We have officially entered 2023. For many, the last several years have been full of challenges, and many of those carried over into the start of this new year.
Those difficulties have left many feeling down and discouraged. Beating the blues isn’t always easy but there are some things we can do to feel life beating in our hearts once again.
Although I don’t believe in “New Year’s resolutions,” I do believe that the new year beginning is a good time to put an end to all the old patterns and mindsets that kept us stuck in years past.
The source and severity of the blues vary from person to person, but the general feeling is the same: sadness and sorrow over things that have passed, things that are yet to come, and things that may never be again. If you feel blue today as well, this collaborative post offers some tips for beating the blues and beginning to feel joy again.
Stop obsessing over the past
The past is in the past, and it can never be changed – even 3 minutes ago! It is healthy to accept that we’ve made some mistakes and missed some opportunities. We grow when we honestly evaluate ourselves to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. However, bad things happen when we dwell on the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” in life.
Use hindsight as a weapon for you and not against you. Use it as a teaching tool to learn more about why you did what you did, what areas you might need to work on, and how you can move forward today with the wisdom you’ve gained.
Using hindsight to beat yourself up with regret only lowers your self-esteem, makes beating the blues nearly impossible and keeps you stuck right where you don’t want to be!
Instead of thinking about the past, try thinking about your future. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to accomplish by the end of this year? By the end of next year? A lot of people spend too much time dwelling on negative thoughts from their past, which makes them more prone to depression. But if you focus solely on your future, you’ll have a brighter outlook in all aspects because hope and limitless possibility lives there.
Don’t sweat the future
There’s a phrase I hear many successful people say; “I never would’ve dreamed…”
Why is that? Most successful people work hard at whatever it is they want to achieve so why was it hard for them to imagine where they are today?
If you ask me, it’s because we get blinded by our current challenges and easily forget how quickly things can change. Tomorrow is a brand new day and it just might look very different from today. Even if you’ve been giving your best and it doesn’t feel like it’s good enough; don’t lose hope.
Live in hope. Because things do happen. Things do change. Worry really is futile. Don’t fear the future. Dreams do come true.Miranda Hart
All you can do is your best right now, today. Whether it’s a broken relationship, financial hardship, health battles, career goals, mental health struggles, or anything else — keep showing up and doing your best one day at a time. Before you know it, you’ll look around and the scenery of your life will look a whole lot different.
It’s baby steps, focusing on the present moment. Pay attention to your day-to-day activities as well as those around you, such as a kid who needs your help with their homework or a person you pass on the street who smiles at you. These moments are all priceless and should be cherished.
Focus on what you have now
When life throws you a curve ball, it can make you feel like the world is falling apart. But instead of looking at the things we don’t have today, it’s important to focus on what you do have. Think about the people in your life who care about and support you.
Start your day off on a sunny note. Write in your gratitude journal or simply thank God for all the blessings He’s gifted you with. It can be big or small. When life is hard and it’s difficult to find gratitude in your heart – start with something simple like the warmth of your bed, the taste of your favorite coffee, or the smile from a stranger to brighten your day.
Being grateful isn’t about forgetting all that’s wrong; it’s simply remembering all that’s right and focusing on that instead. We do not deny the existence of challenging, painful moments, or the emotions that come with them. Instead, we shift our focus to doing what we can do to improve our situation and trust the Lord to do what we cannot. He is faithful and more than able to come through for you, His beloved!
Being grateful isn’t about forgetting all that’s wrong; it’s simply remembering all that’s right and choosing to focus on that instead. #gratitudeTweet
Be mindful of your mood
As we mentioned above, the best way to beat the blues is not to ignore your emotions but to be mindful of them and kind to yourself for feeling out of sorts. This may be a good time to say no to unnecessary events, and make time for doing activities that light you up with joy or visit with someone whose company you love.
Try new hobbies to see if you fall in love with any. It’s also a good way to meet new friends who share the same interests too!
My best method for beating the blues? Help someone else. Volunteer at a food bank, church organization or other cause close to your heart. I promise you, it is simply amazing how much perspective we gain when we elevate others’ needs ahead of our own. Serving others brings an attitude of gratitude you didn’t even know you had.
If you are grieving over a significant life event, take a break from social media or other distractions. The idea here is to be intentional with your mood so it doesn’t overtake your life. You can even try boosting your mood naturally with a more holistic approach.
Here is my genuine prayer over your life:
Stay flexible and be patient
Over the course of your life, you will experience both good and bad times. The key is to be flexible, faithful, and patient.
If you are a person of faith, you probably know the Scripture from Hebrews 11:1-3. I like how the Message translation puts it, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.”
It’s good to make plans or to have goals and dreams. The reality is they rarely happen how we think they will. Our foundation of faith, a deep trust in God says, “Lord, I don’t know why this is happening, but I trust you to make this mess work out for my good.”
A detour doesn’t mean denial. In those moments when your faith is wavering, ask God for His faith. I believe He will meet you right at that point of need and give you the strength to keep believing even when you can’t see it or feel it.
Try a change of scenery
One of the best ways to beat the blues is to get outdoors. Not only does it burn calories and get your mind off your woes, but it has also been proven to improve mental health. There is plenty of scientific evidence that brisk walking boosts productivity, creativity, and mood. This gives you a chance to soak up some vitamin D and enjoy the fresh air.
