Editor’s note: Barton Goldsmith’s column now runs on Sundays and Mondays in the News-Press. Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, the Ask the Gold Digger columnist, is taking a break this week, but her column will return next week in the News-Press on its new day — Sundays.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do when you’ve got a case of the blues is to do whatever you can to keep moving forward. When you run out of things to do in one area of your life, explore another and simply start doing something.
Time on your hands may well lead you to dark thoughts and lower your energy. If you want to feel better (and you know you do), then you have to actually do something to make that happen and to change your circumstances as well as your state of mind.
The choices are endless. You have your basics: exercise, running errands, doing stuff around the house, completing paperwork, and so on. Although I am a fan of meditation, when you are in this condition, a few minutes can be helpful, but it is not an activity you want to engage in for the entire day. It’s almost like napping away your troubles. Unless you take some action before trying to get in touch with yourself (or just escape by sleeping), you will wake up in the same emotional state.
I think it also helps to focus action on the area you are stressing about. If you are lonely, then spend time going to events, meeting people, and even looking online for friends or someone who can be more to you. Don’t isolate yourself. You can only end the loneliness when you find a person or people to whom you can relate.
If you are out of work and it’s depressing you, make finding a job your new career. Get up every day and get dressed like you are going to work, and then do your research, set up interviews, send resumes and ask everyone you know if they have any leads for you.
This is where you can be productive on the computer and utilize your network of friends and family to help you find something. There is a job out there for you. I know it’s frustrating, but you can find it.
If you are not in the market for love or work, but you are still not as emotionally strong as you would like to be, you might want to do some volunteer work. You can support a cause or some people, doing what you can to make the world a better place. Please believe me when I tell you that you will feel better knowing you have made a contribution to the human race.
It works almost every time though it can be hard to offer what’s left of your strength and energy when you are down. The truth is that you won’t change your mood by doing the same things over and over again. Yes, you deserve time to heal from an emotional loss, but too much time spent in that arena will take away from what you have left.
Doing something, almost anything, that will help move you forward is the key to making your life a nice place to be once again.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.