Beating the Blahs

Well, it’s official. The holidays are over (as evidenced by all the sad tree corpses lining the streets), the lights are down, the cookies eaten (and the five extra pounds officially settled on the butt), and many of the resolutions already failed. Winter has officially taken hold, and so going outside most days feels like doing battle with the wind, and the sun is a vague concept that seems a distant memory. And worst of all, now that the holiday rush has ended, worthy and wonderful shows like ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ and ‘Ragtime’ (sniff – we don’t want to talk about it closing, it’s too upsetting still) are closing. As if we needed more depressing news, a British scientist created a calculation to determine the most depressing day of the year, which this year is apparently January 18th.

So what to do when winter stretches interminably on, and fun seems like a memory? We here at the studio have come up with a list of things to do to beat the winter/post-holiday/show-closing blahs. Try them, and we guarantee you’ll feel better!!

1. Sing!!! Also, Dance!! –

Yes, we’re very partial to singing here, which is a good thing, because we hear a lot of it. But even if you’re worried that doing so will break all the glass in the vicinity, you should warble a tune every once in a while, because even if it’s bad for the eardrums around you, it’s good for the soul. So, next time it all seems like too much, give this a try – wait until you have a moment alone in your house, then pick a favorite song, or a popular song, or whatever song happens to pop into your head at the moment. And then, sing it! Loud and proud, and preferably with a little dancing. You may feel like an idiot at first, but after a few minutes you will probably be smiling. Think of it this way – have you ever seen a toddler who likes anything more than a little impromptu concert? You were a toddler once, too, so recapture that fun!

C’mon, even WATCHING that makes you feel better, right?

2. Take advantage of color therapy –

There’s a reason they call it ‘the blues’. The colors around you can have a profound effect on your moods, especially in bleak winter, when the yellow of the sun and the green of the trees has all been eliminated in favor of grey, white, and maybe a light blue if you’re lucky. So how to combat this? The colors yellow, red, and purple all can help combat depression, and orange can increase energy levels. So pop on an orange sweater once in a while, paint your bedroom yellow, or literally view the world through rose-color glasses, and you might find your mood elevating.

Yellow!

Orange!

Red!

3. See a show! –

So with the closing of ‘Ragtime’, ‘Finian’s Rainbow’, and long-runners like the off-B’way ‘Altar Boyz’, the Great White Way lost a few of it’s brightest lights. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still plenty of funny, heartbreaking, interesting, inspiring things happening on stages all across the city (and country!!). Sometimes the thing that is most effective at taking you out of a slump is to have a piece of theater remove you from yourself. For those two hours, a piece of theater can transport you, and when you clap at the end you may find that that little vacation from your own life has made you happier to return to it with this great new theatrical experience.

4. Exercise –

If, like many of us here in the studio, you spend much of your year walking outside on the many streets of New York, your mood slump could have more to do with a lack of exercise than you realize. With winter so cold, it has become almost impossible to walk around outside at all. As a result, that normal baseline of exercise is gone, and with it all the benefits – happy-making endorphins included. So, get thee to a gym, or a yoga studio, or even a mall (hey, mall walking offers exercise AND window shopping, without the threat of hypothermia!) and get moving.

Okay fine, so it's not exactly mall walking. But I couldn't resist!

5. Smile –

It may seem counter-productive to say that when you’re unhappy, the very far-away-sounding sign of being happy will, in fact, make you happier, but it’s true. The very act of smiling, even if you’re making the face without feeling the joy, releases endorphins, natural pain-killers, and Serotonin. So pretend you’re happy and smile, and you might actually find yourself becoming happy as a result.

If he can, you can.

About lizcaplanblog

LIZ CAPLAN, has been teaching and coaching voice since 1978 in New York City and guest lectures throughout the United States and Europe. Her students are currently featured in principle roles on Broadway, National tours, Off Broadway, regionally, and as artists in the recording industry. Some have also been nominated for the prestigious Tony and Grammy awards and have been Emmy award winners. Besides working vocally with recording artists, Liz does consulting work for all the major record labels. Liz Caplan Vocal Studios is located in New York City, and is one of the premiere vocal studios in the country. Now staffed by Liz and a group of highly trained and talented Voice Teachers, it is able to bring Liz's mission of 'balancing the state of the artist' to many.
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