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Behind the Smiles- Beating the Blues Behind the Smiles- Beating the Blues
You know those days that are just REALLY hard to get through?  Whether it’s because you’re sad or stressed or going through something deeper... Behind the Smiles- Beating the Blues

You know those days that are just REALLY hard to get through?  Whether it’s because you’re sad or stressed or going through something deeper (and I’m sending you love, if you are!).

I had a REALLY hard day yesterday.   It was a day where I laughed for the first time at 7pm. For someone as giggly as me, that was abnormal.  I’m a happy person by nature, but over the past couple of years, I have been dealing with bouts of anxiety which make some days much more challenging than others.  All the little things that would normally be done fast and furiously (and effortlessly) in a day sometimes feel like the biggest deal to accomplish.  I’ve also been dealing with physical symptoms of anxiety, such as feeling unable to take a breath and waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.

I don’t take any of this lightly.  I actually take it very seriously and am very aware that it is something I need to stay on top of.  Sometimes I’m smiling, but behind the smiles are moments of anxiety and ‘lows’.

Because I know how important it is to be taking care of myself, as both a person and a mother to young kids who depend on me, I decided to make a list of ways to get through those ‘not-so-easy’ moments.  If you’re ever feeling the weight of the world crashing down on you, like I sometimes do, maybe these things can help you too! :)

Call a friend

No texting.  Actual, real-live talking.  FaceTime would be lovely too! This morning I called my best friend in Toronto and let. it. all. out.  Everything that was on my mind and heart was released and it lifted my spirits greatly.  I’m guilty of ‘holding it all in’ and putting on a brave face until I feel ‘out of control’.  I need to remind myself that opening up more often will prevent me from getting to the point of no return.  I may even start scheduling phone calls with all my friends that I am so fortunate to have in my life!

Ask for help

I am so lucky to have my family living so close by. I regularly get messages from my parents asking if they can grab me something from Costco when they go, or if they can help in any way with the kids.  Most of the time, I’ve got things under control and “diaper genie refills from Costco would be awesome!”, but otherwise, I don’t necessarily NEED anything.  Yesterday, I NEEDED help.  When my mom texted me to see if I needed anything from the store, instead of answering with a typical “parmesan, please”, I said “actually yes! Something ready-made for dinner, maybe? I didn’t sleep last night and I’m exhausted”.  That was a call for help.  It was so simple, and I’m not sure I’ve ever responded like that to one of my mom’s texts, but my mom was on it.  She picked up dinner AND the girls from daycare while I went home and napped for an hour after work.  I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have family living in the same city, but I can guarantee you that any good friend would respond to your call for help if you put it out there.  And, I can also guarantee that they will be happy to help! I know I would be, if a friend reached out to me!


I’ve committed to working out again after way too many years.  I have some new workout clothes (which is a huge motivator, I’ve discovered) and I have been doing some form of exercise almost every day for the past couple of weeks.  Not only am I feeling stronger already, but I have rediscovered how much I love to sweat (when it’s not anxiety-induced).  I look forward to the 45-60 minutes every day that are MY minutes.  To myself.  Where all I have to worry about is myself.  Where my focus is on what my body is doing.  Where I can listen to MY music.  As much as I love listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat with the girls (groan), I miss my tunes.  Which leads me to the next point…

Shake it off

Literally! Make like a 12 year old, grab a microphone (a.k.a a hairbrush), throw on Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ album and SHAKE. IT. OFF.  Preferably in front of a mirror.  It’s completely ridiculous and it’s so much fun.  I dare you not to smile at how silly it all feels.  What happened to being silly?  It’s good for the soul, I tell ya! (Oh, and while you’re at it… listen to the entire ‘1989’ album.  Gosh- that girl has talent! :) )

Eat well

Or just BETTER. I don’t necessarily feel that eating habits need to be completely overhauled when you decide it’s time to make changes to what you eat.  For that reason, I have never been a ‘dieter’ because I feel like life is too short to stop eating chocolate, for example. Having said that, it’s amazing what starts happening when you start putting great foods into your system.  (And it’s amazing that there magically seems to be less room for the ‘bad’ foods when you’re filling your body with the ‘good’ ones!)  I notice changes in my energy, mood, skin, etc. when I squeeze a green juice into my day or grab an apple on my way out of the gym.  Don’t forget to drink lots of water too! When I aim to eat ‘better’, I find I’m naturally eating well.

