“Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.” – Julia Cameron
Do you ever struggle with a bad mood? We often hear about positive thinking, but when we’re having a bad day, sometimes we can’t just flip a switch and think positive. So how can we improve a bad mood?
Recently, I berated myself for not living up to my own expectations. After a job loss and my mother’s death six months ago, I’ve been lethargic and have not accomplished all that I wanted to. This is frustrating. I looked at myself as if talking with a friend, and asked, “What do I need right now?”
I’d been cooped up in the house and had been spending much time on the computer. I decided I needed to be outside and see something different. I grabbed my journal and drove to one of my favorite places, an arboretum where I am a member.
There, I walked around a small lake. Ducks splashed in the water and birds chirped. A light breeze touched my face and I heard the rustling of leaves. I sat on a bench in a quiet spot and reflected that the scene before me was God’s beautiful painting of a lake surrounded by trees. It was cool, so I bought a hot chocolate and drove around the arboretum with my windows cracked open. I paused at the prettiest spots, told God my problems, and asked Him for help.
I realized that I have the lifestyle I’ve always wanted—the life of a writer. I do social media, I network, and I have a flexible schedule. All I’m missing is the actual writing! However, I perceived that this is my fallow period. When the soil in a field has been depleted, farmers may let it lie fallow for a time before it is replanted. I had been depleted by intense emotions about my job loss and the death of my Mom. Apparently I need a fallow time before I can fully embrace my new lifestyle as a writer. I left the arboretum feeling grateful for this time of rest and renewal.
What are your ways to cope on a bad day? When our kids were young, my friend Lori suggested, “Make everyone smile for five minutes including you. At my house, even though we’re all ‘smiling’ through gritted teeth, this improves our mood and our day.”
Of course, for serious depression or mood swings, please seek professional help. But for occasional doldrums, how do you take care of yourself? When you’re feeling moody, what do you need? Please share your ideas below.