We all have good days and bad days in this life, regardless of our circumstances. Hopefully though, by the time we reach our 60s, the good days far outweigh the bad. That said, none of us is immune to the doldrums which can strike at any time and may last longer than justifiable.
Many times, it’s not a major catastrophe or tragic event that brings them on. It can be something as simple as four rainy days in a row, or several brutally cold winter days when we’ve been confined to our homes, or a few days of isolation, when no one has called or texted or even emailed.
I hate the doldrums but refuse to give into them! When the doldrums do strike, our tendency can be to give into them and throw a pity party for ourselves, eat or drink or sleep too much, or just slip into a mild or major depression.
So, like with any other dilemma that we are currently facing, we need a plan of action to defeat this state. The following are tips that I have found helpful.
Go for an activity where you can see or touch the outcome. “Tangible” is a key word here. When we feel down or depressed, it is difficult to become motivated to start any activity.
However, it is important just to start something, whether it’s working in the garden, cleaning out a closet, mowing the lawn, giving yourself a manicure, preparing your donation box, or posting some goods for sale online. You get the picture.
Starting is the hardest part. Once you start, you will find that momentum builds. And nothing is more gratifying than seeing the fruits of your labour!
An offer for your online sales, the garden that blooms, the grass that rebounds after a long winter, your beautifully manicured nails, or your basement that is starting to look decluttered!
Today I felt both angry and very down, for various reasons. I looked at my grass which badly needed cutting. So, I took my little boom box outdoors and listened to classical jazz and rock while I began to rake my back lawn.
Seeing the improvement in my lawn after raking, I was then motivated to cut both the front and back areas. I also noticed that the front gardens needed edging, so I proceeded with that.
By the time I was finished with all of these tasks, my back was hurting, but I felt such pride and such a sense of accomplishment as I viewed the fruits of my labour. Even this evening, as I look out my window and see my manicured lawns and gardens, I feel happy about my productivity today.
I am a single woman with no children. In the depths of winter, I often feel very alone. While I have friends, most of them are quite involved with their grandchildren and their own adult children. So, when I feel lonely, I will often go to the mall.
I strike up conversations with cashiers and waitresses and am both pleased and astonished to find how many of them welcome some intelligent and thoughtful conversation.
I often find well educated women who are working in “survival jobs,” and are grateful for customers who see them for more than the jobs they are currently employed in.
When we are feeling down, it’s easy to forgo basic hygiene, self-care, and fashion, because all of these things require effort and energy. However, this is the time when it’s especially important to take extra steps to look good, because we all know that when you look good, you feel good!
So, step into the shower, wash and blow dry your hair whether it needs it or not, and then put on something bright and colourful. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Colour is powerful!
The dictionary defines doldrums as “a state of inactivity or stagnation,” so it just makes sense to get moving to catapult yourself out of that state.
Go for a brisk walk, engage in a yoga class, or do some simple stretches at home. Nothing chases the doldrums away faster than some exercise or even gentle movement.
I have a good friend who suffers from Parkinson’s. Occasionally, I will pick up some groceries for her and drop them off at her apartment.
I am always so humbled by her gratitude and also by her strength and determination to carry on despite her own pain and mobility issues. And of course, seeing her condition puts my minor irritations into perspective.
Experiencing the doldrums from time to time is normal. However, if your low mood or depression is persistent or becoming more severe, it’s time to seek professional help. There are so many excellent therapists and doctors now who can intervene and help with negative mental states.
None of us should ever be too proud to ask for help. By the time we reach our 60s, we have all been helpers to many people. So now is the time for us to ask for and to seek help if we need it. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy this well-earned time in life. Let’s do everything we can to be well!
How do you beat the doldrums? What activity can spark energy when you feel depressed? How often do you give yourself a makeover, or dress well just for you? Does this make you feel more confident and upbeat? Please share with our community and let’s have a conversation!