Traveling is so many things. Exciting, stimulating, uncomfortable, eye-opening, unusual, puzzling, defeating, uplifting ... we could all go on for days. But the one thing I am feeling lately is blue. Melancholy with a side of loneliness. My usual travel partner when we travel for pleasure is my boyfriend Mike, who's been out skiing his way across the west these last 6 weeks. I do not have trouble traveling alone, and I never did. But, sometimes you just want someone to share it with.
(Melancholy - I have these friends who dated in high school named Mel and Collin, and although this is an apt way to combine their names, they were always anything but!)
This is not the first time I've felt blue on the road or just in life. After graduation, I picked up and moved to Utah, and didn't know a soul. It took many years to make any relationships there, and I spent a lot of time alone. I like being alone, I'm naturally introverted and it's when I feel most like myself. But it was a large change, coming from living at home with my parents, grandparents and sisters.
A year after I met Mike, I asked him to move to Alaska with me, which he thankfully said yes. We spent almost 2 years there before I asked him to move again - this time to Toronto. Each time, we knew no one, and would pick up our things and move. I find this beyond thrilling, to pick up and move and make new experiences, live in new places, but feeling blue inevitably comes once in a while.
So, here are some of my tried and true methods for coping with feeling blue.
1. Call/text your mother. or your sister, or your dad, or grandparents or friends
call someone you can talk that will actually listen. I called my mom last night and just vented about everything that made me feel sad/angry/irritated and she is a pro and telling me that everything will be ok, to just breathe and it'll be over before I know it.
2. Interact with people
Sometimes I force myself to go out and interact with others and I have a surprisingly pleasant time. I just need some human contact, shared laughs, and something to get me out of my own head. I have had a few encounters over the past week that I was dreading that left me surprised and feeling pleasant.
3. Do something you enjoy
I have hobbies that once I start, I just forget time and space. I like to sew, and once I get going on a project, I forget the world. Or I really like to online scrap. I used to do it by hand but I do not miss my hands cramping in the form of scissors.
I personally love shutterfly for online scrapping. Things are almost always on sale and they have such great templates, stickers and ideas!
I'm not a huge meditator. I'll be completely honest - if I meditate, it's right before I go to sleep and I'm already lying in bed. And it's those days where you just can't shut your brain off and go to sleep. So I'll do some meditation focused on letting my worries go. They'll be there when I'm conscious again. or hopefully, I really did let them go.
This seems cliche, but sometimes just writing my worries and bad feelings down helps get them out of my head. If I don't know how to start, I just do stream of consciousness and write everything that enters my mind. After I'm done, I throw it away. Then I feel like I've thrown those bad feelings away, and I don't feel so bad anymore.
6. Remember good things
I keep a journal (that I don't throw away every time) and I try to record the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes it helps me cope (oh hey!) and sometimes I just write down thoughts, like my own personal twitter (that no one can disagree with!). I like to go back and read things that remind me of good days or moments that I had.
Or I go back and look at pictures of a trip, time or moment that I really enjoyed.
7. Look forward to something
There's always something coming around the bend to be excited for, even if it seems a little trivial. A new recipe to cook, a new project to conquer, a new trip to plan, an upcoming event to attend, or even just eating the rest of the nutella in the jar when you get home from work. I love me some nutella (I think I have a problem).
8. Do something new! Enjoy where you're at!
Even while I'm at home, I still try to find things to do, like check out a new restaurant or shop or see what events are happening in town. In Toronto, there's a website (http://dailyhive.com/toronto) that lists events happening in the city by day and by weekend, which is awesome when you don't know what to do! Or become a tourist in your own city. This sounds silly, but I love taking out the camera and capturing pictures of the city I live in. My photography skills are nothing to write home about, but one year we printed some Alaska pictures on magnets and gave them out for christmas gifts.
9. Singing and listening to music
In a past life, I used to sing every day, multiple times a day in a few organized choirs, and as a soloist but as much as I enjoyed it, it wasn't a career for me. However, I still enjoy singing and learning fun tunes, so sometimes I learn the words to a new song or learn the tune and sing it by myself, makeup lyrics or add flourishes ... anyway, it's fun to sing and listen to music that can help pull me out of a funk - especially if you like funk! :)
10. Give in
Sometimes I am just gonna be blue or angry or sad, and I have to remind myself it's ok to feel emotions. And sometimes I just gotta have a good cry, dammit. After I have cried, I feel a little bit better. I like to describe my emotional health like a teapot. It fills up and if I don't let some out once and a while, it will start to boil over and scream ... just like me in real life. I am not proud of the way I've handled things in the past, but I am proud of how far I've come. I feel like I really have a better handle on my emotions, temper and anxiety. So sometimes, when I feel like crying, I do. It's really just letting a little pressure out of the teapot.
All this being said, none of these are a silver bullet. I still feel in a funk, but I do feel better after I've done these things. I try to keep positive, and within a day or two I can shed these blue feelings, and feel a little more like little miss sunshine
Let's get lost in good feelings!