Taking a Break from the Blues

One of my students suggested a blog topic recently:  “when you are in a funk (blue, depressed), how to come back.”

Of course, there is benefit to consulting medical and mental health professionals for depression. The following ideas are meant to shift energy patterns around feeling down. These three suggestions help you take a break from stressful thoughts, feelings, and environments.

Set the timer. When an experience triggers a whole package of pain, angst, anxiety, fear . . . Acknowledge it & choose the amount of time you want to be upset about it. “Okay, yes, this reminds me of _______, and I am willing to spend ______ (5 minutes?) of my life _____(feeling yukky).” I have done this, and it actually worked!

Change the channel. A few years ago, I was in the midst of an ongoing, uncomfortable, frustrating, emotionally exhausting situation. If I awoke in the night, my mind immediately went into overdrive, mulling over the details, trying to find solutions. If I was tired in the day (of course I was—I’d been awake much of the night!), my mind immediately went back to this painful situation, mulling over the details, re-experiencing the hurts, trying to find solutions .  . . Can you see where this became a repeating pattern?

Before I could change the channel, I needed to create a channel. I was fairly new in creating art quilts, learning a myriad of techniques, using a myriad of materials. It was captivating—a perfect new channel. So . . . when I awoke during the night, and my mind immediately went into overdrive, mulling—oh, yeah, I have another channel! I shifted into thinking about my current projects, what the next steps would be, what colors and types of fabric and threads would be appropriate, and should I use the walking foot or the free-motion foot on the sewing machine, and . . . and. . . It didn’t solve my sleep problems. But I took delicious satisfaction in diverting my energy from obsessing about a no-win situation to creating an abundance of beauty!

Little chairs from Mexico

Little chairs from Mexico

Revisit your vacation. I bought 4 little chairs in Baja California about 15 years ago. I think they are so charming. Not only do they have visual appeal to me, but this is what happens in my brain when I see them: “Oh, Baja! That was the first time I snorkeled. It was a major accomplishment to put my face in the water. I practiced in about 2 feet of water. Each time a wave came, I was gently pushed toward the shore, along with all these tiny pebbles tumbling over each other. The repeating movement of my body and the pebbles were so meditative. The warm sun and warm water were such a relief from the Minnesota winter. Oh! And remember the convertible VW bug we rented . . . looking for a natural hot spring, driving along rural roads with potholes almost as big as the car . . . coming upon a man holding a rifle (and not being afraid!), and finding out despite the language barrier that he was hunting doves . . .”

All these memories, and this feeling of warmth, relaxation, adventure, freedom, and joy . . . all from seeing these 4 little chairs. I don’t always consciously go through my trip memories, but I always smile when I see these chairs.

Use photos, shells, coins, stones, a silk scarf, toys, etc. to remind you of a time that you were relaxed and happy. It could be as simple as a screensaver photo of the lake cabin, a small rock in your pocket, or a lace hanky from grandma’s house.

Do you already use these kinds of breaks? How do you get out of a funk?


  1. Janet, I so appreciate your suggestions for getting the mind out of overdrive. I am definitely going to try these techniques. Similar to your techniques, when I am feeling stressed or anxious, I think about a future event and imagine how much I will enjoy it. For example, lately I think about how much fun I will have at an upcoming sewing class. Thinking about a November trip to Florida to visit my daughter and her family also conjures up pleasant thoughts.
    Linda Hall recently posted..Nature is NurtureMy Profile

    • Linda, Great idea re imagining the fun in your future–I bet that helps you create it, too! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. These are so helpful. I’ve been noticing of late that, although things have been going well and there is nothing that feels like it’s causing me stress…I’m seeing patterns surface that say otherwise. I realized how easy it was to overlook where the stress was coming from because it’s actually positive AND really scary all at once and some fears are crawling into my little head. I’ll definitely be using some of these techniques moving forward. Thank you!
    Michele Bergh recently posted..60 Pages on the Art of BecomingMy Profile

    • Michele, Isn’t that interesting! I’ve noticed during healing sessions that it is as important to clear fears of being successful as it is to clear fears of failure. Blessings!

  3. I really like the timer idea. Ready, set…WALLOW. Now stop. I’ll have to give that a try.

    The way I handle stress is to dig in and recognize that I have two choices…fear or love. Everything is either one or the other. I look at the stress as a call to focusing on love. I guess that would be similar to changing the channel.
    Susan recently posted..Oh, Really?My Profile

    • Susan, You are making me laugh out loud! I love your use of language. And yes, choosing love, I agree, is always a good idea. Thank you.

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