My gosh! My last post was in October!!! What happened? Real life kicks in. I am busy with work, family, my mom visiting us in Dubai, holidays. Reasons! Reasons! I know.
But what made me decide to write today? Because of something I read on one of my friend’s Facebook page. Although I don’t understand why some dish their dirty laundry or angry outbursts and sad sentiments on social media, I just take it as part of life. Some people are more emotional than others and they don’t really care if readers will have an opinion of them afterwards. Well, as a reader, we can always un-friend them if they make us feel negative. Remember, we always have a choice.
Anyways, going back to my Facebook friend. She is an Overseas Filipino Worker in UAE and left her husband and kids in the Philippines to earn a living here. She just came back from her vacation back home and is now depressed despite being surrounded with friends. And she said she can’t understand why.
To be honest, I felt said after reading her post. I felt a certain degree of empathy. Not because I am missing my kids (they are with me) but because I have felt sadness and depression before. I still experience it from time to time. Sometimes it is just a fleeting moment but there are times it lingers longer than usual. And it ain’t fun.
So how to deal with sadness and depression? For me there are two steps. If you can perfect these two things, you can get out of it in a snap and will turn around your life completely.
1. Think positively
What?!? That’s it??? YES. That’s it. As I keep on telling you my friend, thinking positively will alter your life completely. Thoughts become things. The Universe gives us the energy that we vibrate, may it be positive or negative. You’re feeling sad and drowning with sorrow, don’t expect to get out of it very soon unless you change your mindset. Honestly, no one can really help you unless you change your outlook.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful and sensible are the advice of your family and friends to help you get out of you depression. They won’t help. What will help is your attitude. Nothing else.
2. Plan and Take Action
Ok. That’s two steps, right? But I will just consider it as one as planning without action is futile and taking action without planning it first is doomed.
What causes your depression? Is it your weight? Is it money? Is it your relationship? Is it your work? Is it health? Or it could be a combination of these things.
This is what I want you to do. Take down a notebook and a pen and write down your thoughts about that ‘thing’ that makes you depressed or sad.
“I’m so sad I am away with my family and I need to earn a living away from them. Our circumstances won’t allow me to go back home very soon. I think I’ll spend long years in this country and my children will grow up without me.”
“I cannot recover with my loan and credit card debts. I am trying my very best to get out of it. I am constantly saving and spending less but it’s not enough. Banks are calling me now for my late payments and started to threaten me with legal actions.”
“I’m 36 and still no husband and kid. I don’t want to have boyfriend.”
“My boss is from hell and getting to work is like going to a warzone. But there is no way I can resign. I need money right now and although I am looking for a new job, there are no calls. I hate my life!”
Is this the story of your life? I can feel you. One way or another, I’ve been there. And the feeling is not good, I know. I’ve also cried out of depression. Hated life. Hated myself. Even now, from time to time. I feel sad but I just practice what I preach and to be honest with you – it makes wonders.
Going back, after writing that ‘thing’, imagine you are the friend of a person who experiences that ‘thing’. What will be your advice to him/her? Write it down. Why am I asking you to do this? Because I want you to use your brain rather than your heart in looking into your problem. Whenever we give advice to our dear friends, we are always reasonable. We always enlighten our sad friend with words of wisdom which is practical and logical. I want you to do that with your self. Be logical.
And the good thing about being logical is you can always find a solution. The solution is all about taking in-charge.
The root cause of our depression is the feeling of being powerless. We feel that we are stuck in our situation and there is no way out. That our circumstances won’t change. And even though we are trying our best to get out of it, we feel we’re still doomed.
But if you start thinking logically, you know it is not true. There is always a way out. Planning is one way of winning the battle and taking action will surely lead us out of our situation and into our goal.
Let’s take for example my Facebook friend. She’s depressed because of loneliness. She’s away with her family because she needs to earn a living. I think if she focuses more of taking in-charge of the situation rather than feeling a victim of circumstances, everyday will become an opportunity to change her life.
And what are the ways to take charge of the situation? In her case, she can:
* Call her children and husband every time there is an opportunity. Talk to them through Skype, Viber, Messenger and whatever means of being connected.
* Be involved in school activities or child-rearing by still giving her inputs. May it be on what the kids will wear on school program or where to buy it. What will be their school snacks. Just being involved.
* Talk to husband and tell him that they need to be align on saving and spending. This is the most important part of being an overseas worker. If you want to return back home as early as you can, then you have to be wise spending your salary and finding other ways to earn.
* She needs to set a timeline until when she needs to work abroad based on how much she saved already. For example, if she can save this X amount of money for 1 year, she can then start a small business. This business will augment her salary. She can then work for another 2 years saving the same amount of cash if not more. She’s giving herself total of 3 years then. Based on her circumstances it could be longer but at least she knows that there is an end of her overseas life. It won’t be forever. Because she is taking control both of her finances and her emotions.
For added readings on saving and positivity, you may want to read some of my previous posts: How to not extend your expat career ; How to get out of debt ; How to save ; Starting your business while being full-time employed
And taking control of your emotions and actions will empower you. You are not just drifting with life. You are in charge.
And planning and taking action apply in all facets of your life. May it be about your weight, your work life, your relationship. List down the things that you can control, both your emotions and tangible things. You are depressed at work? Have a horrible boss? Then write down the good things that your company gives you. That you have a steady income. You found good friends. You’re just 30 minutes away from work. Find the positive things in your circumstances but at the same time start looking for ways to get out of your situation. Spend 30 minutes a day to look jobs online. Or aggressively save to start your own business. Once you set a goal, going to work won’t be as bad. It will be an opportunity to earn and learn.