09 August 2016

When Summer Blues Hit

Every now and then, I have a bit of a cruddy day. Sometimes it's a problem in my life that needs to be dealt with, sometimes it's just a funk, sometimes (especially as a woman) it's hormones being ridiculous (or maybe I'm being ridiculous). I can choose to wallow in "blah" feelings (let's be honest: this is often my first step) or I can take steps to relieve them. Since I am an introvert and an intuiter (INFJ personality type over here), I like to deal with an issue on my own first before I'll bring it up to other people. I just need more time on my own to process things. It seems silly that I'm only now figuring out what to do about such things at 24 years old, but this is a list of some things I like to do to combat what I am at this time calling the "Summer Blues."

1. Take a walk.

When I awoke, something in me could not stay still, so I had to get out of the house. I don't know if it's a vitamin D thing or what, but somehow getting outside and going for a walk can improve my mood majorly. Living so close to campus gives me a nice path to walk, as well. I can walk through the secret garden-esque grounds of a nearby library, amble along a line of rosebushes and pick one of several crisscross pavements to follow. One of my favorite things to do is sit by a centrally-located fountain and people watch as students cut across the quad to class or play with their dogs. Granted, such walks have to take place before 9AM if I want to avoid the brunt of Texas Summer heat, but the timing is nice, since even less people are out and about and I can enjoy the quiet time.

2. Talk to God.

This item should go at the top of the list, but it happened in conjunction with walking, so I've placed it second. I have been trying to get more in the habit of thinking of God when I first awake, thanking Him for one more day and trying to prepare myself spiritually for the day ahead. As I walked, I poured out my thoughts to Him. My worries, my fears, my insecurities, anything goes (preferably, I do this after thanking Him for some things. If I'm going to nag and complain, I should probably try to be a little bit grateful, too, right?). I know that He will listen and won't tell me how absurd my concerns are (some of them doubtlessly are, and I come to realize that). I remember the psalms: "Show me, Lord, your way so that I may walk in your truth. Guide my heart to fear your name." (Psalm 86) There seems to be a psalm for every emotion and state of mind. I might ask the saints to pray for me (Mary, Joseph and Thérèse are standard; other saints are included if I have a special case).

3. Write it down.

When my mind is buzzing with thoughts, it is comforting to write those thoughts down, if only to have them stored somewhere else (praying is good, of course, but there is something about doing tactile work to get restless energy out). Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I may never show someone the page. I may just throw it away after. The point is, everything is said. If I am dealing with a problem, it can also be nice to, once that problem is resolved, come back to the page and see that has been worked out or that the prayer within has been answered.

4. Do something mindless.

One of my first steps when I am stressed out is to do busy work. It usually manifests itself as cleaning, cooking or baking. I may even sit in my closet and reorganize my things. I don't think it is really appropriate as a first step, because it really is just busyness and does not address the issue at hand. However, after I have taken the above steps, I do like to do something mostly mindless as a way to "detox" from the stressful period. My mind goes from worrying, for example, to "hashing out" the issue with God and myself, to entering a resting state. I think it's best if I can do something that can be deemed productive, like the above examples. That way, I can at least feel a little good about being asocial for a while. ;) After the "busy" stage of mindless work, I can shift to something less productive and more fun. Singing and dancing like a silly person is always a good option.

5. Reconnect with people.

The danger of being mild and shy person is that I can stay in my head too much. After I've done the above steps, I need to reintegrate myself into social interaction. This can manifest itself as having a discussion with my husband, checking in on friends I haven't spoken to for a while, meeting with a friend (I think this is an especially good option if they need help with something), chatting with my sister, going to Mass, making plans for later in the week, reading about a saint, etc. If the things in my head are me-focused, it is a really good help to be around other people and remember that I am not the center of the world. ;)

Anyone have steps to de-stress? Would you add anything to my list? Leave a comment. :)