The Blues and Winter Shanghai

Winter is unfortunately still not over. Today the mercury rose to 18 degrees (celsius, the other one I can’t wrap my head around), thing is, it drops close to zero at night and it feels even worse.

As a matter of fact winter here used to be much more depressing. It was super grey and super polluted before. This cold season there hasn’t been a day with the AQI over 500 nor have their been more than my fingers days where it was noticeably bad and I have a full set of fingers. Somehow the closing of hundreds of factories around Shanghai made a massive change.

This month there is a crackdown on scooters and I (not owning a scooter, but a bicycle) couldn’t be happier. Traffic got better in days. I don’t have to worry about charging my bike and stay fit at the same time. Now I am even a bit safer. Winning!

So living here is often a fine line between one extreme and the other, but during the winter almost everyone gets a bit of the blues.

What got me to write this article was this, not really comprehensive or super helpful article, but it’s something and it inspired me to put some words on the screen and give my two cents on the subject.

I am not a typical expat that is crying from an ivory tower window, nor do I have relationship problems, maybe some problems with food (my size used to fluctuate a good bit) and a solid 3 year plus streak of having at least one alcoholic drink a day in between my stay here that I just broke last year with fantastic results.

My superpower, if I have one, is to adapt quickly to new situations. I seem to have a very short or shorter shock phase for changes of all kinds and then just think: okay, let’s deal with this new reality, be happy and make the best of it.

This does not mean that I always force myself to be happy. As an armchair psychologist I’d say that would be horrible for your psyche. Live the emotion a bit: scream, even if it’s just inside or punch a punching bag or be sad, cry a little or a lot, be sad or mad and then move on and adapt to that reality and make the best of it. 

A while ago the YouTube sunshine Prozzie posted this video:

His mannerisms and and behaviour in this particular video is in stark contrast to all his other videos, but while watching this one, this seemed oddly familiar. People leaving, people not coming back. The feeling of being alone and isolated.

Here is the one thing to fix that completely – change the perspective!

Trick your mind. The city is half empty – make it your playground. Go have a beer walk. Make it nice and cozy in your apartment and read that book or get lost in that game you have, the one you always think you have no time for. Friends leave – you can’t change that, so why worry? Be a bit like Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth, dive in it, try to find what brings you joy.

Maybe it is about joy. I might completely oversimplify all this and this sounds so easy, eh? But maybe, just maybe it is. Sometimes the answers are right in front of you. If you have the time and the space then what is holding you back from doing something that gives you some childlike joy? Find it! Do it!

And to not sound like a hippie here is some great music to delve into the gloom for a bit. For all the positivity that radiates from me, it might sound odd, but I assure you it’s not, that I really, really dig some sad tunes. You know why? Because everyone who is human feels sad too and I can allow that for a song or even longer and then you move on and deal with stuff.

Get out of the blues with some sad music while diving into it, let it flow through, like Wim Hof does with the cold. It cures!

More Than Life with incredible Melodic Hardcore

Katatonia with sad and gloomy melodic Doom Metal, Max Richter with sad and deep Classic Pieces, Clint Mansell with a flawless record of Soundtrack Music and Asche & Spencer with more sad Soundtrack Music 

 

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