I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a wasted emotion or thought. That each blip that enters out brain is there for a purpose, and that it is our job to make full use of it. I have personally witnessed in my own life and in others how anger, grief, jealousy, pride, and a host of other seemingly negative emotions can be turned into something productive and healthy.
But I have a hard time with simply The Blahs.
Unlike true depression, The Blahs usually occur just for one day, and can render an entire 24-hour period useless. This unfocused, gray feeling of general discontent and lack of motivation is so hard to work with because it just feels like…nothing. It’s hard to harness “nothing” and turn it into anything good.
Today, I am having one of these days. It’s raining. Again. It’s Monday. I just got back from my college reunion and I miss my friends and have realized the next time we’ll all be back together again, we’ll be over 40. My house is a wreck. Again.
The traditional female American response to this nebulous emotion is to grab a credit card in one hand and a pint of ice cream in the other, hoping to fill the void of nothingness with something that feels good, even if it’s just for a second. Then, of course, The Blahs double.
But not today. Today I refuse to give into this feeling. I refuse to waste an entire day of my life. I am determined to come up with a formula, once and for all, that would cure this condition, once and for all. And I think I have it.
If The Blahs are about nothingness, then they need to be filled with something. Something that would not have been accomplished that day had the blahs not occurred.
And because The Blahs are accompanied by an extreme lack of motivation, that Something has to be easily attainable.
Enter the 10 minute cure.
I set the kitchen timer and gave myself the following tasks to be done today, each for only 10 minutes:
1. Do something productive.
2. Do something self-indulgent.
3. Do something nice.
Earth-shattering, I know. But I decided to try it. So, for 10 minutes I cleaned out 2 drawers in my kitchen that have been sticking due to the explosion of clutter trapped inside. A little while later, I unapologetically read a magazine…in the middle of the day! And finally, in 10 minutes I wrote a letter to an elderly friend, made a thank-you snack package for my kids’ bus driver, picked flowers to bring to the preschool teachers, and planned dinner for my neighbor with a new baby.
None of these things would have been done without the occurrence of “the blahs.” This feeling has now had a purpose, a productive outcome, and…an end.
They’re gone, and my day is back.