I have to admit that I am usually an annoyingly upbeat, positive person, but recently I have had more than my normal share of down days. Maybe I am still dealing with the changes involved with retirement, or some frustration with physical issues due to ageing, but I have had enough! What am I going to DO about it??? After much soul searching as to what I would say to someone else who came to me for help, this is what I would suggest – go back to basics like:
Healthy Diet! Just like you cannot get good performance out of an engine that is fed poor quality fuel (or not enough or too much fuel) what you eat IS important! Start with the simple stuff, are you missing meals? Choosing to eat comfort food rather than the healthy food your body needs? A poor diet will only make things worse, so stay away from the sugary and fatty foods that you think may help you feel better. Maybe I should add, reduce those other addictive things like Coke and alcohol that you know will make things worse!
Effective Sleep Habits! Yes, I slept poorly again last night, I can blame the different bed (in the O’s mess) but it probably has more to do with the couple of glasses of Pepsi Max I had and allowing myself to start thinking about too many heavy things. In other words I need to get a better routine and choose to not worry about things! When I’m tired everything looks worse!
Accept Reality! Things have changed, and I cannot turn the clock back, so I’d better get my head around the new direction I AM going in. “Stop procrastinating and get on with it” I tell myself, because denial of reality is never helpful. If accepting “reality” is the real issue maybe I have to be prepared to ask for help and not just complain that nobody is helping me.
Lifestyle Issues! When I get depressed I tend to retreat from people, when what I probably need is social interaction. It is easier to hide than go for a walk or a cycle, even when I know that exercise will make me feel better. This is your life not a dress rehearsal so get out of that rut and LIVE! Make something, do something new, go somewhere even if you don’t feel like it, in short have some fun.
Think Positive! The easiest thing to do is to allow the negative, unhelpful thoughts to swamp you. The good news is you can learn to challenge and interrupt those thoughts and replace them with more helpful ones. Ask yourself things like “am I jumping to conclusions? Or “Am I exaggerating what I think has gone wrong?” “Is this really important in the big picture?” Stop allowing your fears to control you.
Hope! Don’t get so tied up in the small issues of today that you forget to plan for the future and set some realistic goals. Accept the fact that things are not always go as you plan them! I can assure you that having a strong faith doesn’t mean that things will always workout either, but believing that ultimately God IS in control does help me to believe that things will be OK.
I want my HEALTH back, but instead of blaming other people and other things, I need to take responsibility and accept that only I have the ability to change the current situation. What about you? Instead of cursing the darkness will you choose to switch on the light! Maybe the above list is a bit overwhelming, why not just choose one of the above to start with?
Padre I S Whitley AM