“Rx for the Blues,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 76–77
Most of us struggle with the blues at some time in our lives. For thirty years I have fought a cycle that takes my moods up and down like the proverbial yo-yo. As a full-time homemaker, I face particular circumstances that often contribute to the never-ending battle.
In an attempt to solve my problems, I have read, prayed, pondered, and spent some time in counseling. I have come to no startling conclusions about why I battle depression, but I have discovered some ways I can help ease the problem. These suggestions are designed for full-time homemakers, who have their own unique set of needs; but they may help others, too.
1. Stay spiritually “in tune.” When praying to our Heavenly Father, identify your problems in detail and ask for specific assistance. Such detailed, two-way conversation can often bring solutions to mind as well as provide spiritual strength and assistance. Reading the scriptures and rendering service to others can help us to look outside ourselves and to put our own problems into perspective.
2. Always look your best. One of the first things you do in the morning should be to make yourself look good. Even if only the children and the dog see you before noon, looking good will make you feel better. Seeing a well-groomed, pretty face smiling back from the bathroom mirror makes it much easier to clean the sink! If you are self-conscious because you are overweight, take the steps necessary to lose weight.
3. Plan something to look forward to each day. The repetitive nature of most work can obscure the fact that the work you do is essential. Something you can anticipate with pleasure and excitement can make your chores go faster and keep your spirits lighter. Anything from a trip to the park with the children to dinner out with your spouse will do. Once in a while I treat myself to chocolate ice cream while my children are sleeping. It tastes better when eaten in total silence!
4. Have a hobby. A well-loved hobby can be something to look forward to each day. It can be the creative expression for which you long, and the minutes of peace you need to restore your perspective when your children flood the bathroom or the dog eats your new shoes.
5. Safeguard your health. Lack of sleep or eating the wrong foods can also help bring on the blues. Obeying the Word of Wisdom by getting adequate rest and eating sensibly can help keep the “destroying angel” of depression from winning the war.
6. Get out of the house daily! Leave the house at least once every day. Run to and from the mailbox, around the yard, or through the neighbor’s field. It only need be for a minute or two, but the fresh air will do wonders for your morale.
7. Keep your mind busy. When negative thoughts enter your mind, quickly fill it with something else. Listening to uplifting music or to taped recordings of the scriptures can keep your mind busy while your hands are doing something else.
8. Do something each day that you don’t normally do. Clean one drawer, replace one button, or do one good deed. Such things give a sense of accomplishment that the regularity of normal daily chores can’t.
9. Find out what makes you depressed. Whenever a low mood begins to dampen your spirits, think about what preceded it and why. Keep a diary to find out if there are patterns or events that make you unhappy. If so, avoid them or seek counseling to learn how to deal with them.
10. Exercise. When I get the blues, the last thing I want to do is work or exercise. But if I force myself to get up and walk, jog, ride a bike, or clean house, my mood usually improves. Physical exhaustion helps relax the mind and the nerves. A good physical workout can often repair shattered emotions.
A woman’s mood affects not only herself, but everyone with whom she comes in contact. For some of us, learning to radiate love and good cheer is harder than it is for others. But for all of us, the rewards are well worth the effort. Connie Snitker, Layton, Utah