Monday, June 27, 2011

How to feel better

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. It started from being sad about Atlas departing, but has carried on to a general flatness and loss of interest in things that usually excite me. I also feel a little burnt out and detached from others.

I’ve never had proper depression but from time to time, right back to my teens I have had the occasional bout of mild melancholia. It’s also mid-winter here so that may have something to do with it, even though I normally love the cosiness of winter.

I know it will pass with time, but meanwhile I’ve been doing the following to help it on its way.

Being gentle with myself, not doing too much if I don’t want to. Rather than a whirlwind marathon housework day (which I just don’t have the energy for at the moment) I do the basics and spend some time pottering, sewing, reading and relaxing.

Having early nights – I start winding down about 9pm and am in bed reading well before 10pm lights out. I’ve been sleeping like a log thank goodness. I also find I feel worse in the evening, so it’s nice to wash my face good and early and hop into bed. I think my body needs lots of good, pure rest. One night last week I made noises about heading off to bed. ‘But it’s only 10 past 8!’ my husband said incredulously. That was quite funny. I managed to last until 9.

Not medicating with food and drink, but following my WW propoints guidelines. When I did decide to let loose with food and drink, I felt a lot worse. Being in control of my diet and my weight goes a long way towards feeling happier.

Remembering to breathe. Often I find myself holding onto my breath. It feels such a relief to let it flow in, and out. I need to remind myself many times a day.

Keeping to my daily routines.

Talking to someone. I told my husband last night I was feeling low. I feel better for having shared it, he had some helpful suggestions, and now he is looking out for me too.

Yoga twice a week – I have missed it a few times lately and have been only attending once a week. I’m sure this has not helped my low mood as I always feel great - energised, relaxed and positive after a yoga workout.

Walking outside. I walk to yoga and back, and I also like to do errand walks on foot as long as it's not pouring with rain. A light sprinkle is ok, I take an umbrella. I met two old colleagues for lunch one day last week, and walked to meet them. It was the next suburb over and took about 45-50 minutes each way but it meant I didn't have to find a park, and got some exercise and fresh air at the same time. It was inner-city too so quite interesting.

Reading – I have been alternating my positive thinking books with pure escapism (currently the first Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic book – that series had me laughing out loud they are so crazy).

Also escapism tv/movies. Nothing gritty or real for me I’m afraid (now or at any other time). Keeping up with the Kardashians and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are great medicine I find. Not hours on end though. Just an episode here and there. I also like to rewatch favourite feelgood fun movies at times like this.

Clearing out clutter corners at home and at work. If an area is bothering me, even if I have other things to do, I attack the clutter corner. It often only takes a small amount of time, and I feel infinitely better and more able to tackle the harder jobs instantly. I went through all my trays at work on Saturday, filing and throwing out. A clear in-tray is a thing of beauty isn’t it? Even if it doesn’t last very long, but I will keep on top of it.

Taking vitamin C. I go through phases of taking vitamins, and at the moment I don’t take any, but I always have vitamin C in the cupboard for when a cold threatens to come on. I read in a model beauty book ages ago that models take a 2000mg dose of vitamin C to give them a boost. As shallow as I am, I have been taking the models advice.

Be selfish and say no. No to library books that don’t hold my attention, no to tv programmes or movies I have taped and decided I don’t like. It feels hard to do, and I don’t like to let people down, but learning to say no is so beneficial to our mental health. If I get a niggling feeling in my stomach when I think about something, I have been making a decision there and then to do something about it properly (not just putting it off).

Indulging in the little luxuries. I use all my lovely things and don’t feel guilty at all.

Don’t go shopping! No good purchasing decisions could possibly be made so I’ve been staying away from the shops.

Daydream about the future. I do this both by myself by writing down lists of my ideal lifestyle, home, personal style, person I want to be, and with my husband about what type of home we want to purchase, what we would do with tons of money if we won the lottery (not that we take out tickets, but still, it’s fun).

Plan ahead little treats. We are booked into our favourite 5-star luxury hotel right here in the city we live in a month or so’s time. Just for a night. They always have good package deals and it’s a mini-break we can still have while running a seven-days-a-week business. Looking forward to going really is half the fun.

Actually, I’m starting to feel a little bit better already. Have I missed anything off the list? What makes you feel better when you’re low? I wonder what a chic French woman would do to combat malaise?


  1. Hello Fiona, Just wanted to stop by your blog today and say how much I enjoy reading your posts. I'm sorry you are down right now. I think you are probably more sad about loosing your beloved dog than you realize. Also some people experience more blues during winter because of lack of sun exposure. You are doing all the right things. Give yourself some time. Be your own best friend. Thanks, a reader in Texas.

  2. Salut Fiona, sorry to hear you're feeling low. I guess it simply takes time to come to terms with losing your pet...

    I think everything you're doing is great, especially the part about staying in control of your diet. Otherwise it's like a vicious cycle when you're not feeling well.

    Lots of sleep really helps and I find that being alone, going for walks, sitting somewhere watching the world go by and taking time for my thoughts helps too. What I don't want at a time like that is lots of people around me. I need quiet time to reflect and then come out again in my own time.

    I guess "take your time and do what feels right for you" is the bottom line... Love from London xo

  3. Dear Fiona
    I have recently discovered your blog and I love reading your posts... in fact I spent the entire last weekend reading your old entries. I am sorry to hear about your darling little dog and that you are feeling down... You are doing all the right things, and most importantly you are being gentle to yourself. Hang in there :)
    Kasia, Edinburgh

  4. Great advice here ... And winter really can do it to you (winter here also in Sydney). Hang in there and be kind to yourself.

