I am in the midst of the mid-summer doldrums. It is so hot and steamy that I can’t walk three steps outside the building before being covered in sweat. My hair expands three times its normal size before I can get back under the air conditioner.
I admit to not being a summer person, but I’ve noticed that the mid-summer doldrums hit everyone. Those who have not yet gone on vacation feel that time almost stands still, and they’ll never be free to hit the beach and wriggle their toes in the sand. Those who have gone on vacation can’t believe how long it’s going to be before they can go again. And those who didn’t plan a vacation (me) just feel like chumps.
Television is awful this time of year with lots of reruns and reality shows. Even Game of Thrones ended this week. So what can we do if we’re not going to make ourselves and everyone else miserable? How do we get ourselves out of the doldrums?
The problem with the doldrums is that they are heavy creatures and can weigh you down. You have to expend some effort to chase them out the door.
Here are some tips that have worked for me:
- Exercise. Okay, I know that when even getting off the sofa makes you sweat, the idea of sweating on purpose seems insane. But the days that I go to the Y or to the workout room, I feel much more energized and happy.
- Do some binge watching. If you don’t want to get out in the heat, don’t let bad television make you even more inert. Watch some good movies, such as Spotlight or Carol. Or take on whole seasons of shows that you haven’t been able to get to: Breaking Bad, Veep, Game of Thrones, or Penny Dreadful. And if you like sports, this is an Olympics year, which means not just the games themselves but various trials as well are being broadcast.
- Grab a quick summer read: A Man Called Ove, The Nest, or End of Watch.
- Take a mini-vacation. Pretend you’re a tourist and go downtown.
- Give yourself a treat, something you’ve been putting off.
And if all else fails, remember this line from The Great Gatsby: “Life starts all over when it gets crisp in the fall.”
If you are anything like me, you are feeling sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed today. Sad because there was another brutal mass killing this weekend. Frustrated because we can’t seem to stop them or even have a civilized conversation about the best way to stop them. And overwhelmed because good people hate when others suffer and don’t know how to best help.
But one thing I have discovered does NOT help me at all is following the event on social media. While everyone has the right to his/her opinion and the right to express it, I’ve learned that I also have the right not to read everyone’s opinion. In general, the comments that follow these sorts of events are full of emotion, selective of facts, and often have an agenda. (Whether that agenda is correct or not is not my point here. I firmly believe that the only way we can move together is to communicate with each other, and most comments do more to alienate than bring together. And after these kind of mass shootings, I desperately need some hope, not more despair.)
I’m not recommending that anyone stick his/her head in the sand. But, if like me, you are disheartened by the types of comments you see on social media, this post is a reminder: You don’t have to engage. At all.
You probably missed it, but June 1 was New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day, a day when you pull out your resolutions and see how you’re doing, and, if like most people, have failed at, or totally forgotten about, them, recommit yourself.
Here in the library, most of us made a reading challenge. I had two:
- On Goodreads, I said I would read 70 books. I have read 35, five ahead of schedule.
- I also decided to do the grown-up reading challenge. I am doing pretty well here as well, having read ten.
In other areas of my life, my resolutions aren’t working as well:
- I resolved to lose enough weight so that I could get into certain clothes in my closet. This has been a total failure. As of June 1, I actually weigh more than I ever have in my life! But I am recommiting to this goal. I want to wear all the nice corduroy pants I bought one winter.
- I resolved to write more. And I write everyday. But I realized that this is not enough. I need to edit and send out things to be published. So I’m modified that goal to be more effective.
Have your resolutions fallen by the wayside? Here are some tips to get back on track.
- Maybe you “over-resolved.” Look back at your resolutions and pick the ones you care most about.
- Get an accountability partner, someone who will hold you to your plans.
- Make a plan. Did you resolve to exercise more? Put exercise down on your calendar and treat it like you would a meeting with your boss. If you want to lose weight but can’t resist French fries when you eat out, pack a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday.
- Be realistic. Many resolutions are about becoming the perfect person. You’re a pretty good person just the way you are. (Let’s all sing some Billy Joel here.) I am never going to go on an extreme diet. I am never going to not buy new purses each season. That’s who I am. So to say that I’m going to stop (except for a major health or financial emergency) is just a big old lie I’m telling myself. Be honest.
Basically, resolutions should help you enjoy life a bit more. If they aren’t, dump them.