Dear EFAP: feeling the rainy day blues

Thank you to those who have written to “Dear EFAP” for input on your dilemmas. As you are aware, we read every inquiry that comes in but we are only able to print a small selection of responses.  Our “pithy” answers are modeled after the lighter hearted Dear Abby style and are grounded in common sense.  If your issues require a more personalized level of support please call Employee Wellness/EFAP (1-800-505-4929) and we can confidentially book you a counselling appointment with a senior level therapist.

We welcome all inquiries – please submit these to dear.efap@efap.ca. All printed responses use the anonymous descriptor that you sign your inquiry with and do not reveal any identifying information.  Our goal is to support you through insight and common sense.

Below is our response to the next selection – enjoy!

Dear EFAP

I do not think I am seriously depressed, but all of this rain has for sure sent me into the blues. Any ideas of how I could shake them off and feel a bit better?

– Feeling the Rainy Day Blues

Dear Feeling the Rainy Day Blues

I feel your pain. There has definitely been way too much rain lately. I salute you for reaching out for some tips because by employing some of these, you may well just be able to shift out of the blues.

I took the opportunity in looking up some tips for you. Brain Walsh from the psychology web site “Change your thoughts: change your life” has some great tips on how to shake off the rainy day blues.

He recommends:

  1. Notice disguised opportunities. He suggests that often our problems can be opportunities if we shift our thinking.
  2. Accentuate the positive. When we think positive, it does indeed positively influence our mood.
  3. Get ye to the countryside. Walsh reports on a research study that found that those who walked in a city scored less on memory attention and mood that those who walked in a country environment.
  4. Stay connected. If you have been isolating a bit, it’s time to reach out to family and friends and these social experiences can be very supportive and healing and can help shift you out of the blues.
  5. Stay active. Exercise really does help and putting some energy into it can make you truly feel a bit better.
  6. Nurture your body. When we take care of our bodies, we take care of our minds and when we are feeling stronger in both, we feel better.
  7. Get some sunlight. If you can get real sunlight and go to a place that has it, that is awesome. If not, he suggests that a full spectrum lightbulb can help.
  8. Nurture your mind. As our conscious thoughts influence our behaviour, focus on saturating your mind with positive thoughts and maybe even hire a life coach.
  9. Live in the present. You cannot change the past or the future.  The only tense that you can make change in and where you have any control is in the present and so focus and live there in a mindful intentional way. This supports groundedness and wellbeing.
  10. Be grateful. Take time to think about what you are grateful for and consider capturing this in a gratitude journal. In life, my friend, there will be rainy day cycles. Try giving some of these approaches a whirl and see if they can help shift you out of the blues. And don’t forget our counsellors are also always here to help (1-800-505-4929). You are not alone!

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The advice offered in this column is meant to be used as general guidance based on the facts provided. The opinions or views expressed should not be relied on as treatment or counselling services. If you are a VCH staff member and find yourself in need of counselling or support, please contact Employee Wellness/EFAP toll free at 1-800-505-4929 or 604-872-4929, your family doctor, or another appropriately trained and qualified specialist.

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