Contending With the “Gloomies”

This fall I had an early attack of the “gloomies”—a blue mood that makes a person lose incentive for doing anything. Back in October my area got four or five days in a row of cloudy, gloomy weather. I wondered if the sun lost our location coordinates! In addition to that, we put up thick plastic storm windows earlier this year. The gray weather, combined with my inability to see outside, brought on the dreaded “gloomies”.

This year I found a welcome difference in my perspective—the realization that the gloomies can be fought. The gloomies are here, but it’s not the end of the world. My mood will change. It is a battle, and yes, I have to push myself, but I don’t have to lay down and take it. I have weapons; I just have to take them up and use them.

What weapons?

The most powerful weapon is to praise God, especially when I don’t feel like it. Praising God takes my focus off my blue mood and switches it to God. I’ve found that praising God clears my head and calms my heart.

While I’m doing that, I can also:

  1. Go outside. Yep, right out into the gloom. It’s challenging the hold the gloom has on my mood. I pick up twigs, or feed the birds, or just look at the patterns of the bark on the trees. Nature has so much variety and detail to see. Nature reflects its Creator in some aspects, and I can gain insights, if I get myself out there and look.
  2. Write something–a letter, a blog post, a reflection on a book I read, or revise a piece I already wrote.
  3. Listen to music.
  4. Color or draw.
  5. Get rid of clutter. As I clean up the material clutter, the mental/emotional clutter goes too.
  6. A new weapon this year, courtesy of fellow blogger/photographer Gary Fultz, is cooking new recipes.
  7. Add more light inside. I dug through some Christmas decorations and found two sets of candelabras—plastic “candles” that you put four-or-seven-watt bulbs in. After the bulbs warm up, they twinkle. It makes the room more cheerful-looking. Nowadays, the LED candelabras are popular, but this is what we have, and it fills the purpose.
  8. Decorate the plastic storm windows. Within two days of putting up the plastic, I missed being able to look outside. It was a feeling akin to homesickness; I couldn’t believe it bothered me so much. So I taped pictures of flowers I had colored onto some of the inner storm windows. That way, when I open the curtains or drapes, I see something beautiful, not the opaque plastic. Childish? Perhaps, but it lifts my spirits.
  9. Change interior decorations. My mother and I both worked at stores which sold candles, artificial flowers, and ornamental items. Over the years we amassed quite a variety. Soon after the gloomies hit, I decided to change one little corner near the computer. I rummaged around the candles until I found a beautiful mint green candle. I paired it with a miniature artificial plant and put them on the stand in the corner. All this may sound like much ado about nothing, but I’ve read that the brain gets used to the furniture and decoration arrangements, and gets in a “rut”. Changing the way a room looks gives the brain a bit of a jolt, and gives a lift to the spirits.

©P. Booher


Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

6 responses to “Contending With the “Gloomies”

  1. Oh, good list. I have fought the good fight of the gloomies every year since 15 years old. I saw a suspicious name like mine in that list…trying new things in the kitchen is a good one. Watching the birds eat my failures works also.

    • scribelady

      Yes, you are on the list! 🙂 Trying new things in the kitchen is a good one.
      When I read through the list, I am surprised (though I shouldn’t be) how many of them are creative.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. This is an excellent list of things to do when the gloomies come knocking. I have a 3 x 5 card box stuffed full of God’s promises from the Bible. Whenever I feel down I take them out and read several cards in one sitting. It always helps to remember God’s provision. Blessings!

    • scribelady

      Thanks, David. Your suggestion reminds me of a list I started some time ago, of how God protected me, or gave me financial provision, or just provided an unexpected thing which brightened my day. It would be good if I looked at that list more often!
      Years ago, I read in a Sunday school paper of a man who wrote his mind sometimes went into the “Slough of Despond”. If I remember correctly, the Holy Spirit told him to write down things he enjoyed doing on index cards, put them in a box, and then when his mind started wandering off in that direction, to take a card out, and do what it said. He found much help in doing that.

  3. I find it so hard to praise God when I’m down. I just want to lament. But my sister says that’s when you make a sacrifice of praise, sacrifice being your own feelings and desires so you will praise Him.

  4. scribelady

    I agree, sometimes it is hard for me to praise God; all I can see is being down. I am slowly learning to not let my feelings “boss me around”. A friend said that a sacrifice of praise can be when you don’t really feel like praising Him, but you do anyway. I believe a sacrifice of praise pleases God because a person isn’t acting out of feelings, but out of faith.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.

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