Navigating The Mid-Year Blues
We all experience the mid-year blues. We are all familiar with the lethargy and weariness that settle on us as the weather cools and the days get shorter. Let’s explore what causes the mid-year blues, and how we can overcome them.
What might be causing your mid-year blues?
The thrill of the new year has waned. Many of us take part in the tradition of creating new years resolutions. Though creating resolutions can be a powerful practice, they come with downsides. In the high of the new year, we often set goals that are unattainable. Falling short of these goals often causes us to put ourselves down and feel disillusioned.
This judgment and self doubt can act as a massive demotivator. How can we take care of ourselves, stay social, and keep working towards our goals when we feel so down?
As this demotivation may slow us down and stop us from taking action, the anxiety of feeling like another year is ending often makes our negative thoughts speed up. We may find ourselves more caught up in the rat race than ever, thinking to ourselves, “Time’s running out! What do I do?”.
Finally, the gloomy weather acts as a quiet damper on our lives. Whether because of the regular rains or the sudden chill in the air, we’re often forced to stay home to protect ourselves from the weather. This cuts us off from our friends, hobbies, and other simple joys that keep us afloat in earlier months. Getting out of our warm beds in the cold mornings has never felt more difficult.
What can you do to overcome your mid-year blues?
We, at Pause for Perspective, have created a compilation of techniques that will help you reconnect and take care of yourself as you go through your mid-year blues. Make sure you find a quiet, calming space to practice these techniques.
ART THERAPY: Healing through Creative Expression
This technique involves a gratitude reflection, small drawing activity, and journaling questions. You’ll need paper, black marker, red marker, and other colors (optional). You can listen to a guided practice for this technique at our Soundcloud station.
You’ll need paper and colors for this technique. Draw a spiral and add words, sentences, or drawings to the spiral that represent your hopes, dreams, strengths, and desires. Sit with your spiral and try to categorize the symbols from the spiral into 4 categories: ‘Areas working for me’, ‘Areas not working for me’, ‘Areas I would like to work upon’, and ‘Priorities’. Feel free to make new spirals focused on specific symbols from the first spiral. This will help you focus on your priorities, find solutions to your issues, and gradually create the life you’d like to have.
You’ll need paper, old magazines or newspapers, scissors, glue, and colors for this technique. A good way to start with collage is to make a mini-collage everyday, for 5 days. Day 1 will be a collage about beliefs/hopes/dreams, day 2 will be a collage about emotions, day 3 will be an affirmative collage practice, day 4 will be a collage for self-discovery, and day 5 will be a collage on faith in a new future. To learn more about collage you can visit this link
This is a modified mandala technique. You’ll need paper, a pencil, colors, and a compass or round plate (optional). You can see a detailed description of this technique here
WRITING THERAPY: Healing through Self Exploration
Reflecting on the past and acknowledging all the good you have experienced this year, will instill gratitude. Looking towards the future will instill hope and excitement for the rest of the year.
You’ll find it easier to appreciate all the good in yourself when you are thinking of yourself as another person, as we often find it easier to appreciate others.
Create a makeshift postcard out of chart paper (or use an empty postcard). Choose an event from the past 6 months that you feel has troubled you. Write a letter on the back of the postcard exploring this event and how it affected you. Make sure to spend time designing your postcard in a way that represents healing to you.
Choose an area in your life that is causing stress. Think about what is positive about this area of your life; no situation is completely negative. It’s ok even if the positives seem insignificant. Shifting your perspective will help you develop a gratitude mindset.
Write on this probe “(Name of month) speaks to me about…” for each month that has passed in this year. This technique requires you to write on a topic with a fixed amount of time given (no more than 20 minutes). It is important to write freely and continuously, without thinking too hard about the output. Stay present in the moment. Coming back to your piece and reflecting on inconsistencies or repetitions is an important part of the process.
MINDFULNESS: Healing through Grounding
This is a meditation practice which helps foster a sense of self compassion and warmth. You can listen to a guided practice for this at our soundcloud station
Select a song which resonates with each month and compile these songs into a playlist. Remember to be intentional with each song choice. Think of why you chose each song, what you like about the song, what you don’t like about the song, and what the song means to you. Sitting with this playlist will help you reflect on the year so far.
Select foods which remind you of the four seasons. This can be based on seasonal availability, what you like to eat during a particular season, or just any food that reminds you of that season. Practice mindful eating with each of these foods and reflect on your life during the corresponding season. You can journal about the feelings this brings up.
The most important thing to remember is that we are all deserving of compassion. This mid-year, remember to shower yourself with as much compassion as you can.
Psychology Intern & Writer