Feeling blue? Here are a few tips from a seasoned survivor of many bouts with the blues. The keys are in the word: B-L-U-E.
B stands for Baby. Your inner baby is crying, so ask usual questions:
- Are you hungry? When’s the last time you ate?
- Do you need a change? Does a shower and clean clothes sound good?
- Do you need some attention? How about some quality time with a good friend or a furry companion?
- Are you tired? A nap or catching up on some sleep tonight might make a big difference in your attitude.
L stands for Leave. “A change is as good as a rest,” my mother-in-law used to say. Change the sights, smells, and sounds around you. Take a walk down the hall. Go outside. Jump in the car or the bus or the train and get out of the neighborhood. When my daughter was an infant, I found that just hanging out with her in the hammock in the backyard was a guaranteed a morale booster — no exertion or car seat required. Later on, long walks with her in the stroller were perfect for insuring a good night sleep for both of us.
U stands for Understand. If B and L don’t provide relief, it’s time to start putting your thoughts and feelings in your journal. Let the writing go where it will, into the trivial, into the serious, into the scary — wherever your mind takes you. Putting the thoughts and feelings into words can help you understand why you’re feeling blue. Reading what you’ve written gives your rationale side a chance to offer some compassionate help, and a different perspective on what’s troubling you.
E stands for End. With a little help from B-L-U, most bouts with the blues can be turned around. Other episodes are temporary situations — something you’ll spot when you write things down. Although you can’t do anything actively, the problem will go away with time. “And this too shall pass,” becomes a mantra to get you through it.
But pay attention, dear reader, because if the blues go on for weeks or months, it’s time to get help from a professional. Depression is not the same as the blues, and even tried-and-true tips like these won’t be enough to put an end to the sadness.