Ways for overcoming the blues

As we move through life, we will all eventually face challenges that will test our ability to cope and thrive. Empty nesters may take some time to adjust to a smaller, quieter household. Couples may go through relationship upheavals, such as divorce or remarriage. Perhaps the shift from working life into retirement can challenge your self-worth or sense of purpose. At the extreme end of the scale, the loss of a spouse or someone close to you can be a shattering experience that you many find difficult to move on from.

It’s not until you are actually in the midst of such situations that you will know how you will react. So what can you do if you find yourself on a downward spiral?

Manage your self expectations
Self-esteem and motivation are notoriously fickle aspects of human nature. Once they are seriously dented, it can test our will, sap our energy and create a cycle of disappointment about not being able to achieve or ‘perform to our usual standards’.

The first step to combating this is to give yourself a break and set goals that are a little easier to achieve. Focus on making small wins on even the most trivial of everyday tasks to give yourself a chance to get momentum.

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Speaking to someone, such as a family member, friends or a professional can be helpful when feeling down. You should never feel that you are alone.

Moving on from trauma
If you are struggling with a loss and with the challenge of re-adjusting your life, it’s important to look for new connections and interests that will re-activate and stimulate your sense of purpose. Taking a cooking or fitness class, joining a bushwalking or reading club, looking for opportunities to volunteer or use your skills to help others – such activities may be the kick start you need to form new relationships and new goals in life.

Ask for help
Perhaps most importantly, you should never feel that you need to face such challenges alone. If things degenerate into depression, then professional help is essential. Sharing and confiding in friends and relatives can also be important in helping you crystallise your feelings and gain moral support.

If you need further ideas on what to do or how to get assistance, here are some useful resources:

What advice would you give to those who are feeling blue? Let us know in the comments below.