Tonic for the “drags”

I don’t know what everybody else calls it. I talk about someone being in a funk. I say I’m feeling “dragy.” Basically it’s that not- feeling-like-doing-anything that isn’t (I think) quite depression.

I was brainstorming about useful things to do when “down in the dumps” (another descriptor), and was surprised with how much I came up with. (This originally began as a comment elsewhere). So here’s my list of tips:

  • Put on “happy music,” whatever that is for you.
    • I found my happy music was the stuff I listened to in High School or college and hadn’t heard in a long time. It brought me a startling joy.
    • Pick music from a light era of yours.
    • A book I’ve been reading recently describes the reason books get fatter as you read them is because it preserves a part of you between the pages– like a pressed plant– the you that was, at the time you read it, and you see that former self whenever you re-read. That’s the way of me and music too.
    • ETA: Classical or folk instrumentals collected for children are a fantastic pick-me-up.

My dad loaned me the “Rhythmically Moving” series from his classroom for the summer– my kids had heard something on the radio they’d wanted to hear again.

I put the first one on while I was stressed-out and racing to finish dinner. Almost instantly I had to laugh. My mind was rebelling at the cognitive dissonance between my mood and the atmosphere. It was nearly like being in a river and resisting being moved by it.

Didn’t “fix” my stress, but it made me smile, even laugh, and that had to be healthy.

  • Start a new book, even if you haven’t finished your current one.
    • Anything you’re interested in will do, as long as you don’t feel obligated to finish it if it doesn’t suit you.
    • It may take a couple tries to find the right fit. (Write me if you want suggestions ;-))
    • This is where Books-on-tape are so essential to me now– with the three little ones I frequently feel I’m stealing from them to sit and read a whole novel.
  • Read “Good Poems” or Poem a Day V. 1.
    • Both of those are great for finding concise (no pages-long), interesting poems.
    • I’ve found the right poems to be tonic to me, because they were a sort of deep-thought pizza: Delivering filling new ideas and ways of looking at things, sparing me the effort of looking (cooking) for myself.
    • Very good for when I’m tired and can’t focus on longer or “more meaningful” works.
  • Do mindless research about something that interests you but you can’t act on.
      • I read about new-born and toddler care while I was pregnant the first time.
      • Last fall (after Grandma died) I started reading a lot about dogs. Still do, occasionally– though I won’t be able to get one until the end of April. Or later.
    • I found this activity helpful because engaged my mind without the obligation to do more. I couldn’t/can’t do more at the time of the research.

These probably won’t pull you out of a funk (If you can get the energy to clean, the activity and the result very frequently can), but they will help you tread water while you’re there. Sort of help keep you afloat.

There are those times when that’s all you’re looking for.

4 thoughts on “Tonic for the “drags”

  1. Thanks for the congratulations on the apron!

    I like this post. It’s always good fun to have plenty of encouragement and good ideas for being cheerful. I have also been inspired by hearing stories about people who are graceful and work through tougher situations that most of us can imagine. It makes me think that I have no excuse to whine about anything. :)

  2. I am visiting because you left a comment for me! I really glean a lot from C.S. Lewis. So your comment caught my attention. This post caught my attention to because I am frequently in the “dumps” although it doesn’t seem to have to do with my circumstances. It’s more in my mind. Some of the things I do: Journal–getting the thoughts out of my head and onto paper is good “therapy”. I, too, listen to music. One of my not-good responses is to eat namely junk food! :( I’m actually going to write a post about the “dumps” because that is where I find myself as of late. Thankfully, my hope in the Lord has not faltered.

  3. Great read! I can relate to the suggestion about playing music from a ‘light era’. We have taped a couple of Doo-Wop PBS specials, and I can be nothing but happy when we watch those! Amazing how peaceful the world becomes when I’m listening to Doo-Wop. Guess that dates me! :)

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