Loss, Change & Grief
Ways of Coping with "the Blues"
Journey of Hearts
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
This page was originally composed for dealing with the "Holiday Blues." After the holidays were over, we revisited the site only to discover that many of these suggestions still apply at any time. Some are just common sense suggestions for every day life. So with a few revisions...Suggestions for dealing with the blues...all year long.  (For the Holiday version click here.)
Time does restore to us our quiet joy 
in the spiritual presence 
of those we love, 
so that we learn to remember without pain, and to speak 
without choking up with tears. 

But all our lives we will be subject 
to sudden small reminders 
which will bring all the old loss back, 

Elisabeth Watson

Suggestions for Dealing with the Blues

1. Recognize that it is not abnormal to feel sad or depressed during the holiday seasons, anniversaries of births or deaths or special occasions. Holidays and anniversaries can trigger an episode of "the blues," feelings of loneliness, depression and melancholy, especially if one is still in an active grieving process. It's okay to cry.

2. Work on creating new rituals and traditions. Respect the old ones, but create new ones.

3. Find time for yourself! Do something self-indulgent--a bubble bath, a massage, a new hair cut.

4. Call, visit, write or get in touch with a long-lost friend, someone who is house-bound, or an elderly relative.

5. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Try to minimize the amount of drinking and eating. During periods of "the Blues" excessive drinking or drinking will contribute to the depression and the associated guilt.  

6. Spend time with people who care about you, who are nurturing and supportive. Try and limit the amount of time spent with people that drive you crazy.

7. Enjoy free activities--Walk in the Community park, Watch the sunset, Smell baking bread, Browse through books or magazines in bookstores, or grocery stores (especially in sections you don't normally visit), Window shop without buying.

8. Donate your money or time to a local Homeless shelter, Battered Women and/or Children's Shelter, Hospice, Cancer Association, Hospital, Church, SPCA or Humane Society. Its a way of helping those who may have less.

9. Keep daily expectations manageable. Remember the adage of taking "one day at time." Set realistic goals, decide what you can comfortable handle, what you can do and cannot do. Let your family and friends know about your limitations.

10. Realize that each holiday, birthday or anniversary is only one day. Take them one occasion at a time.

11. Consider doing something in memory of departed loved ones.

Set up a scholarship, dedicate a bench or plaque, plant a tree, send a donation to their favorite cause, publish something in the local paper to remember an anniversary.
12. Create rituals to remember the loved one. Create a "letting go."
Light a special candle. Play a favorite Song. Hang a certain ornament. Write letters or notes expressing your feelings, share them with others if it seems appropriate.
13. Get out in nature, walk, hike, enjoy feeling the winter chill, or the rush of skiing.

14. There is no right or wrong way to deal with certain occasions, or anniversaries. Decide what will work and then let people know. Try and keep things open if you feel like joining at the last minute. Try not to spend time alone, if it will make you more depressed, or suicidal.  (I spent many by myself, because it was less stressful than dealing with the family hassles).

15. Remember the French Proverb:

16. Blow bubbles (it makes you feel like a kid again)!

17. Go to a bookstore or library and try browsing in a section you wouldn't normally go to. Open your mind to a different style of writing.

18. Go to or rent an uplifting  movie. Some of the ones that always make me feel better, "Sleepless in Seattle," "Forest Gump," "Apollo 13," "The Princess Bride," "Bed of Roses," "It Could Happen to You," "Sleeping Beauty," "Grease," "The Sound of Music," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Full Monty."

19. Buy a live tree or plant, create a ceremony and plant it afterwards, in memory of someone as a link to Christmas' of the future.

20. Look for your local community activities--Fun Runs, Park and Recreation Department, Community College.

21. See a play, high school or college to be around people. Check your local paper for listings and ideas.

22. Attend a church service. This may be beneficial to people of all ages, including singles. Many of the churches are becoming good places for singles activities.

23. Go to the library or bookstore and attend a poetry reading.

24. Join a health club, YMCA or local Community Park and Recreation Department for exercise classes.

25. Try and keep a cheerful disposition with sales clerks, people waiting in lines, people in the produce section of the grocery store or your favorite , people walking their pets in the park.
Simple, genuine statements can often lead to conversations e.g. "How do you prepare...a particular food item," "That color is really flattering. It brightens up my day!" "I need to pick a present for my....(fill in the blank). What do you think of this?"" What type of detergent do you recommend?""What a handsome dog!" .

Keep trying, you may find someone else who is also experiencing the blues and would welcome the chance to talk with a pleasant stranger and may become a new friend.

    Do not forget to entertain strangers, 
    for by so doing 
    some have entertained angels 
    without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2
Last updated December 13, 1998
The Lupine photo was taken on the Road to Yosemite, Spring 1998 and © 1998 Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
The Angel Samantha and the cloud background are © Angelic Artistry and used with permission.
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