Sadness feels gray to me. At times it’s an all-encompassing cloud of dirty cotton batting from which I am unable to emerge. When life brings sadness to my doorstep, it is hard to know how to answer it. Having recently experienced a bout of intense grayness due to the death of my dad, it became necessary to once again acquaint myself with the tried and true strategies. Below are a few thoughts I had…
- Crying. I am a truly ugly cry-er – all blotchy, red and twisted during the cry; all blotchy, red and swollen after. Thankfully, however, in the midst of true grief/sorrow, how it all looks is of very little concern. Crying — do it!
- Don’t forget to eat. Sadness seems to hollow you out and shroud your desire to take care of yourself. Having some basic foodstuffs/comfort foods around is a good idea – chicken noodle soup, saltines, fruit, maybe a meatloaf.
- Invest in some actual facial tissue (Kleenex, etc…). It is much kinder on a frequently tear-stained face and drippy nose. Do not rely on toilet tissue or paper towels – OUCH!
- When you feel like it, talk to someone about your sadness. Regardless of what caused the gray, talking about it can provide some clarity, a release, a sense of not being alone. Situational sadness is one thing. For unremitting sadness that prevents day-to-day functioning in the long-term, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for additional help (from family doctor, clergy, mental health professional for example).
- Humor! This might seem counter-intuitive, but – HOLY COW – it can make a huge dent in the weight of sorrow. For some reason (and this might just me and probably is) gallows humor can be particularly effective.
- Try to leave your bed, house, yard if at all possible. Sitting in a park, walking around a grocery store or visiting the local zoo and seeing life happen around you can take you out of yourself a little and offer a respite from the true work of taking out the gray.
- If you are a music lover (and even if you aren’t) try turning on some tunes. All types of music genres can be of assistance – to help you cry, give you energy, make you move, to let you know other people have felt as bad as you are feeling now. A perennial favorite of mine is the song below (Hang on Little Tomato by Pink Martini – there is a long musical intro and then the singing starts. It’s nice.).