Coping with the Blues
Everyone experiences the blues from time to time. The blues may involve feelings of sadness, hurt, loneliness, stress or anger that strike at times of difficult life experiences, or they may simply involve upset feelings that linger longer than you’d like. When you have the blues you can still function and you always know you will bounce back. You can use the following information to learn skills to help you bounce back faster and achieve new personal heights in response to life’s difficulties.
Are the blues a clue?
If you are feeling blue, you should always take a moment to make sure you are not experiencing more serious symptoms of depression. Certain life events or medical problems can cause overwhelming sadness, and these conditions include symptoms of depression that require medical treatment or support from mental health professionals. These are serious health concerns, not the blues. Conditions such as postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder (winter depression), grief reactions, medical or drug-induced depressive disorders, and the sudden onset of depressive symptoms in elderly people may require medical care.
Shooing away the blues
The rule with the blues is being patient with yourself, but persistent with intervention. If you have ruled out depression, get back to your old self by changing how you think and practicing behaviors that produce positive outcomes in your life in the following ways:
- Think differently. Much has been said about the power of positive thinking. Don’t dismiss it as too simplistic. It is easier to believe that external events control the way you feel and that the environment—not you—must change. Sometimes the environment (or other people) should change, but what if change is not forthcoming? The only thing left is altering your reaction. This is the pathway to empowerment and the way ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things.
- Don’t deny it. When you feel yourself slipping into the blues, don’t deny it. Instead, take charge of your thoughts and decide, “I am not going to let this happen. I am not going to let this drag me down.” Then take action. Do things that will cause you to think in more positive ways. Do things you enjoy, talk to people who will lift you up, seek out humor, dress cheerfully, alter your routine, and get proactive with important goals, exciting plans, and magnificent ideas you have for your life.
- Focus on health. See your doctor regularly and get the proper nutrition and exercise. It will improve your stamina, make you feel better, and positively influence your mood. Eating properly, especially in the morning, limiting caffeine, reducing the intake of sugar, and taking a multi vitamin daily can help your body and its ability to cope with stress.
What if my life seems mundane?
If you drift along only responding to cause and effects around you, you can expect dull feelings, such as the Monday morning blues, more often. Life does not have to be mundane, though. Being proactive, thinking and acting “upstream” to prevent life crises, acting on goals, and fighting procrastination will invigorate your life. The payoff will be feeling the blues less often.
Want help getting rid of the blues?
If you realize you are depressed, the university’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can evaluate and refer you to medical treatment for depression. If you are not depressed, the EAP can help you examine issues that are making you blue. Ambivalence about your job, unresolved conflicts in relationships, new challenges in your life, adjusting to losses, and financial difficulties are just a few issues that can give you the blues. To get on a path toward dealing with the blues, make an appointment with the EAP by calling 512-471-3366.