Written by Dovid Green
Now that the cold days of winter are (hopefully) behind us, the days are getting longer and the warmth and fun of sun-filled days are ahead. Yet, even though we leave our heavy coats behind, we sometimes have trouble shaking off our own cobwebs and getting out of that winter funk. To help reach all our goals, here are some basic tips to get out of those ruts and start enjoying the spring! Some of these have been adapted from Gary Emery’s book on overcoming depression.
Ask “What?” not “Why?” – Often when we feel overwhelmed we end up asking big ‘why’ questions. “Why am I unhappy?” “Why does this happen to me?” or maybe even “Why can’t I just get over this?” As meaningful as those questions can be, they tend to leave us with more questions than answers. Instead of trying to address the “why’s” try trading them in for “whats.” “Why is this happening to me?” turns into “What made me upset?” and “Why can’t I just get past this?” can shift to “What new thing can I learn from this situation?” What questions give us a better foothold and an opportunity to have more concrete answers.
Be Active Vs. Reactive – A lot of people say they get a feeling of being overwhelmed when they are down, which in turn can make it difficult to accomplish their goals. Often times being overwhelmed can almost feel like the world is moving so fast around us, and we are just barely keeping up. This happens when we shift into a reactive place – waiting for a friend to call to be social, or waiting for the weather to change to go outside and get some fresh air. Being reactive takes our choices out of the equation, can make us feel down and overwhelmed! To get out of the funk, make some choices. They don’t even have to be major ones; pick a new slice of pizza you wanted to try, or take a new route home on your walk. Those little acts remind us we can make choices, and staying active helps keep us feeling like we have some control.
Pick a Slogan – Have you ever noticed how those great slogans like “Just do it” just stick in our heads? That’s because the idea is short, and we don’t have to think too hard to remember why we should buy those sneakers, or drink that soda. Often when we’re feeling down we think of really important, but often really complicated reasons for getting out of bed and completing our tasks. “I want to do this because if I could only finish this work, I would be able to get started on that other job, and if I finish that, I would start feeling better…” That’s a pretty hard thought to follow when we have so many other things on our minds! So, try whittling down those feelings into a short slogan – something a few words long, so whenever we hit a little bump we can have an easy reminder. “I want a new job,” or “I want to feel accomplished” are short and to the point.
These are just a few ways to break out of the winter doldrums and push ourselves to reach those spring and summer accomplishments.