This is a follow up to my original post about feeling "blah." It was, and still is, one of the most popular posts on my blog. The "blahs" aren't something we like to advertise about ourselves, but I think they are something that all of us go through from time to time.
After another recent case of the "blahs," I realized I had more I wanted to add to my initial list. Some are physical and some are mental/emotional, but it's usually a combination of these things that help pull me out of the doldrums.
I'll include the same disclaimer I wrote in my last post: The “blahs” I’m referring to are not the same thing as depression. I’m simply sharing the things that help me when I’m not feeling 100% like my best self, and my suggestions should in no way be taken as medical advice.
6 More Things To Try When You're Feeling "Blah"
1) Do something that fuels you
In my original post about feeling blah, I said that you should start by giving yourself a break. Often the blah feelings will pass when you just give yourself a little time to relax and rejuvenate.
But I also think it's a good idea to do something that fuels you and makes you feel alive. For me, it's cooking... in peace. I added the "in peace" because there's a HUGE difference in how I feel when I'm chopping and dicing and stirring and simmering with some nice music playing in the background and a glass of good wine in one hand vs. how I feel when I'm throwing chicken fingers into the oven while the kids are screaming "I'm DYING of starvation!!!"
Reading a great book is another big one for me. Sometimes the things I love the most are the first things I wipe off of my schedule, claiming I don't have time. But I also don't have time to sit around feeling blah. It's important to make time for the things that make you feel like you.
2) Sit down and eat a good lunch
Lunch is one of those meals I often dismiss. It's the middle child of meals. My lunches are usually "a handful of this, a few bites of this, and a little of that" throughout the day. My cobbled together lunches are usually relatively healthy, but I rarely make lunch a sit-down type of affair unless I'm eating with somebody else.
Yet, whenever I do actually make myself a real lunch and sit down to eat, even if I'm alone, I feel a lot better and have sustainable energy and a more positive outlook throughout the day. It doesn't have to be a complicated meal — just something simple like soup and a sandwich, a salad made with leftover chicken, or heated up Thai food leftovers (yum). Heck, you can even grab a book, drive yourself to your favorite restaurant, and order up something delicious in the middle of the day, or pick up take-out if you don't like to eat alone.
One night my husband and I were doing our usual ritual of watching TV on the couch before bed. Instead of our usual HGTV or crime shows, we turned on an old episode of "Friends." I don't know if the show was always that funny, or it was just a particularly funny episode, but we laughed and laughed, and I came to the sad realization that I don't laugh nearly enough.
If I don't make an effort to seek out funny books, funny movies, or funny people, it could be weeks...even months...before I actually LAUGH; not just a little "tee hee hee," but a full out cackling laugh.
When you're "adulting" and your days are spent working, tending to kids, paying bills, and worrying about the future, it's easy to actually forget to laugh! Buy a funny book, watch a funny TV show or movie, or get together with a friend who makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine.
4) Set a goal
I've realized that sometimes when I'm feeling blah, I'm also feeling a little bit aimless. It could be because I have so much to do that I'm not sure what to tackle first, or it could be because I don't have a whole lot to do and therefore am having trouble getting motivated. Setting a concrete goal always helps me to feel more positive instead of wallowing in my blah-ness.
It could be related to your profession, exercise, a hobby, saving money, planning a trip, a project around the house, or almost anything. The key is to set a realistic, but do-able goal and a date when you expect to have it done. Write it down, and work toward it a little bit every day. Even if it's just a few stitches in a scarf or one drawer cleaned out, it will give you something to focus on when you're feeling a little lost.
5) Get out of the house
The other day I was sitting around my house in my usual uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I followed the advice from my first post, and got dressed in regular clothes and put on a little make-up. And then I just grabbed the keys and left the house without any real plan in mind. I went to a bookstore and wandered around, checking out the new releases. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some food for dinner. I took a walk through an outdoor shopping center and bought myself a coffee.
As an introvert, I often retreat when I'm feeling blah, and I want to go out less. But just getting out in the world and being part of civilization can help turn your mood around. I don't need to chat up every stranger I see...but even smiles from passersby, a hug from my favorite grocery bagger (shout out to Larry from Randall's!), or giggles from happy kids playing in a park can help brighten things up a bit.
6) Talk to yourself like you'd talk to a friend
Pretend for a minute that a friend of yours said she was feeling a little blah. What would you say to her? Chances are (assuming you're a nice person), you'd say something kind and encouraging.
But when I talk to myself, it is always WAY more negative than what I'd ever say to a friend. If a friend said she was feeling blah, I'd never say, "Ugh — you're so unmotivated! What's wrong with you? Everyone else is out there conquering the world, and you're just sitting there in your pajama pants pinning recipes you're never going to make! Get yourself together!"
No. I'd probably give her a compliment and tell her to take it easy on herself. I'd tell her to read a book or do a yoga class and buy an expensive green juice afterwards. When that negative self-talk sets in, ask yourself what advice you'd give a friend. And then take it!
Do you get the "blahs?" What helps you to shake them off?