Honestly, darlings, the blues encompass a wide range of emotions from the depths of despair to the pain of Monday mornings. The word is a combination of sadness, melancholy, gloom and even despair. Obviously, there are a variety of reasons we experience the blues, depending on the circumstance.
We can be divinely happy one minute–then all of a sudden, a short setback puts us in a funk for a short time. Or perhaps, out of the blue, we experience a jolt that changes our mood from delightfully upbeat to very sad. Some women over 50 fight depression and are blue, rain or shine. What can be done to combat all types of sadness?
My Positive Resiliency
I am going to speak to you from my point of view. Although I feel I have earned my Ph.D. in Life, I am not a professional therapist. I speak from the point of view of a woman well over 50+ who has weathered a range of situations, some seemingly insurmountable, as have you. Sometimes these experiences seemingly last for eons. Then there are the blues we combat that put us in a funk for a short time as they come and go as part of life. Then once again, we are cheery souls.
Fortunately, the good news is that most of us do not suffer from chronic depression, which roughly 2% of the population experiences. We survive and come out of the blues with positive resolve.
I have the capacity, which I refer to as my personal rhythm or beat. This ‘positive resiliency’ or the ability to spring back from unpleasant situations, allows me to pick myself up from most circumstances.
As you know, it is not always easy when a situation is difficult. It may take quite some time to find a solution; however, we do because we are determined, resilient women.
4 Tips To Combat All Types of Blues
1. Support 365 Days of the Year
Let’s start with the worst-case scenario. If you know that you or a family member is clinically depressed, on drugs, or in another state of danger, I am providing you a safe haven with which you can start.
There is a helpline to phone for yourself, friends or family members if the blues are critical. It is free, confidential and they provide support 365 days of the year. The organization is known as SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and they can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
2. Coping with The Little Things
I am beset like all of us with the day-to-day happenings that can put us in a funk. Personally, I think it is harder to handle the small stuff because we rarely give it much thought and these blips pass without severe consequences. I tend to get overly emotional about the little things. For example, I get blue when my iPhone acts up or when I cannot recall one of my 43 passwords!
When this happens, I may take America for a walk, or enjoy a warm shower because I do my best thinking in the shower or when listening to French or Hawaiian music. These work wonders; my body relaxes and I begin to see the world from a rosier perspective. To relax, you may enjoy meditation or trying a yoga class. I personally find joy in attending Pilates.
When I began writing, it helped me feel like I could take on any care in the world. So, my darlings, why not try journaling too?
3. Physical Care to Derail the Blues
I eat salmon and toss flaxseed on my oatmeal because it has omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for our cardiovascular health. I read that scientists are telling the public omega-3s found in oily fish and herring may also fight depression.
One of my daughters realized she needed an abundance of natural sunlight in her life. She noticed when we moved from Honolulu to Chicago that she experienced the winter blues. Her family moved to Arizona so she could again have daily exposure to natural light. It worked!
If you cannot live in a sunny climate, doctors may recommend you purchase a lightbox. It is best used in the early morning and emulates natural sunlight. A lightbox can be used even for those who don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
4. Dealing with Larger Pains
The big stuff keeps me focused. It is so majestic; so large in magnitude one does not have the choice of going bonkers. One must sustain themselves in order to remain out of permanent despair. I sit at my desk in Chicago, looking out over my beautiful city on a gorgeous day thinking of my bluest happenings and how I dealt with each one. Four words come to mind: avoidance coping and proactive coping.
If you choose to go the route of avoidance coping, I can promise you that you will create additional stressors. You are escaping coping. Instead, if you are proactive, you will be able to combat your blues. Being proactive is empowering, and feeling empowered feels good!
Here Is My Story of Proactivity
I want to tell you how I handled emotional coping to avoid severe blues. After my first two cancer surgeries two weeks apart, I spent days and months crying. I woke up every day, put on my makeup and maintained proactivity regarding my life.
Similarly, I also wrote every day. I traveled with my ultimate concierge, worked out, shopped, never missed a CAT scan, saw my grands and spent time with my family. Nevertheless, hanging over my head, I felt a dark, black cloud.
Guidance From a Friend
One day, I walked into Chanel to see my friend. I knew I needed to be proactive about my health issues. It took me a long time to figure out my course of action, but when I did, I knew I was headed in the right direction.
My girlfriend had one of the same types of cancer that I had. I had seen her several times over the past few years and her attitude had always been marvelous.
We sat on a couch at Chanel and she told me what to do. She urged me to see a psychologist named Jennifer. I walked right home and called the office. After thinking through my options, I made the decision to talk to a friend who knew how I was really feeling. She had been where I was. I made an appointment with Jennifer that day.
She helped me through my very darkest days. My black cloud lifted. I now have grey clouds that scatter every so often and I have a black cloud when I am due for a CAT scan. I used proactive coping skills because I don’t believe in avoidance.
Find the Method That Works for You
There are serious situations we face after the age of 5o: finances, health, adult children, divorce, widowhood, and moving, among many other factors. I think you should begin tackling your situation by realizing this is a process. You have to find an appropriate method that works for you. Use proactive coping skills and your resilience to get you through things.
Striving for excellence should motivate you. It is about doing the right thing for your mental health in order to cope with the blues.
Please share my musings with friends and family who may benefit from this story about coping with the blues.
We are all here to support one another.
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