Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beating The Blahs.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

First of all, special thanks to everyone who participated in the online craft fair last weekend -- both the vendors and the visitors! I'd love to do another one of these. I'd also love to do a book fair in January so we have something to do with our holiday money. So if you've written a craft book or you know someone who has, whether it's traditionally or independently published, let me know!

And now for today's topic....

The Blahs.

I have a confession to make. During the last couple weeks of November, I'd been feeling less than sequintastic. In fact, it's safe to say that I'd been feeling craptastic. Super craptastic with extra yucksauce on top.

Sleeping until mid-afternoon. Stumbling around, unable to focus when I finally did get out of bed. Collapsing on the couch shortly after that. If I went out to do fun things, like spend the day at the IDEA store or have dinner with friends, I enjoyed it, but it took me an entire day to recover! 

The worst part, though, was that I didn't have much motivation for creative things. I had ideas for a novel and a couple of epic jewelry projects kicking around in my head, but no idea how I'd tackle them because I had. No. Energy.

The Cause.

I had some ideas as to why this was happening. One, like a small grizzly bear, I go into hibernation mode the moment the temperature drops. Two, my vitamin D levels were hilariously low, as a trip to the doctor revealed. Three, I was not taking care of myself. I wasn't getting any exercise, and I was eating way too much refined sugar. Half a package of Oreos a day -- I cringe to admit it!

I knew that I had to start moving around and that the Oreos had to go. I'd read about Gala Darling quitting sugar, and I made a friend in Chicago who hadn't eaten any for several years, and these things intrigued me... but I didn't think I had it in me to make the change. It was too hard!

And then I read this article by Johnny B. Truant, all about how discomfort can be good for us, and I started thinking. Sure, making changes is uncomfortable, and I love the warm feeling of eating a stack of cookies and taking a nap all day, but in the long run, discomfort is a small price to pay for not feeling like I'm missing out on life.

The Challenge.

So I decided to do an experiment. I would try going without refined sugar, and adding hula hooping sessions to my routine, for five days. At the end of this time, I'd see how I felt. If I started to feel better, then I'd consider extending this experiment another five days.

(And I'd tell the world about it so I'd be accountable to more than just myself. <-- Is devious.)

The Result.

On the first day, I felt like crud. There was some serious sugar withdrawal going on, and I came close to tears when I had to refuse a pumpkin pie. On the bright side, this made the exercise part of the plan easier because it distracted me from my crudishness.

On the second day, I felt cranky. But maybe, towards the end of the day, a little better?

On the third day, I realized that I was awake and alert the moment I opened my eyes -- at noon, but not afternoon. Yes, I still craved those Oreos, but I was beginning to see some changes in myself that I really liked. And hey, exercise was actually fun!

On the fourth day, I was craving sugar like mad, but I was also wide awake... and even hyper for part of the day. I danced like a silly person in my livingroom and felt like myself for the first time in a long time.

On the fifth day, the sugar cravings went down a little bit. I also spent the afternoon with my puppy nephew and his mom, and I didn't feel completely wiped out when I went home. I noticed I wasn't as intimidated by tasks that seemed huge before, like answering emails. And now that some of the fog had lifted I could see that there were other factors contributing to the blahs -- like a serious case of burnout over making things for the craft show in December.

And So?
As I write this, I'm on the sixth day. I might stretch this experiment out a little longer to see what happens.

I don't think I'll quit sugar for good. After all, there are brownies to be made and eaten, and I know that depriving myself completely could lead to rebellion later on. At the same time, I know I need to be more aware of my habits and to recalibrate every time I find myself sliding back into the Blahs.

I hope I keep this up. I'd love to know what it's like to not need refined sugar and to have enough energy for all the things I want to do with my life. I think the key is to keep wanting something -- awesome, complete creative projects and the satisfaction that goes with them -- more than I want the things that are comfortable and familiar. 

If You Have The Blahs.

If you have the Blahs, there are things you can do to get rid of them.

