I’ve been amazed at the way my recent post with my story on when to see a family therapist has resonated with so many people. For the most part I don’t consider myself an anxious person, but there are definitely times that I lose sight of my blessings and only focus on the problems. My goal here is to encourage you so I thought I’d follow up with some positive and practical tip for coping with anxiety and the blues.
Is it only me or does the beginning of each new year happen at a bad time? Seriously, you’ve just traipsed through the holidays from Thanksgiving through Christmas with days filled with family, friends and lots of fattening foods. If you’re like me you probably ate too much, spent too much time waiting in traffic and realized you couldn’t possibly make everyone happy.
That’s just a recipe for the blues!
It’s even documented that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, beginning and ending at about the same times every year. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people with SAD experience symptoms beginning in the fall and continuing into the winter months, sapping their energy and making them feel moody. While this certainly isn’t true for everyone, the beginning of the new year can often trigger bouts of irritability and anxiety.
What can you do so that the beginning months of the new year will be filled with joy rather than dread? Here are a few suggestions.
Although losing weight and exercising are common New Year’s resolutions, there is a reason for that! Moving around, whether it’s committing to a gym or just a stroll around the block, helps release endorphins in the brain. These endorphins in turn trigger a positive feeling in the body which can help promote sleep, ward off depression and increase self esteem. Sounds like a winner doesn’t it?
Then why is it so hard if we know it’s good for us? I’m convinced that I have to include it in my schedule or I will fail. In all honesty, I’m failing at this right now but even if I just GET UP from the computer and stretch it helps.
If you’re like me you may be ready to reorganize your whole house because you’re tired of the after holidays clutter. (Or you may just want to move and start over again!) Reign yourself in a little bit and tackle one problem area.
Or if you’re a procrastinator do the same thing! Start with one area, whether it’s in your home or in your personal life, and work on that area for a few minutes each day. You can do most anything if you know it’s only for a little while!
Nothing discourages me faster than thinking I’m going to lose ten pounds or clean the house from top to bottom and not reach that goal. Take it day by day and recognize the positive changes you’re making. Change is hard. Accept that fact and know you’re not alone, whatever problem or goal you’re working towards!
Do you feel like you spend half of your free time in the car? Just say no! Your children don’t have to participate in every sport or activity and they may feel just as stretched as you do. Select those activities that bring you the most satisfaction and joy and cut out the ones that drain you of your energy.
Celebrate the simple joys.
My husband’s recent rotator cuff surgery has forced him out of his current work (painting contractor) and in physical therapy for the next several months. While my tendency is to worry about everything from how to pay the bills to whether we are going to drive each other crazy or not, I’m going to resist that urge and celebrate the simple joys of being together.
Going into this season of uncertainty we are both committed to looking at our circumstances as an opportunity for growth and renewal. I am going to celebrate the fact that while my husband won’t be completing any DIY projects for me any time soon, he is taking over the homeschooling of our two teenagers to allow me more time for blogging. That’s a win/win don’t you think?
What brings you the most joy? Is it found in the beauty of nature or watching your children reach a new stage in their life? Maybe it’s a cup of coffee with a friend or some loud rockin’ music. Whatever it is, celebrate it! You can help reign in the blues with a little bit of perspective and some hard work. Good luck!