Something in the Air
Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s all in your head?” To me that has always meant that no matter how I felt physically, as long as my attitude was good, I could overcome the rest. As long as what was in my head was OK, then so was the rest of me. Conversely, if my head is not OK, then it doesn’t matter how physically fit I am, or how capable of doing something I am, I will be worthless.
What happens if what is in your head is not what you’d like? What happens if that bad dream you had last night is getting in the way of a cheerful beginning to the day? What happens if your resolve to ignore the fact that it is Monday, has dissolved, and you are being swept away by an undertow of sadness, through an unsettled feeling?
Is there a way out of a “funk” that will allow one to ignore the view that work is unfair, and that you would much rather be home and reading, or painting, or working in the yard? Just thinking of all the fall leaves down and swirling around in the wind, makes you want to drop your pen, and pick up a rake, but you can’t, not as long as you are on the clock.
The song goes, “Laugh and be happy, like a merry melody. A song will make a hat rack look like a Christmas tree. When you look out the window on a dark and gloomy day, break out a smile and in a while, the gloom will go away.” If that were only true. If only a person who was feeling down could talk her way back into equilibrium, then you could prepare a formula for successful transition, from despair to eclairs. You could brainstorm a list as long as your arm, of strategies for overcoming a sad or a slow start to a Monday.
There is no way I want to underestimate the true force of depression. I am not talking about a situation where an event or a loss, propels a person under the blankets, with pillows piled on top of his head. That is for the experts. No, I am talking about that vague, unsettled feeling that something isn’t quite right. It could be the turning of the leaves, even if they are pretty. It still means that summer is over, and that back-to-school feeling hangs in the air.
It could be that darkness is falling at five-thirty, instead of nine o’clock in the evening, a reminder that the cold and dampness of winter are right around the corner. It could be that you now recognize that you are never going to follow that path that once beckoned so strongly because you are not a kid anymore. Be that as it may.
By definition, it also means that there are vast unlimited highways and flyways that you chose to ignore, or were lucky you missed. A lot of those paths follow far more challenging routes than the one you are on. Whereas it is easy to envision-and long for-a different road, it is also easy to look around and see that there are some rough, unpaved, rocky thoroughfares available.
If the job you have is the one that you chose, and if your life has progressed in pretty much the direction you intended, but you still get bogged down by occasional funkiness, then accept it as the price you pay for not having something more definitive to stress out about, and devise a plan of action.
There is nothing wrong with sitting down and brainstorming a list of whimsical and frivolous activities to engage in on a funky day, especially if you have to work. The list should contain ideas for food creations, beverages, both hot and iced, and a list of reasonable diversionary destinations for indulging in after work.
This is not to jump to the conclusion that you are setting yourself up for a funk, by having a plan of attack. Quite the contrary. You are simply sitting down, while in a light and breezy frame of mind, and jotting down between a dozen and a hundred specific ideas for drawing yourself out of a low period, by presenting alternatives. They should not be expensive, and they should be doable.
Forewarned is forearmed. Meet your funk head on, and do not allow yourself to dwell on that which might have been. Look around you, and break out a smile, and in a while, with a little luck and preparation, the gloom will go away.