You can accept that you have the Blahs. Having the Blahs is a lot like finding sharks in your swimming pool; if you pretend they're not there or that they're smaller than they are, you won't be able to handle them, and it will take you a whole lot longer to get rid of them!

You can adjust your diet in small ways. Lose the soda. Ditch the Oreos. Eat more healthy soups.

You can get moving. Hula hoop. Walk in the park. March in place while you listen to podcasts.

You can have your Vitamin D levels tested and get a supplement if they're low. Ditto for your iron levels.

You can get your thyroid levels tested. Low TSH levels can also contribute to the Blahs.

You can stretch. This will relax you and perk you up.

You can get a massage. Ditto, times one hundred.

You can discover the other, deeper causes of the Blahs. And once you're feeling better, you can try tackling those.

In short? There are plenty of things you can do that might make a huge difference to your mood and to your life. You don't have to cover those sharks with a tarp and pretend they aren't there. At the same time, you don't have to strap a steak to your head and go swimming with them.

So that's my take on the Blahs. Normal sparkle and shine will resume next weekend, when I present a new Featured Artist. So stay tuned!

Now it's your turn: what are some of your unconventional ways of beating the Blahs? Thanks for reading and commenting, thanks for sharing, and of course, have a sequintastic day!


  1. Great post!! you and I are leading parralel lives!! I ahve been in pain for a very long time- aching joint, specific lower back pain. Some of the causes are physical got new good shoes with good orthotics- that helped tons. Have alot of inflammation in my body. hmmmmmm....... Dr said that my Vit D was non existent so am working on that after two months of prescription dose and daily 4000units, it is climbing towards respectable- back pain and joint pain much less- makes so much sense as Disease state of vit D deficiency is RIcketts!!!! Two and a half weeks ago Dr suggested Gluten Free and Dairy Free for a month. I was open to that as A dear friend is totally Gluten intolerant and she is thriving so i know there is a way to go. I started reading up on Gluten Sensitivity and amazingly enough there is specific forms of arthritis that are linked very closely to Gluten Sensitivity- the book is The Gluten Connection- How Gluten Sensitivity may be Sabotaging Your Health-. Great book- lots to think about!!!
    Bravo to you for taking charge of your health!!!!
    I raise a glass of sparking lemon filtered water to you!!!! Big Hugs!!!

    1. Elizabeth, I'm so, so glad that you're feeling better after the supplements! I hope this trend continues. It makes me wonder how many people have vitamin D deficiency and don't even know it.

      I'll be interested to hear how the gluten experiment goes. Gluten allergies are on the rise!

      *Hugs back.*

  2. Thanks for this post! Do you know, now you mention it, I think I might actually have the Blahs at the moment. So your blog post is the only one on my newsfeed that has roused me from my torpor of Blah-dom to leave a comment!

    I think what you say about diet is spot on. The other thing to mention is caffeine. I gave up caffeine (except in chocolate - I decided that doesn't count!!) and now feel sooooooo much better for it.

    Having a little tidy-up (NOT a full deep-clean - that is just too unrealistic when you are afflicted by Blah) can be therapeutic too, I think. And putting something very little and easy, yet achievable, at the top of the To-Do List. Obviously, then you have to actually do it for this to work :)

    1. Sarah, I'm glad I had such good timing. I hope you and I both make our way out of the blahs! Let me know how it goes. <3

      Caffeine is a good point. And so is tidying up. There's a saying that goes "Messy bed, messy head," and it's so true. Blahs make me messy, but being messy also contributes to the Blahs.

      Getting rid of clutter helps to clear the mind, and it's also a nice, gentle form of exercise. It's the perfect easy task to put at the top of a to-do list.

  3. Great post. I can relate. Six months ago I started weight watchers, am eating much less sugar(but not none), much less white flour, but not none, and bought a teampoline re-bounder, yippe, what fun. I am down 13 pounds and have way more energy, so I will keep going and wildly dancing in my living room too and eat that occasional piece of cake or pie and not feel guilty at all. Vitamin D yes takong a supplement for that too! Good luck with ypur plan, ypur sequintastic fantastic self will be creating in no time. xox

    1. Corrine, congratulations on sticking to Weight Watchers! It's one of the few diet plans I can actually get behind -- although I like the earlier system better than the points system.