  5. Those are all super-constructive, healthful things for you to do, and it's so normal to feel a little blue after things kind of pile up on you. If you can slip away for an extra session or two of yoga per week, it's so helpful. "Take it to the mat!" is what my husband and I always say about feeling glum, upset, or angry. The yoga mat is the perfect place to leave that stuff behind. And as you said, it makes you feel wonderful afterward.

    It's great that you're minding your nutrition in the right way. If you went off, you'd only feel so much worse. Keep up the good work.

    You might add fish oil and a B-complex vitamin to your regime. Both are helpful on the emotional front.

    And you know, there'll be room in your big ole heart in a few weeks or months for a new little buddy, if you're open to that ....

    In the meantime, take care.

    xoxo --

    P.S. Oh, you asked what I do to get through the blues. Yoga, yoga, yoga, rest and sleep, tending to my grooming extra carefully so I feel pretty, very nice tea (something French) instead of my ordinary stuff, dumb comedies (like "Zoolander" and "Dumb and Dumber"), and talking with my husband.

  6. Fiona, the loss of Atlas is so real so difficult. Know that you have the right to grieve and mourn. And then:

    - as much yoga as you can handle
    - shop! Let's face it, retail therapy can go a long, long way
    - get busy! A crammed schedule can help time fly until the miserable winter months have passed.

    I'm a northern hemisphere gal, so here's what I do to beat my February (August for you) blues:
    - see friends for any excuse: dinners in, dinners out, movies, retail therapy sessions, whatever. Friends can make anything better.
    - pardon me but, um, marital relations, ahem, as frequently as possible, make for a positive spring in your step the next day and give you an excuse to shop for frilly little nothings that make your husband love you and boost your self esteem.
    - plan for the future. This the time to focus obsessively on summer holiday planning.

    Be well, think happy, know that this too will pass.

  7. I know how you feel. I'm having a little down spell too. And it's winter here across the "ditch" in NZ. Reading your post has reminded me of things I can do to help myself get out of it.

  8. I can totally relate to what you are experiencing, but I hope you'll feel better soon! Having something to look forward to helps a lot, as well as being kind to yourself and maybe lower the bar a little. I find that some kind of exercise, be it yoga or jogging, always helps! And, although I agree with you on not medicating with food and dring, making a hearthy meal and sharing a good bottle of wine and a conversation with your better half is never wrong!

  9. What a fab post Fiona. I love the just say "no" and being selfish about it; something many of us find difficult to do.
    If it's mid-winter, you might want to take a Vit D supplement which also has an effect on feeling down/ mild depression.
    Sending you hugs from Spain xx

  10. I think you are doing all the right things to help yourself feel better. It happens to everyone and it's completely normal. I like the suggestion of adding a few vitamins like b-complex and D. That with exercise should help. I always need sleep when I'm like this and indulge in going to bed early like you have.

  11. Fiona I hope you feel better soon and I am so sorry about Atlas departing. I can only imagine how hard that must be. Giving you a virtual hug! xx

  12. There are a couple things I have found that really help cheer me, but I think the main one is a Random Act of Kindness. Go get a coffee and pay for the person behind you, go to a pet store and buy a box of crickets that would usually be fed to a snake, and set them free, or just any little thing that puts you in the position of creating happiness for another. Also, journal about moments throughout the day that made you grateful or happy; 3 per day to start and see where it takes you. I do this before bed and it helps me sleep more peacefully and keeps me on the lookout throughout the day for things to write about later. Hope this helps!

  13. I am sorry to hear about your darling doggy. I'm not surprised you are feeling low just now, losing a much loved pet is incredibly sad, a bereavement, and as marguerite says, probably effecting you more than you realise......... I think you are doing all the right things to look after yourself, it will just take time....... Victoria, England

  14. Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful (and amusing!) comments everyone.

    I don't know if it's because I wrote it down and sent it out, or if one more day has passed, but I do feel a lot cheerier.

    Maybe it's the collective energy of lovely people? I belive in that. Thanks again.

    Kay, I am in NZ too, but not in Christchurch like you are. I hope you are ok with the ongoing earthquakes and keeping safe and warm. I think about you guys every day.

  15. Your list is fabulous and everything I would do too!! I am so sorry about Atlas! Much love to you! xxoo :)

  16. Fiona,

    I am sorry to hear you are blue...but it seems you are feeling a bit better now that you have put pen to paper (virtually).
    I find that a good cry helps as does engaging in a project that brings immediate gratification such as weeding, ironing, baking something to give to another person, etc. helps me feel better.

    I really like Jessica's suggestions about random acts of kindness and a gratitude journal. I may have to try those myself.

  17. Fiona, I am sorry you are not yourself at the moment. I am so sorry to hear about Atlas. Please take comfort in knowing that he was so loved..

  18. I've been thinking of you (and Atlas) quite a bit lately, and hoping you were okay. I love that you're accepting that you're feeling a little down, but trying to counteract it in a variety of ways. Love this list. I say just keep giving yourself time while still enjoying life on your terms.

  19. So sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I don't take vitamins - French women usually don't since our diet is so varied. I take vitamin C in the form of grapefruit, mandarin and kiwi daily. Rest up.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...