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Bootstrapping Your Way Out of the Doldrums
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The Newsletter for Bariatric Patient Education and Motivation

Sep - Oct 2012

Bootstrapping Your Way Out of the Doldrums

By Colleen M. Cook, President BSCI

It happens to many of us at one time or another. Often just before the seasons change. We get the winter blues or the heaviness of “the dog days of summer.” It was hot, and I was tired. Our summer trip was over with weeks of ordinary, run of the mill days, little excitement and not much to look forward to until fall. I didn’t feel right. My energy level was down, I felt drained of my creativity, I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere. I wasn’t accomplishing, dreaming, reaching, achieving.  I was in a “funk” (yes I went to school in the 70’s) My mood was well, blah!

The best way that I have found to describe how these unwelcome and sometimes unproductive spells is the “doldrums”.  This word came to mind as the perfect word to describe how I was feeling in early August of this year. As I began to write this article, I took a second to look it up in the dictionary and sure enough… the ‘doldrums’ were exactly how I was feeling. “A dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.”

Now, I have always believed in bootstrapping. That is, that each of us has all that we need within ourselves to meet any challenge, accomplish any goal and pull ourselves “up by our bootstraps” shake it off and step it up whenever we need to.  It was my inner strength that I turned to a few weeks ago for a shot in the arm and a kick in the seat. I am feeling and doing so much better now and honestly quite proud of myself for bootstrapping my way out of the summer doldrums. If you ever find yourself down and out try these three steps:

1.  Do something kind. Take a moment to stop feeling sorry for yourself and look around. You will find so many who are worse off. Friends, neighbors, family members and even strangers who could use a kind word, a smile, a little note in the mail, or a helping hand. I few weeks ago I learned of a neighbor who had broken her hand and was in a cast. I stopped by her home for a visit and gave her a loaf of zucchini bread that I had made from my garden squash. She smiled, thanked me, andI” felt better.

2.  Do something hard. Nothing is better for our own self esteem and our mood than to accomplish something hard. It may not be hard for someone else, but if it is hard for you and you do it, well that’s a mood changer. I have been thinking about retaining a personal trainer for some time now. I am a good walker, but know that I am pretty lenient on myself and accept far less than I am capable of. I knew it would be hard; I knew I would discover muscles I did not know I had. I was worried about having nights full of aches and pains but, I did it! I have been doing strength and resistance training for almost 3 weeks now. It is hard but I am doing it! Yeah! And that has made me feel better too.


3.  Do something you have been putting off. If you are like me you have a to do list that seems to never end. Things I like to do always get done. Things that I don’t like to do, continue week after week to get pushed to the bottom of the list. Go to the dentist is one of those things I avoid. I need to have a check up, no big deal, but I also need to have a molar pulled. No fun. But, I did it, I made myself pick up the phone, make an appointment and KEEP it! I did and you know what? I feel even better!

I am confident that you too, have all you need to bootstrap yourself into a better mood, an improved situation, a new outlook. When you find yourself down and out like we sometimes do – give these three things a try. Do something that is hard, do something that is kind and do something that you have been putting off. Trust me, you will be feeling better soon!

Colleen Cook is a successful weight loss surgery patient from 1995. She is the President of Bariatric Support Centers International and a sought after speaker for both bariatric patient events and professional conferences. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed, bariatric best seller, The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patient.