      You have a trampoline??? That sounds like serious, awesome fun. I'm so glad you've got more energy.

  4. By just recognizing your blahs and doing whatever you can even if in small doses is a huge step. I take vitamin D (liquid drops) and have for years...if I stop I notice the effect immediately. Living in northern Canada it is imperative we take D. I also watch my refined and processed food intake and know I feel better because of it. This is an especially hard time of the year to resist all those sugary treats so just be good to yourself, put on your sequins and dance!!

    1. I agree! Even the little steps we take towards treating the Blahs can make such a difference. Physically, and also mentally -- it's nice to feel like we're being taken care of and to realize that we're the ones doing the care-taking. :)

      I'm so glad you're feeling better!

  5. November is my Blahs month. I would like the calendar year to only be 11 months long. So much pressure to get it all done, coupled with significant loss every darn November. January and February, I just hibernate. But I do it with a lighter heart, not the depression that settles in every November. I do try to keep exercising all of November no matter how absolute blah I feel. The few times I have consciously quit sugar, I definitely felt better (not in Novmeber, but the other months :-) ). I always wonder if something feels so good, then why do we stop? Your check list is great~acceptance (check), adjust diet (perpetual work in progress), move (most days), vit D (unchecked), thyroid (removed and had instantly more energy than i have had in my entire life), stretch (amazing what a good stretch can do), massage (more often would be nice!), deeper reasons (check). I think we each have our time of year when we cannot seem to cope as well. Too hard to be "on" for 52 weeks of the year. I am glad I stopped by today. I really needed to read this. I hope you lift our of the Blahs soon (with a brownie on the side) and are digging the hula hooping!

    1. Christine, I'm glad I had such good timing! *Hugs.*

      Sounds like you're doing a lot of good things to take care of yourself. You're right, though, that we can't be "on" for 52 weeks a year. So it's good to let ourselves rest and recuperate.

      To be honest, the most stressful, exhausting time for me begins the day after Thanksgiving and doesn't stop until the end of December, when I get home from holiday traveling. One of these years, I'd love to take the whole month off. Still, cutting down on sugar has given me more energy to cope, at least.

  6. Wow, how timely! It's that time of year for me, too. I get the blahs. But, compound that with the 50, yes 50, lbs that I have gained in the last year because of the radical bad change in our diets and I have been one sluggish camper! I have resolved to eat better and be more selfish about my good health needs and desires. I don't have a sugar problem, never have... I have a chip problem. LOL! I'll pass an oreo for a chip any time. Both, of course, are bad for you. I will be able to hide in my big coat soon and go for the walks I desperately need. I have a number of rather rare and somewhat serious health issues that are just made worse by the weight, so it's gotta go!

    Good luck with your blahs, I need my sequintastic dose of Sarah, so cheer up! :)


  7. I'm so glad you're feeling better! My blahs tend to be attached to mono -- my doc diagnosed that I'm lucky (ahem) enough to be one of those rare folks to have chronic recurring mono, meaning if I let myself get too stressed or run down, the virus will rear its ugly head and I'll be dragging like a big ol' pathetic lump for several weeks.

    Great to know that whatever you're doing is bringing you back to yourself. Stay sequin-shiny!

  8. Great blog, Sarah! I've had thyroid disease for years, and struggled to find a doctor that would prescribe natural thyroid (rather than synthyroid, which doesn't work for me.) Ever since I switched meds and started taking D3 and iron, I feel so much better. Lots of energy. Next step is to go sugar free. Just waiting for this semester to end and I'll spend the 3 week break de-toxing. Letting go of sugar = rough!

  9. Oh now this is interesting! But first, HUGE apologies for not being part of the online craftfair - I got my weekends mixed up and so I missed it, I'm really sorry. I am becoming more convinced that reducing sugar is the key to so many things. Stick with it, it's hard but worth it!


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