This is a day when I am fighting the heaviness of an overall gloomy feeling — not because anything particularly ‘bad ‘ has happened but because the day has passed without any strong sense of accomplishment. For someone who has been psychologically programmed to expect daily accomplishments through constant reinforcements that come from career achievements, the sense that a day has passed without any feedback that indicates success creates a gloomy feeling. For me it is not a funk or a depression or sadness. It is more like a feeling that the day has been pointless and empty.
The challenge in dealing with a gloomy day is to turn things around. After all, this is ‘post work’ time that should not be wasted with gloomy thoughts or a sense of aimlessness.
So how do you turn things around? Here are some techniques that work for me:
1. Focus on doing something concrete that you can finish quickly (say within one hour). This might be something as mundane as returning a call or cleaning up your email inbox. Pick something that is low intensity but can be finished so that you can say to yourself — “I called my friend/mother/sister” or “I completed the email cleanup”.
2. Delve into your music files and listen to the tracks that energize your soul. For me, music can pump me up — all is need are some of the cardio-tracks from spin classes or show tunes from musical performances that provide instant energy.
3. Get outside into the world. Filling my lungs with fresh air makes a huge difference. This is especially helpful if you live in a Northern climate like Canada and spend too much time indoors during the colder seasons. Even on the coldest days, it is helpful to bundle up and go outdoors. And in the mild seasons, there is always the back garden to offer a new perspective.
4. Exercise. Use your body. Go to the gym and workout. If that’s not for you, get on your bike or go for a run. Walking is something that everyone can do and will offer immense benefits — for your mood and, for your overall sense of well-being.
5. Call a friend. A good chin-wag, a shared joke, a bit of gossip about shared experiences always brings a new perspective. Who knows that such a call won’t pull your friend out of a gloomy time as well.
6. Explore a favourite hobby. If, like me, you neglected your hobbies during those years of going to the office every day, getting re-engaged with hobbies might be daunting and you’ll wonder what hobbies you still enjoy. Surely there are one or two things that you may have shelved over the years. Often those things that you though you would do ‘post work’ don’t hold interest for you and you find yourself exploring new activities and hobbies. Go for these shifts — the variety will certainly perk you up.
These answers might not be for you but they should help you to create your own list. Most of all, they will help you to move through the gloomy mood and get re-focused.
Guess what? Some of my gloomy mood has passed because I have focused on writing this blog post