We can all have bad days or times when we feel particularly down, anxious or worn out. However, there are different types of bad days and I have got one particular type in mind for my next musing. Sometimes after the completion of a big achievement or a momentous life occasion, people can feel sad or anxious in the days that follow. An example springs to mind when you talk to people who have just completed a marathon. They have worked for six months or a year towards this momentous goal, running for hours a week, often fundraising for a charity that is dear to them. They complete the agonising race and feel ecstatic for the rest of the day. Then the day after comes and they feel flat, they are not striving towards anything, they have lost structure and a routine. They are not working towards something bigger than themselves and they feel like something is missing. This feeling of post-achievement blues is exactly the type of sadness I am talking about.
Of course, there are other times when one can feel like this. After handing in my final assignment at university, I felt a bit funny and sad. After moving houses it could come on. Even after getting married it is not uncommon to feel a bit down. The bad feeling of post-achievement blues varies, sometimes you can be itching to do something, feeling very alert and quite anxious. Other times you may be feeling slow, dull and lethargic. These days come every now and then and they do not feel great. Fortunately, it is, in my opinion, common to feel like this and this feeling can actually be turned into something positive. Everyone loves a good list on the internet and I am going to provide my own on the ways in which you can turn these down days into something positive.
Reassess your goals and ambitions
Now that you have finished this big achievement and you are not working towards something else you can actually use this flat feeling to candidly assess what your next move is going to be. If you have just finished university or have come back from a month long backpacking adventure, you can use this time to think about the future. Are you getting a job? What do you want to do with your life? Do you want to move abroad? Have you thought about furthering your education? Do you want to start a family? Your solemn feeling after completing whatever achievement or event it was can act as the catalyst to spend time thinking about what it is you are going to do with this next phase of your life. Feeling blue like this can encourage you to slow down, ask hard questions and think about what it is you want to do with your life – this certainly isn’t a bad thing!
When you are feeling down after a great event, it is easy to feel sorry for yourself and refuse to do anything. Instead, why don’t you use this sad feeling as inspiration to do something else. For example, the day after I finished a collection of half marathons for charity I was feeling quite down. I spent a portion of my time writing articles and thinking up ideas for this blog. In other cases you may just want to take your mind off feeling blue, as a result you may be inspired to do something you have been putting off for a long time. Examples include, going to the gym, decorating a room, cleaning out the attic, drawing a picture, rearranging your old photos. Use your feelings to inspire you onwards and upwards.
Sometimes when you are not feeling 100% after overcoming a big challenge there really is a reason for it. If you have just run a marathon or moved house you are more than likely to feel emotionally and physically drained. There is a reason why big life achievements are so reputable – they are hard. If something takes a lot out of you then you are entitled to spend a day or two (or more) doing nothing. Don’t wallow in self-pity for feeling down, but use this feeling as justification for wallowing on your sofa instead. Binge watch all three extended additions of Lord of the Rings or watch a new series on Netflix. Sometimes you need to spend time doing nothing after big events in your life and you are more than entitled to do so.
Sometimes it is easy to not treat yourself enough, other times we do it far too much! I feel like nine times out of ten if you have just completed a momentous occasion in your life you are more than entitled to treat yourself. I do not usually condone retail therapy, but maybe you could use this sombre feeling to buy yourself that new item of clothing you have been eying up. Better yet, go out to your favourite restaurant and order all three courses. You may have spent the year working on a massive, life-enhancing project at work and it is all finally over – maybe it is time to book a holiday if you can afford it. Treating yourself will undoubtedly lift your mood and you probably really deserve it.
Appreciate your life
Sometimes if one feels down it is quite easy to get contemplative about life. I have said above that your bad feeling may be used to think about your next step, instead you could contemplate what you’ve got going on right now. If you completed a marathon, think about the friends and family who cheered you on and bought you a beer right away at the finish line. If you’re feeling down after moving out from your parents’ house, think about how sad they were to see you leave and how much they must care for you. It would not be great to always feel down, but I think once in a while it can be a sobering experience that helps you appreciate what you’ve got – don’t doubt how positive that can be.
So there is at least five ways your post-achievement blues can be utilised as a positive force in your life. Don’t doubt whether you should be feeling down, it is not uncommon. Instead, use this feeling as a tool for a good life. Feel free to comment, question and berate my article below!