Write it down

THANK GOODNESS I have this site! For so many reasons, but mostly because it’s my outlet.  It’s where I can unload, deliberately and thoughtfully.  As I roll into the 1000th word of this particular post, for example, healing has happened.  I’ve opened up and shared and asked for understanding and not to be judged.  The same thing happens when you write notes to yourself or a friend or your partner.  Whether you write in a personal journal or you fire off an email to a friend, you’ve taken the time to lay out your thoughts and process your feelings.  Thoughts feel more concrete when they’re written out and staring back at you.  So many times when I’m not sure where else to go, my laptop (and this site!) are what help me to work through what I’m experiencing internally.

Ditch the wine, drink the tea

Alcohol is a depressant.  We all know that.  It’s also the first thing I feel like having after a long day once the kids are asleep .  Lately, it has done nothing for me but make me abnormally tired and send me on unnecessary emotional roller-coasters in the evenings.  It’s subtle, but it’s noticeable.  I’m moving on to tea.  For now.  I think our bodies need  little resets every now and again, and my loose-leaf tea collection is too exciting to ignore any longer.  (You heard me right, choosing my tea flavour really excites me!).  I’m not saying goodbye to wine forever, but I will replace it with tea tonight.  And maybe tomorrow night… we’ll see.

What works for one, does not always work for everyone.  This list of things are the things that work for ME and this post may serve as nothing more than a reminder to you to find what works for YOU.

(But when you do find what works for you, write it down, while sipping a hot cup of tea as you listen to music that you love. 😛 How nice does that sound?)

Jessica Blumel

Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Andrea

    January 21, 2015 #1 Author

    Thank you for sharing! You are a strong brave person that I feel so lucky to know.


    • Jessica Blumel

      January 21, 2015 #2 Author

      Thanks Angie! I feel the same about YOU! xoxo


  • Brandee

    January 21, 2015 #3 Author

    It can be so liberating to just let it all out, can’t it? I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with anxiety lately. It sounds like you have made some really positive steps to help yourself deal and cope with it in a much healthier, positive way and that’s so good to hear. I totally get it though, and it IS hard. Good for you for recognizing that it was too much and doing something about it. If ever you need another ear, you know where to find me. :)


    • Jessica Blumel

      January 22, 2015 #4 Author

      Thank you Brandee! So nice of you! Hope all is great! 😉


  • Nat

    January 21, 2015 #5 Author

    Jess, this transparency just makes you even more lovable if that’s at all possible. I love your approach to managing this. Such an inspiring post. Also, I’m in the city so please don’t hesitate to holler at me! LOVE YOU!


  • Taslim Jaffer

    January 22, 2015 #7 Author

    Hey Jess! I hear ya and am there some days as well. Your tips are bang-on for me; I find those things help. Thanks for sharing! Maybe what we need is a bloggers’ night out…a tea and talk? I’m sure we could all use that!


  • Erin

    February 20, 2015 #8 Author

    Ah Jess, I hear you. I’ve been living with anxiety issues for many years. The alcohol can really mess with you, it’s true. If you’re still struggling, definitely look into cognitive behavioural therapy, or talk to your doctor about seeing a psychiatrist (it’s free). It doesn’t mean you need to take something for it, though I have found that’s what sorted me out at various times, but it can give you some perspective on your own thoughts – what’s real and what’s anxiety twisting things around. xx


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