Thursday, 14 May 2009

Keeping one's spirits up

When my good friend Bec asked me if I wanted to go for a coffee and girly chat on Tuesday night, I jumped at the chance. After all, there's only so much a girl can take of staying at home, watching The Jeremy Kyle Show, applying for jobs on the internet, and getting rejected for all of them.

So we spent a very pleasant evening at Caffé Vergnano 1882, so called as they have been roasting coffee in London since 1882. This award-winning independent café has lived for many decades among the bookstores on Charing Cross Road, although they recently opened a branch on London's South Bank which is where we went (and I had the hot chocolate on the left). To be honest, our "girly chat" wasn't very girly as we both discussed our career plans and job situations, both of which have been affected by the credit crunch. Of course it was great to see Bec again, and it was great to have a reason to leave the flat. I have to say, it did me the world of good.

Nobody ever said that changing careers was easy, and nobody ever said looking for a new job was easy, recession or not. Sometimes it's a real effort to stay optimistic and it can feel as if you'll never get anywhere. This is where a supportive family and/or supportive friends often come in; their support and point of view can be invaluable. In the absence of either supportive friends or family, simply doing an activity that will take you away from, or out of, your current situation can help. If coffee with a friend isn't possible, then perhaps going for a run or reading your favourite book might help.

It's far too easy to feel down about one's situation, and sometimes unyielding optimism is neither natural or realistic. There really is no point forcing a positivity you simply don't - and can't - feel. However, spending too long in the dumps brings the danger of making you less motivated to do anything if you feel the world is unendingly crap and there's nothing you can do about it. When you start feeling like that, it is time to do something different - if only to give you something different to think about.

Often the only way out of any difficult circumstance is to just go through it, unfortunately. As Winston Churchill once said, "When going through hell, ... keep going."
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  1. It's always great to get out of the house with a girlfriend and have hot chocolate or coffee! Your hot chocolate looks yummy!

  2. Absolutely true. And the hot chocolate WAS yummy!

  3. I can definitely relate to that. These days, though I'm more careful about how I spend, and I feel a little down every now and then, I keep my spirits up, generally, by surrounding myself with only tried and true friends, going for cheap night outs on the town (places with no cover, sharing meals, etc.) and enjoying free things like museums, hikes or a skate by the beach, comedies, good books, and blogging! And maybe, once in a while, having ice cream for dinner!

  4. Ah the good old Churchill quote. I have that pinned to my noticeboard next to my desk, so it's a firm favourite of mine! I also like 'Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.'

    As i am in a very similar situation to yours, i know how you feel. Optimism is an uphill struggle. Some days it's far easier to be depressed. No forced smiles, no 'pulling yourself together' (Jeez i hate that phrase!).

    But lately when i've been feeling like i might tear my hair out, i've gone to the gym (a lot) and recently just gone walking, particularly in Greenwich park. I was never one for nature but i'm starting to really appreciate its benefits! :)

  5. Cheryl - Ice cream for dinner! I might have to try that :-) I hear you on the cheap night out, which is why we ended up in a coffee shop rather than a restaurant. Sounds like you're doing plenty of good stuff... and of course you have a fantastic blog :-)

    Lou - I totally love Greenwich! I like to walk through the park and onto Blackheath Common, before jumping on a bus home (I live a short bus ride away). I agree it really does help. How did the performance of your play go?

  6. I don't live far from Blackheath either! Spooky! Blackheath rocks btw.

    As for the play performance, it went really well! I got a really good review in the local paper too, which was a bonus. Plus everyone laughed when they were supposed to! Couldn't have gone better. Come to think of it, the review is something i read to keep my spirits up, to keep me writing! :)

  7. You have such an amazing perspective...I know too well the feeling of getting down, but you are right - one has to just keep going. Or at least watch TV for a few hours :) Thanks for giving a little inspiration to my day!

  8. Lou:
    I'm really glad the play performance went well - and of course, well done for getting it on stage to start with! It's good to get that little bit of encouragement to spur you on to do more. Congratulations!

    Thanks to you for your comment as well. I'm glad you liked it. Yup, I could have included watching TV as well - I guess just use whatever works for you, of course :-) Hope you had a good day!

  9. Very interesting title, "keeping spirits" up, as it relates to being optimistic :) Sure changing careers is not easy .. but more importantly "determination is not easy" .. so as long as she is determined, everything will be easy.

  10. I know how you feel. We can't always feel optimistic even when everyone around you cheer you on and telling you not to give up or to lose hope. Sometimes we just have to feel down for a moment. We just have to remind ourselves not to dwell in the sadness, but to rise and find the strength to go on :)

  11. Nabeel:
    Yeah, that's kind of what I was going for :-) It's easy to talk about keeping your spirits up, but much harder to do sometimes! You are quite right about maintaining one's level of determination, even through difficult times. Thanks for your comment and visit!

    Great to hear from you again! I am actually a firm belief in letting yourself feel whatever you feel for a while - even if that is feeling miserable - but not dwelling on it too long. I agree with you when you say "sometimes you just have to feel down for a moment... we just have to remind ourselves not to dwell in the sadness, but to rise and find the strength to go on". I couldn't have put it better myself!

  12. I like Winston Churchill's saying...I'm currently going through hell, so I'm going to keep going too. Hopefully my mood improves too! Thanks for this great post!

  13. I've been to 1882! I don't know why that's so exciting, but I think you're the first blog I've found in London! Anyway, too much jeremy kyle is not good for anyone...

    I love churchill quotes - i think my favourite is "history will be kind to me, as I will be the one writing it" - or something to that effect...

  14. 1882 is a great little caff, good to hear you've been to it :-) There are other London-based blogs out there too, Lou at is another one, as is the London Walks blog (the blog for the London Walks tourist company) at There's also a blog of a London-based nurse that I follow called "Newly Qualified" at, and of course there's the former Blog Of Note, "Accidentally, Kle" at (If I've missed any out, feel free to let me know!)

    Too much Jeremy Kyle isn't good for anyone, I agree. However, since that's what the stereotypical unemployed Brit supposedly does, I thought I'd try it :-) I didn't know that Churchill quote, but it's a good'un, so thanks :-)