It is another grey drippy day in Seattle and I am definitely feeling some of the post Christmas winter blues and the inevitable let down that comes after a wonderful trip like we made to Australia this year. So what do we do to ease this feeling, or should we even try? I think that we all downplay our negative emotions and depressive swings because we think that we should always feel upbeat, joyful and happy. As a consequence we often stay in the down swings longer than we need to.
King David often got depressed and was not afraid to write about it in the psalms. Most of us love the psalms of praise and adoration like Psalm 103 which was my reading this morning. But it is easy for us to forget that these stand alongside others of lament where he was definitely in the pit of depression – like Psalm 22 in which David admits “my strength has dried up like sunbaked clay, my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth, You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.”
There are many things that we can do to easy the downward trend of our emotions. Here are some of the things that help me personally
- Reading psalms of adoration and praise and meditating on the character of God. When I am down it always helps me to remind myself of the love, patience, mercy and compassion of the One in whom I live and move and have my being.
- Listen to your favourite music.
- Go for a walk or a run even if it is raining. Getting outside helps all of us overcome the winter blues. In fact I find that the feel of wind blowing on my face and the splash of rain on the footpath as I walk is quite invigorating and uplifting.
- Buy a flowering plant for your workspace. Now this may seem like a solution for passionate gardeners only, but I think that all of us benefit from admiring God’s beauty while we work. And plants do help to purify the air we breathe which is particularly important when all we are breathing is recycled and heated air.
- Spend time with a friend. Many of us spend more time alone when the weather is bad because we do not want to venture outside. But woes of all kinds, including the winter blues tend to dissipate when we are together with friends.
- Acknowledge the fact that I am feeling down and Spend some time reflecting on how I am feeling. Are there specific causes for my emotions and actions that could draw me out of my mood?
Obviously this is a very short list of solutions. And remember I am not talking about clinical depression here but just the ordinary mood swings that all of us experience So what are your most effective ways of dealing with the winter blues (or with the summer post Christmas blues for those in the Southern hemisphere)?