There is an epidemic of adult-onset doldrums. Psychologist Margaret McFarland (who served as inspiration for Fred Rogers) reported that attitudes aren’t taught, they are caught, and we are in a current trend of chronic stress, pressure, and worry. Just as Dr. McFarland warned, I caught a bad attitude and a severe case of the doldrums. Today, I am healed from it and hope that sharing my process will help you and others.


I was a good daughter, a good employee, a good citizen, and a good girlfriend — and it literally made me depressed. I dutifully worked for benefits, promotions, and retirement, which made me stressed. I lived for my weekends and used them as a space between workweeks to recover then safeguard against them. I was living with adult-onset doldrums.

I was largely uninspired and possessed oodles of angst caused by a very deep and very quiet hope that I was destined for more. However, my hope for fulfillment seemed “uncooperative” and I felt as if I was hiding a part of me that was broken and flawed. I was overcome with being an outsider.

While preparing for work one Monday morning, all this led to an epiphany during an emotional breakdown. Fortunately, at the peak of my torment, another version of me gave me an idea: “You’ve got nothing to lose now. Do what you love!”

I don’t live with the doldrums any longer because I finally surrendered to pursuing a fulfilled life — one that is enriched with inspiration, freedom of expression, and positivity.

From my own experience, I can honestly state that there are different states of reality we can choose from, but it requires being conscientiously proactive — aware that there are options, then actively preferring something different. This is not a lofty idea. As a matter of fact, if you are currently feeling dissatisfaction, you are already in the process of curing yourself of the doldrums. Dissatisfaction is an asset. It is a clarion cry for change!

3 Tips That Freed Me From Adult-Onset Doldrums

1. Images and Messages as Nutrition: As reported by Johns Hopkins, studies show imagery can have a direct impact on our health. So powerful is the effect of positive imagery on wellness that it is now being used to fight cancer.

There is a lot of negative imagery and text on the internet and social media today, but you can also use these same channels to view positive images and read uplifting stories.

I started weakening the doldrums by creating my own happy drawings, but I have also used YouTube videos of animals to uplift me. Videos of animals are popular because they are transparently real and live successfully, without body-shaming or contempt. They value their own existence and capabilities and use their distinct features to their advantage. They live with their own truth, just as they are. This is their magnetism.

Search for beautiful images, whether in nature or art. Place inspirational pictures and posters near your work area and as screen savers. I had my business create inspirational posters for a medical clinic in Mexico, believing they would help the patients with their healing process.

Read a positive book, story, or poem and keep it in your space. It is believed by spiritualists that words carry a resonance or “vibe” that will subliminally affect the space they are in.

I used everything to build my resistance to the doldrums, so I became discerning of the images I saw and the emotional tone of the words I read.

2. Exercise Your Freedom of Expression: Not expressing yourself contributes to the doldrums; it certainly did for me. We all have unique ideas and viewpoints and dreams. Each one of these, by their very nature, exists to be expressed. So, when we are in environments that do not support our full and honest input, our energy gets suppressed and we become mentally and spiritually constipated.

In every environment I previously lived and worked in, my freedom of expression was limited, whether it be by work-scope, coworkers, friends, or family. And the more I did as I was told, the more these environments rewarded me and entrenched me further into them. (I discovered later that these rewards were superficial.)

Personal expression feels good because it is a healthy exhale, a completion of a life cycle. Let it flow! Start a journal and tell it what you really think. If you worry about how it reads, it will be work — and it won’t work. Let the words out, even if it’s the same word over and over. Let your soul out for a run.

I also started a vlog, making videos of myself on my desktop computer. I used them to talk to myself freely and openly. I did it as something fun and quirky, with no expectation. I talked about this and that and I started to see that there was a light in me that flared when I stopped worrying about what I looked like or how I said things. My freedom started to stretch.

Consider doing your own private video log. Private is the key word here. You are not performing for anyone else. Use it as a safe tool towards honing your personal honesty and freedom.

Private self-expression as a balm for the doldrums worked best for me because it kept me honest.

Social media is a channel for self-expression, too, but don’t be fooled by its subculture of deception and dissatisfaction. If you want to use social media as part of your freedom of expression, be a Good Messenger. (Join the movement!)

If you don’t want to use words or voice for your expression, that’s okay! Try playing music that you deeply connect with and move to it. Stand up, claim space, and move about the room. Put any ideas of “Dancing With the Stars” out of your mind and let your body move the way it wants to. Let your miraculous body express itself to you. Set it free, if only for a song.

3. Do More of What You Love: Nature is elegant and cyclical. And if you really think about it, nature has expressed itself as you. Within you, there is a unique DNA program that has been honed by eons of evolution. Maybe it’s an ability to play music, or curl your tongue, or memorize.

We become masterful at something because we do it often — and we do it often if it is something we love because it brings us joy, because it is natural. The take away is that we can all be “good” at something, but to be masterful is to do what you love — what connects you with the real you.

In my past, not doing what I love was a form of pain that made me sick with the doldrums. My particular job track did not require or fully engage my natural abilities — probably because I was dutifully taking jobs without knowing who I really was.

Regardless of the income or the promotion or the title, I was regularly unfulfilled. I became so uninspired and complacent that I got a very severe case of the doldrums, the kind that makes you want to not live. This was the time in my life when I had my breakdown, then my epiphany.

In order to survive in that life and in those jobs, I started to write fun short stories and draw on my weekends — to do what I loved. It was a form of mental and spiritual nutrition. The more I did these things, the more my energy returned!

I started to dream again about what life could be. The low ceiling of my existence lifted and my inspiration returned. That mindset and energy shift created new opportunities that pulled me into a new and expanded future.

Do more of what you love. If you don’t know what that is, then think back to your youth, to a time when you experienced real joy. What were you doing that brought you joy? Were you climbing a tree? Running? Building something? Using your voice? Clues to what you really love to do are in your youthful, joyful memories.

Adult-onset doldrums happen when we lose ourselves, or when the gap between what we love and what we do gets big. We become an empty shell in the wind. I invite you to learn from me. I tried many remedies, but the only cure was love and a homecoming to myself.

Author's Bio: 

Veronica Vargas is the founder of Shaboo Prints, a boutique lifestyle brand designing positive products that will reawaken your joy. Veronica uses “imaginovation,” inventing ground-breaking products by combining reality with imagination to provoke awe and wonder. She is a social expressionist and entrepreneur on a mission to return millions of adults back to a wondrous world full of potential, play, and a knowing that expressing their real self is the whole point — i.e., finding their happy place! Visit