Raise your hand if you experience the typical winter blues.
I certainly do, and according to the Cleveland Clinic 10-20 percent of Americans experience a mild form of seasonal depression.
But this year is different, I'm past the point where I typically feel back to myself and I still feel... meh. So I did some research.
Why Do I Still Feel Blah?
A new article released by The New York Times explained why I feel a lack excitement for 2021. It's called languishing. It's in between feeling content and depression.
In a nut shell, when COVID first hit we were in high alert and scared. The lock down wasn't too terrible with our adrenaline pumping as we awaited the next announcement from our governor.
And here we sit over a year later, basically in the same spot. Not really sure if we can plan for travel this summer, and scared to book a trip because we don't know if we will have a job to pay for it. We are stuck in limbo.
Remember a happiness hack is looking forward to something, and during this time in our lives that's pretty difficult. But I have found a few things to help me navigate through my funk and hopefully they will help you too.
3 Ways to Stay Positive When You Feel Blah:
1. Acknowledge it.
2. Don't allow yourself to dwell on it.
3. Use the word: 'AND' every time it's brought up.
Acknowledge How You Feel
If you try to ignore how you authentically feel the feeling will intensify. It's our body's way of saying, hey pay attention, I'm not doing so well.
Once I acknowledge my blahness, my brain wants to fixate on it. Like a dog that sniffs a treat under a door he can't access. He will sit there and paw and paw until you open the door. It's the same with our brain. it hyper focuses hoping there is something you can do to relieve the discomfort.
If you pay attention to your thoughts when you're down you will be shocked by how often your brain pulls you back to the problem and focuses on how sad you feel.
One day I tried to track how often I caught myself drifting back to dwell and it was so often that I lost count after 20 minutes.
Dwelling will only drill the depression hole deeper. I used this trick to keep myself from completely sinking:
The Wonderful Word, And
The word and allows you to acknowledge your reality AND insert hope into the same sentence. Because both things exist at the same time.
- I know this sucks that I am feeling so low, and it's going to be warm enough for a walk today.
- Man I feel sad today and I'm going to start a new craft project so that will be fun.
- I'm scared this feeling will never go away and I know there's help for me if and when I need it.
To recap, you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer with SAD and many of us are in this period of languish. Not depressed and struggling to look forward to anything.
I hope these three ways to fight the funk help you as they have carried me through.
This will get better, we will resume normalcy, and brighter days are coming.