How to avoid the BIG blues
Today lived well makes every yesterday a memory of
happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Kalidasa
Have you ever noticed that when planning a big holiday, despite all your excitement, you’re already thinking about how life will be when you return? Your work all piled up on your desk, bills overflowing in the mailbox, the weight gain that will take months to shed … it’s sure to put a dampener on you spirits! But it’s not just holidays! Have you ever completed a big project that’s drained your budget – like renovating your house for example? You get to the end and you don’t have any more money to spend, and you’re asking yourself what’s next? What about getting married? It’s every girl’s dream but the honeymoon period only lasts so long. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how to avoid the BIG blues and how to relax and fully enjoy your life experiences.
Reality is inevitable – and returning from your big holiday, finishing renovations or finally walking down the aisle, are inevitable (if that’s you’re goal!). Whether you’re preparing or returning home – celebrate the journey! Enjoy the planning and the holiday and deal with the rest as it happens. If you’re finding it difficult not to think about the return to the daily grind, take some time out to practice some mindfulness techniques. Here are some quick and easy techniques (allow five minutes to try these) by Toni Bernhard.
– Concentrate on what you can see in front of you – at first you’ll notice the obvious: the shapes, colours, objects and then you’ll notice the details – textures etc. If your mind wonders bring it back to the present and refocus. You can leave your head still or gently move it to look around.
– Repeat this exercise with hearing. Close your eyes to avoid distraction. Take in all you hear.
– YouTube also has some great guided meditations. Login and have a look around, it will certainly help you refocus and readjust.
Plan ahead – do the dishes, clean the fridge, make the bed … ensure all the simple tasks are done before you leave so you don’t come home to a long list of housework (or think about it while you’re away!). Make a small list of reminders for when you turn so there is something to do – such as unpack your bags – it’s better to unpack them straight away than to leave them piling up. Writing yourself a letter before you go, saying you hope you had a great time etc. is a nice way to return home positively. Organise a day or two before you have to return to the office – it gives you time to recover properly from the holiday before collecting emails.
Slow it down
When we’re planning for something big (such as a holiday, wedding or renovations) we generally want to put our full focus into it and limit the time we spend with our friends. But ever notice how things come up and we MUST see people when we’re not expecting it? Going out becomes a necessity and a chore rather than being enjoyed. The trick here is to make some mini plans for yourself and slow things down. Plan to go out and catch up with people (on the cheap) twice a week. If you make a plan, you won’t overspend, you won’t spend too much time on it and you have managed your expectations enough to enjoy catching up rather than looking at it as a waste of time and another expense.
Write a budget
Ensure you have little financial rewards for when you reach your goals – a budget will keep you on track! Set a realistic budget so you can still achieve your BIG goal and have some money left over to reward yourself. It’s when you feel unrewarded for your hard work that you’ll notice yourself slipping into the big blues slump.
Take time out for yourself
As specified in my previous blog, Scheduling Time for Your Happiness it’s essential to take some time out for yourself and schedule in time for the things that make you happy. By doing this, you will have more time and energy to place towards your big goal and won’t feel so burnt out when you achieve it.
Set a schedule
Don’t let your big plans drag on, make sure you set a schedule so you know what to expect and you can see that your goals are staying on track. When we work towards things without goals, we tend to feel less satisfied when we achieve the goal because it feels as though we owe it more to chance than planning and dedication. Set a timeframe for your goal – break it into mini goals by date to ensure everything is organised – and even include some new goals after you’ve reached your big goal to ensure you push through and have more to look forward to and strive towards.
Plan what’s next
Generally we are so busy organising and planning for a big event to happen in our lives that we forget to consider the “what’s next”. It is when we get to that time, when we’re ready for the “what’s next” but don’t have a plan, that we allow ourselves time enough to fall into a heap. Our creative minds have burned out. Consider it carefully before it sneaks up on you!
What to do if you get the BIG blues
– Don’t bash yourself up! Sometimes we have no control over our emotions despite how much preparation we do. Try to accept it and go with your moods, remember you will bounce back
– Rest up. If you can, take a couple of days after your big event to just relax and reflect
– Relive the excitement – make a scrapbook of your favourite moments from your holiday
– Just like Seasonal Affective Disorder, the key to overcoming the blues is to get some sunshine. Open your blinds in your house and get plenty of fresh air and exercise by going for long walks outside
– Eat healthily – try to regulate your eating habits so you’re not over-spending on food. Eating healthily will boost your mood
– Ensure you’re getting enough sleep – aim for a minimum of eight hours a night
– Have something planned for the quiet days, always have something to do and to look forward to i.e. plan Christmas presents for people, practise a new hobby, write letters to friends etc
– Make a list of things you have ahead that you can look forward to
– Ditch an old habit and replace it with a healthy habit – it’ll take time and patience, but it’s something positive to concentrate on
– Incorporate one nice thing into every week (change it regularly) i.e. reading a magazine, having a bath or buying yourself flowers
– Take charge of your life where ever possible, book another holiday, keep yourself busy, or if you find you’re really struggling, seek help from your local doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor or psychologist.
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