What to Do When You’re Feeling blue
by Wendy Keller
Everyone has sad, blue days sometimes. When the burdens of life pile up, or you’re exhausted from dealing with some seemingly-never-ending crisis, feeling blue is normal.
Here are some strategies and tips for coping with those kinds of days and putting yourself into a sunnier disposition:
1. Know that they happen to everyone. Nobody is cheery, upbeat and happy all the time, even if you’ve never seen them a little bit down.
2. Give yourself a break. It’s OK to not be Little Miss Sunshine 24/7. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not “bad” or “weak”. But sad feelings that go on all day, or day after day, might mean you have depression. For that, try the techniques offered here and then seek medical attention.
3. Do a secret nice thing for yourself. You don’t have to tell anyone. You don’t have to involve anyone. It doesn’t have to cost money or even take much time. But do something just a tiny bit different, a tiny bit more self-loving, a tiny bit more self-caring. Some examples of what I do for myself when I’m feeling blue: Give myself an extra 10 minutes in a hot shower; take a walk in the garden in the middle of the work day; make myself a cup of tea; buy myself a bouquet of my favorite flowers; take extra time putting on my makeup and wear an outfit I know makes me look good; spend 15 minutes reading a book I love; or calling a friend.
4. Take a few deep breaths and realize that nothing ever stays the same. We ALL want the good things in life to last forever, and the bad things to go away – or not happen at all. The only real guarantee is change. If it’s bad, it will get good. If it’s good, well…you know already. This too shall pass.
5. Reach out to someone else. Sounds so incredibly dumb, but most of us know someone who is also going through a rough time. A divorce, a difficult child, a difficult life. Pick up the phone or sit down and write an email or a card. Showing compassion toward someone else is an amazing way to lift your own mood. I’ve no idea why this works, but it does.
6. Do One Thing Differently. Break your own routine. If you usually take the freeway, take a side street. If you usually go to lunch with the gang, go alone or eat at your desk. If you usually dress conservatively, wear something bold. If you usually cook dinner, order in. Why this works is fascinating: whenever we break our routine, our brain ruts get shaken up a tiny bit. They panic a little bit, like “Hey! What’s happening here?” And that shift in focus might be just enough to make you literally forget you’re feeling blue!
7. The 60 Second Homework Assignment. The effectiveness of this technique will freak you out! Take a sheet of paper – real paper, not on your computer. Using your opposite hand – the one you DO NOT write with – write down 5 things in your life that you are grateful for. It’s trippy – believe me! You don’t get extra points for penmanship on this one, so don’t worry. Just write down the 5 things that you are most happy about in your life right now. Even if they’re simple things. Air, water, food, sunshine. Friends, family, a job, a home, a car. Doesn’t matter. Make them things you really can be happy about, even for a microsecond. This works by scrambling your neural pathways. It’s super important you do it with the opposite hand, though, or it won’t work.
That’s it! Try it. See if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face, even on your blue day.
13 thoughts on “How To Handle Sad Days: 7 Steps”
Julie Roberts says:
I have struggled with depression/anxiety for 25+ years. I would like as much information that I can get, cause I’m running out of options.
Thank you for being there to help.
Kimberly Hunter says:
Julie my name is Kim & I want you to know you are not alone. I feel bad alot too & try every day not to cry. I want to encourage you as I encourage myself. I know how hard it can be, & it sometimes sometimes feels like you are not able to make it. Hold on Julie!i will encourage you. I am in need of some new friends to encounter.
jessica m. says:
I will definitely give these a try! I’m 31 & have been struggling with anxiety/depression over half of my life. It got really bad back in January & is VERY slowly improving…I have good days &bad days. The physical pains & discomfort are the worst part as of right now…it seems like it’s a different part of my body every week. I am willing to try anything to try to take my mind off of the frightening aches, pains & discomfort.
Thank you so much!
Eric wenb says:
It is really sad when you hurt physically and mentally. Nobody seems to understand, make you want to end it all
So sorry to hear you’re hurting, Eric. I’ve found that when I believe no one understands me or my pain, I need to get out of myself and try to really understand someone else or their pain. Have you considered volunteering somewhere? Or “adopting” a homeless person in your city by bringing them stuff on occasion – food, fresh water, soap, money, blankets? What about getting a pet?
I wish you much happiness in the near future.
person has to be stong from inside to deal with depression .or it will kill you workouts and prayers is the way out i fell.
Alok Mathur says:
So often reasons of sadness is someone’s behaviour,response or some circumstances on which we have no control..Reaching out does help.
Oh yes.. eating a bar of chocolate definitely helps !! cocoa is known to pep us up.
I am RIGHT with you, Alok! Bring on the Godiva! Bring on the Belgian truffles!
what happens if you’re ambidextrous? does that mean step 7 won’t work for you?
Ha ha! Try it and find out, Vanessa!
manish anand says:
I M IMPRESSED BY YOUR IDEAS TO CHANGE AND GET OUT OF NEGATIVE..WELL KEEP IT UP!!,, WENDY.
Thanks Manish! I hope my ideas help you and the other readers. That’s why I do this.