Did you wake up today with that familiar pit in your stomach, dreading what’s on your to-do list and think, “Can I just be depressed today?”
As our sense of dread increases, so does our stress level. We may find ourselves thinking, “Gee, how can I get out of having to _____?” And as we discover that no, we really can’t (or shouldn’t) get out of ______, we just feel more powerless, more distracted, and more stressed over the situation. Choosing to be depressed may sound comforting.
So how can you get out of that rut and feel better today?
1. Make a decision. Waffling back and forth trying to decide for sure “Am I going to _____?” is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Evaluate the pro’s and con’s and then stick with your decision once you’ve made it. As the Nike motto says, “Just Do It!”
2. Connect with others. No, you don’t have to tell them that you’re having a really crappy day, but just the act of being around and connecting with others has a significant effect on the mind and body. Either call someone, engage in an instant message chat, reply to others on Twitter, or just get out and take some work with you to Starbucks.
3. Turn on the lights. Make sure that your home or office (wherever you are) has a light on! During the colder seasons of the year, many people struggle with the winter blues or even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Light on a rainy day, or after several days of overcast weather, and especially when the days are shorter can make a difference.
4. Focus on something that you can complete. Part of that dread and stress comes from doing something we don’t think we’re good at, or may have procrastinated. Pick one thing on your list that you can do quickly, like taking out the trash, paying one bill, or scheduling an appointment. This will give you a jump start to feeling successful. Every cross off of the “to-do list” counts.
5. Look forward to something AFTER that thing you dread. Give yourself something to be excited about after that one task or dreaded event is over. It can be renting a movie from Redbox on the way home, meeting a friend for a drink after words, taking a bubble bath, or reading. Again, nothing that’s going to add stress to your day, but a delightful way to celebrate the end of what started out as less than great day.
Start making these tips a regular part of your life to keep from asking the question, “Can I just be depressed today?” You’ll see a difference in your daily stress (and dread) levels!