Post-Holiday Blahs

The holidays are over and of that I am glad. These were my first without Bill and the ache in my heart was ever present. Everyone handles grief differently. I couldn’t bear the thought of being around people who were concerned about me. I didn’t want to pretend I was okay and I would have felt the need to do that to avoid ruining the festivities for others.

So I spent the holidays at the When Words Count Retreat Centerin Vermont and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  In my last blog of 2013, I told you I went there to write. I also said it was not a workshop and that is true, to an extent. What I didn’t know is that Steve Eisner and Jon Reisfeld, the two men who run the center and who are writers themselves, dine with the writers every night. We brainstorm the projects we’re working on and after dessert we retire to the Gertrude Stein salon to read pages aloud to each other. As fate would have it, I was the only writer in residence for the first five days so I had these wonderful teachers all to myself. Their input has turned my book about change from a strictly “how to” book into a book that includes the stories of how I learned to be resilient in the face of many difficult changes. Now, instead of feeling like the book is something I just need to get down on paper, I am excited about the project.

The retreat is over and I am facing my first calendar year without Bill. I am slightly frozen in place. There is such a strong part of me that doesn’t want to “move on.” Even the phrase brings tears to my eyes.

So what does one do when frozen? The answer, as it turns out, is to move, even if ever so slightly. Yesterday was a day when all I wanted to do was to sit and play games on my iPhone. Now, if it made me feel good to do that, I would have done it. However, when I use games to avoid doing something productive, I get a feeling in my gut that makes me feel slightly sick. I don’t like that feeling so I wanted to do something else but I just couldn’t face doing anything big.

It was then that I remembered what my friend Allen taught me to do in this situation. Just do something, no matter how small, that makes you feel productive. So I got up off the couch and pulled together a box of items I wanted to mail out. Once I did that, I looked on my “to do” list and made a phone call that was one of the items there. And, wouldn’t you know, I didn’t ever get to my writing (which is my priority) but I did have a productive day. And today, I am writing!

We all have those days when we can’t seem to muster up motivation. Sometimes there’s a “legitimate” reason, like grief, and sometimes we have no idea why we are blue. I have used Allen’s wise advice many times over the years. Just do something, no matter how small, that makes you feel productive. If you are facing the post-holiday blahs, or any blues for that matter, I invite you to use this wonderful trick. It is the emotional version of one of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion:  a body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Or, as the lemurs sang in the animated film Madagascar, “You’ve got to move it, move it, move it.”