Besides those amazing benefits, it helps us get out of a rut. Life can become monotonous when we have the same responsibilities and go to the same places every day.
Changing it up can also be as simple as driving a different route to work, eating at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, visiting a local small business, or even updating the décor in your home to suit new tastes.
You might be surprised how refreshed you feel after changing one small routine in your day-to-day life. It’s a bonus if you can be active while you do it because exercise is a stress killer!
Listen to relaxing music
There are so many forms of escape when it comes to beating off the blues and negative thoughts, and music does the trick for making a good escape. Listening to relaxing music is a great way to go if you’re looking to unwind after a long day or simply want to improve your overall well-being.
Several research studies have found that certain types of music can reduce stress. However, listening to the wrong kind can have the opposite effect.
What type of music relaxes you? What type of music puts you in a good mood? This is the type of music you want to hear, so avoid angry music or anything too sad. This will only make the feeling worse.
When depression grips my soul and I urgently need the presence of God, nothing is more powerful than taking some time for soaking worship. I highly recommend it.
Supplements can help
Vitamin D may be your answer. It can make you feel happier and improve your overall health. This is why it is important to ensure you get enough of this nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in people of all ages. The most common source of vitamin D is sunlight. When you don’t get enough of it, your body can’t produce enough serotonin and melatonin, two natural chemicals that control your mood and sleep cycle.
So, this alone could be why. Plus, if you’ve ever heard of seasonal depression, then the lack of sun, meaning the lack of vitamin D, causes it. While it’s important to go out in nature and embrace the sun’s rays, vitamin D supplements can also help.
Iron: Another supplement I can’t go without is Spatone liquid iron. It does not upset your stomach and it is quickly absorbed. Low iron causes depression by decreasing the amount of dopamine our brain produces which is a happy hormone.
Magnesium is another deficiency that can cause symptoms of depression. I am a BIG believer in this magnesium lotion because it absorbs quickly and I saw some symptom relief from anxiousness after the first night of using it. An estimated 50% of the population is magnesium deficient and without adequate amounts in our blood, vitamin D isn’t properly absorbed which only worsens feelings of sadness.
Green or matcha tea is another must-have for me. They have been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, producing a much more calm mind. Besides that, they have other incredible health benefits. I’ll often drink the blends with lemon or turmeric for even more brain-protective power.
There are several teas known to help ease low moods. Could they help you?
Laughter is known for being the best medicine, and laughter is also known for beating the blues, even if it’s temporary. Seeing something funny can make you laugh or at least smirk, no matter how sad you are. It’s really up to you how you want to laugh, whether it be watching your favorite comedian, seeing a comedy flick, or maybe even something on YouTube.
If you love cats, you might enjoy Funny Cat Friday for the antics of our silly kitties!
Figure out what fuels these feelings
While it’s very basic, it’s important to try to figure out what exactly is causing these feelings. Are you becoming blue more frequently? In fact, are you wondering what is depression? Prolonged “blue” feelings could mean depression, but it’s not always the case.
Identifying the type of negative thoughts that fuel your depression is an important step toward improving your mood. While it may be difficult to change negative thinking patterns on your own, overcoming them and enjoying life once again is possible. Ideally, you’ll need to confront yourself about your thoughts and feelings and maybe consider a good therapist too.
If you are a believer, you can ask Holy Spirit to make you aware when you are thinking defeating thoughts. I do this all the time and I’m a work in progress. Renewing our minds and taking our thoughts captive helps us see where we are believing lies that fuel depression. It’s simply not possible to be well if we are constantly drinking poison for our emotional well-being.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is critical for your emotional and physical health. When you get enough sleep, your body and brain will be able to work efficiently, and you’ll be less likely to feel upset or exhausted.
If you are not getting enough sleep, it can affect your mood, judgment, and even your relationships. When trying to get yourself in a better mood, you first need to think about what is causing these blues, often times it’s from exhaustion.
If exhaustion is the cause of your low mood, make rest a priority. When possible, turn off electronics and go to bed earlier allowing plenty of time for the optimal hours of sleep.
Maybe you need to learn to say no more often? No is a complete sentence and it’s perfectly okay to prioritize your health when you need a recharge.
I get that life’s demands often intrude on our quality or quantity of sleep. All I’m saying is do what you can to get enough shut-eye before the lack of it causes even bigger problems.
What to remember
We’re all going through difficult times in life. You’re not alone. Some of us struggle with a particular issue, while others just have daily battles. It’s natural to feel down and discouraged from time to time, but it’s important to remember that these feelings are temporary, and you will overcome them.
Make time to take care of your mental health and prioritize your health. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, do your best to focus on what you have now and what you can do to improve your tomorrows.
Have faith that the Lord who has promised is faithful to you. He hasn’t brought you this far to leave you now, even when you feel He has. I believe the best is still yet to come in your life.
There’s a lot we can’t change but when we do what we can to change what we can and leave the rest to Papa, amazing things happen.
Stay encouraged, my friend. This too shall pass.
Love & Heartfelt Blessings,