On some days we leap out of bed and say, “Good morning, Lord.” On other days we drag ourselves out from under the covers, muttering “Good Lord, it’s morning.” I think it’s a human condition that we encounter stretches in our life’s journey when we don’t feel like doing anything, going anywhere, or talking to anyone. These periods may last a few days or more. Being deluged with horrors and disappointments in the daily news does nothing to alleviate our heavy feeling. Here are a few remedies to dispel gray days.
- Take up something new. This past week I’ve been learning about marketing books. Now that I’ve written more than eighty, I want people to know they are available. A chance meeting with a woman on a plane and help offered by a number of friends have spurred me on to make an all-out effort to promote my books. Believe it or not, when I woke up in the middle of the night yesterday, I had to control my urge to go to the computer and work on a catalog! This new interest has renewed my enthusiasm for life. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek for being enveloped by God. So what hobby can you take up? What new area of knowledge can you delve into? What course can you take: photography? watercolor? Spanish?
2. Go somewhere. Take a vacation or a staycation. Venture out of the house to another state or city. Go on a cruise. Visit the art museum, zoo, or planetarium in your own town. Chances are, you will meet other people who will enhance your life.
3. Do something for someone else. That is a good way to perk up our spirits. Donate blood, get involved with Habitat for Humanity, go shopping for an elderly neighbor, join a service group at your parish. The opportunities are endless.
4. Get in touch with nature and the God who created it: walk in a park or through woods. You might be familiar with Wordsworth’s poem “Daffodils” in which he says, “I wandered lonely as a cloud, until I came upon a host of daffodils.” Simply recalling a moving experience in creation can soothe us. This is what Wordsworth found whenever he later thought of those daffodils: “And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.” Remember the starry sky you saw one night when all was pitch dark? Remember the sunset you saw over the Pacific Ocean? Remember the two spotted fawns you saw lying in the grass?
5. Contact an old friend or relative. Refreshing a relationship leaves us refreshed. Phone, make a lunch date, send a card, invite the person over for a visit. Better still, throw a party and gather a number of people who are special to you.
6. Indulge in something that gave you pleasure in the past. When I taught high school, I would go to the library and listen to a recording of Strauss’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” used in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This music never fails to stir my soul. So, enjoy a lobster dinner, reread a favorite book, go for a motorcycle ride in the mountains, visit an amusement park. This will help put you in a good mood.
7. Exercise. This increases endorphins, which are hormones associated with a happy, positive feeling. It also produces seratonin that gives a sense of well-being. Run, walk, stretch, dance!
When we are happy, everyone around us will be happier too.
What do you do to relieve the doldrums?
Do YOU have any ideas for marketing my books?
Don’t miss the contest in the “Announcement.” It may be that reading Praying on Empty will cure the blahs for you. For those who don’t see the Announcement, it reads: “Be the 100th one to email me at [email protected] and win a copy of my new book Praying on Empty. Need only put your name in the email. Good luck!”