What to do if you're feeling blue?Jan 16, 2023
Today is officially Blue Monday - regarded as the most depressing day of the year.
So, How Are YOU?
This year I had early onset blue Monday - my blues happened yesterday. All day I felt in complete overwhelm, as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders. A number of times I dissolved into tears, for no obvious reason and felt pretty worthless and afraid of the future. My imposter syndrome reared its ugly head with a vengeance and I felt like sending apologies and finding a dep to take my choir rehearsal, which I didn't think I could handle.
If this resonates with you, I'm sorry, but I'm also glad to let you know that you are not alone.
Those of you who are a part of my world know that I am usually a very positive person but yesterday I just couldn't get to that place.
Psychologically we know that this point in the year is one where the festivities of Christmas and the New Year are over, many people have started to give up on New year resolutions and the long winter with low daylight looms ahead. For many singers, particularly the self-employed we can also have the looming tax return and bill. That mountain that I've mentioned before a number of times seems to loom ahead of us and hope is in low supply!
We also know that if we stay in this state of mind it will be impossible to achieve the goals we set for this year as when we are low we feel unable to take the action required to move forwards with our life.
So, what can we do?
1. Remember that we can be gentle with ourselves, this is mid-winter the age old time for rest and recuperation - if you need a day, don't beat yourself up, take a day to rest and recuperate.
2. Take some time to ground yourself and begin with your breath, breathe slow and long and slowly bring yourself into this present moment. We know that often depression comes from remembering the past and anxiety is a fear of the future - so spend some time coming into the present moment. I like to practise 5,4,3,2,1 mindfulness exercise. Sit relaxed and comfortable and focus on long, slow breaths. Then take some time to really pay attention to 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
3. Engage your imagination and bring to mind 10 things in your life you are grateful for... even if it's just the cup of coffee in front of you, the aim is to reset your mind to a calm and peaceful place.
4. Ask yourself if there is anything else you need in this moment, and listen! Slow down a bit. Maybe you, like so many others at this time of year need more light, you could go out for a walk or try one of the many available light lamps which really bring relief to lots of people in these dark days.
5. Remember your self-hypnosis and your music! I said earlier that my blues led me to almost cancelling my rehearsal, but I didn't! I know that my self-hypnosis can take me out of any blues in a matter of minutes. I have worked really hard on dealing with my imposter syndrome and so I used the perception shift tool to change how I thought about the upcoming rehearsal. This gave me the courage to actually go... and then the music took over.
We are SO lucky as musicians, I've said it before many times, but this gift really does keep giving. Working with my choir (on Messiah), I was able to be transported into a world of harmony and texture and the community, camaraderie and focus allowed us to create something unique and precious. We all left the rehearsal uplifted and released from our thoughts for a little while.
Today I am back on track, like I had a poison in my body which has now worked its way out. If you are feeling as I did yesterday today, I hope some of the solutions above help you. It may be that your blues take longer to get rid of and you know what? That's ok too. Be gentle with yourselves, remember you have the gift of music and use the exercises if you can.
Self-hypnosis can really be your friend in these times and if you'd like to know more about how it can help you please email me at [email protected] . I'd love to hear from you!
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