the snow filled streets. In my mind these experiences weren’t negative at all – I enjoyed spending time with my sister and I don’t really mind the snow. I had a great time at lunch – I don’t eat all that much anyway. What I was neglecting to notice was the physical and emotional effects I endure when I don’t take care of myself – I didn’t need answers only the gods could give me, I needed to eat something.
I got up this morning and went for a walk around the neighborhood. It is gorgeous out today, my mind is completely calm.
We have such a difficult time accepting the simple solutions. Maybe the sky really is falling but isn’t there a chance we just haven’t been sleeping well lately? Aren’t these simple questions at least worth a look? There are often underlying issues that we are dealing with in any number of ways – but they are exacerbated when we don’t take control over the little things. We tend to ask ourselves questions that aren’t meant for us to answer. Here’s a tip when your mind begins racing: You aren’t capable of outsmarting this world. Emotions rise and fall with the hope that they return somewhere in the middle. Our mood shifts a little throughout the day, but we can almost always trace it back to something simple, some minor annoyance or some missed opportunity.
In these moments, when you cannot seem to find an answer to your blues, make a list. Do you owe someone an apology? Have you been dismissive towards your partner? Are you happy with your workout regiment? Are you eating healthy? Are you eating enough or maybe too much? Have you started that book you got over the holidays? Are you keeping something to yourself? Are you telling the truth? Does your neighbor play their music too loud? Make a list of the things that you can change, go through it and make changes to the best of your ability.
Allow yourself to be unhappy for a time but bring yourself back before you want to. Get pissed off at your neighbor for being inconsiderate but take it out at the gym. You are allowed to feel like shit now and then – But do not start looking into the abyss for answers that are in your refrigerator.