Friday, September 2, 2016

4 Ways to Beat the Blues by Melinda Curtis

During the course of the last year, my family and I experienced several losses - my dad, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, my husband's nephew, our 15+ year old dog. Life just seemed to slow down and everything seemed difficult.

I was holding things together well - or so I thought - until I tried to write. One day, I turned to my assistant and whine, "Why is it so hard?"

She blinked the way people do when they're choosing their words carefully, and then she said, "Maybe you haven't allowed enough time to grieve." (Words of wisdom from a psychology major - lol.)

Since it had been taking me three times as long to write anything, I'd been under constant deadline for what seemed like forever. I was waking up at 3 am and working until 9 pm, but everything was an uphill stressful battle. But at that point, I stopped and went outside, sat in a chair, and just let breathed. No one had given me permission to take a moment and take stock of my emotions.

Thankfully, it wasn't one of those 100+ degree days we get in the Central California valley. It was an unusual 80 degree day and there was shade (lol). I remembered the things I'd loved about those I'd lost. I remembered how thankful I was for the people and things and experiences I had. And then I made a pact to do the following:

1. Seek out joy. If you only look for the negative, that's all you'll find. Look around you at pretty flowers, a happy smiling dog, the clear blue of the sky. Listen for the sounds of laughter and happiness - a cat purring, a child laughing, the loud boisterous voices of friends having a good time. Here's my puppy Duke, sticking his tongue out at me.
 2. Take care of you. Yes, the dreaded "d" and "e" words - diet and exercise. If you're berating yourself over body image or losing some pounds, don't. DO get up off the couch and walk. DO find some vegetables that you like and replace that slice of bread on your plate with them. DO tell yourself that your body is beautiful and strong, because it is. I gained (*&$%#) pounds and felt lethargic. My gym and my vegetable drawer are once more my friends.

3. Switch channels. Have you been watching too much true crime? Have you been listening to music about being wronged or lonely or suffering? Reading too many books about serial killers? Change things up. Watch a Disney movie. Read The Cat in The Hat. Go for something light. I went on a shopping trip and found this Chihuahua with a flower on its butt. It wasn't worth $25, but it was worth a good laugh.

4. Try something new. There's adventure in something as simple as trying a new recipe, a new craft, learning how to play an instrument, joining a dog-walking group, volunteering at the local soup kitchen. I tried a new recipe (it failed miserably, but it did make me laugh). Since I'm on the dog theme, I'll post a picture of our local pack walk. Hard to believe that 25 dogs can get along on a 3-mile walk through our local university.

So if you're feeling blue, maybe one of these things will help you smile or laugh or lighten your mood.

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today Bestseller. Her next two releases are Marrying the Single Dad (November 2016) and A Heartwarming Holiday (October 2016), a 99c bundle of previously unpublished holiday novellas - all connected stories, all set in Christmas Town, Maine. And check out the sweet savings in A Heartwarming Holiday!

A Heartwarming Holiday:
Google Play:
BN: Coming soon!

Marrying the Single Dad:
Google Play: 


  1. Great advice, Mel. Thanks for sharing, and sorry for all the losses you've experienced this year.

  2. Great advice--I'm glad you're "back in the swing."

  3. Sorry for all your struggles, Melinda. Good for you finding ways to get back into your groove. Hugs!