10 Things to Avoid When You're Already Feeling Sad
We all have “off” days, but no one ever explains just how hard they are to get out of. When I’m in a funk, it’s difficult to stop thinking about everything going wrong, and only a visit or chat with the right friends can brighten my spirits. There are a lot of things that could make it worse, though, and here are a few of them.
10. Sweats and PJs
I’m a champion of comfy pants, and while they’re perfect for winding down after 8-10 hours at work, they don’t exactly inspire you to rush out of the house and dominate your day. If you’ve got a case of morning melancholy, put on some clean clothes and set the jammies aside until evening. You may be sad, but you don’t have to look the part, and sometimes little things such as getting dressed can help you arrive at a better place.
9. Stalking random (or not so random) people on Facebook
Facebook is really good at kicking us while we’re down, as people purposely depict the greatest versions of their lives on the social media platform. Engagement snapshots, baby photos, date pictures, etc., pop up on our feeds and perhaps reiterate our own shortcomings or lack of progress in certain areas of life, so it’s better to limit one’s time on the site when you’re feeling low.
8. Calling up the wrong pals or relatives
I value honesty in friendship, but when I’m going through a tough situation, some friends are easier to talk to than others. A few months ago, I vented about losing a job to a girl who just so happened to attend the same tiny middle-of-nowhere college as the hiring coordinator, who’d admitted that this young lady’s portfolio was rife with errors and typos, unlike mine. I never had a fair shot and this hurt, so it didn’t feel good to be told by a friend, “You have connections too, Laura. You’ll get ahead with yours someday.” It wasn’t what I wanted or needed to hear – what I needed at that moment was to be told favoritism and nepotism really sucked, not to “chin up” like a fool.
Some friends are better than others in crisis, so contact the ones who won’t send you away from the conversation feeling worse than before.
7. Comparing your life to others
This goes hand in hand with social media stalking, but many of you know you don’t have to scour your NewsFeed to feel inferior to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. It doesn’t take much to envy somebody else’s trendy job, gorgeous and thoughtful significant other or status in his/her industry, but you will never know this individual’s full story, and the well-being of another shouldn’t determine your own. There will always be people who “do” more than you, and getting hung up on them when you’re already in a rough place can make it harder to get back on your feet again.
6. Turning to depressing content
I know it’s cathartic to cry it all out, but watching, listening to or reading something negative will feed the unhappiness. Try a more cheerful or humorous pick, which will at least get you laughing and temporarily pull you out of your tragedy.
5. Posting cryptic and depressing updates on social media
I understand the temptation to get sulky on social media, particularly Twitter, but you may ultimately regret it. You’re better off reaching out to close friends and/or family members than the whole Internet.
4. Embracing comfort food
I go to Chipotle when I’m feeling chipper and when I’m feeling awful, but what I’ve learned is that comfort food tastes better when my spirits are high. Indulgences are great when you’re already in a good mood but can tire you out and further depress you when things aren’t so awesome. It’s more fun to celebrate with a treat than expect it to solve your problems. At best, it will temporarily satisfy you, and at worst, it will make you feel full, tubby for the time being and upset for having wasted money on junk food.
3. Heading to the grocery store
At least on the weekend or anytime after 5 p.m. during the week. No matter how much or little you have, the lines will be long, customers will try to fight the cashiers on listed discounts and club member prices, aisles will be clogged and you may have trouble finding everything you need. For some, grocery shopping is relaxing, but almost every time I go, at least one of the above scenarios presents itself and makes me seriously consider grabbing a nearby tabloid for some sort of distraction.
2. Trying to have an important discussion about something major
If you’re bummed out, now isn’t the ideal time to go meet with your boss about that raise you’ve been eyeing. Save the big stuff for when you’re feeling relatively normal and not focused on what’s weighing you down.
1. Walking down memory lane
When you’re down in the dumps, it’s easy to look back on another time — any time, really — in your life that seemed way better than the present, but as an old colleague once told me, “things weren’t that awesome then and they’re not that bad now.” Don’t dig up pictures of your ex-boyfriend or a trip you may have taken to another country. There’s a reason you’ve since broken up and vacations can be pretty unpleasant at times. Don’t weep or long for the past — tomorrow is a new day and will be better.
What did I miss? Share in the comments section.