When I start to feel down, I take action immediately. It used to be that I’d pretend it wasn’t happening or feel so ashamed of it that I stuffed it down or tried to “suck it up,” and act like a “normal” person.
I’d end up pushing myself lower and lower until I was forced into action.
Since I’ve changed my lifestyle around to support my recovery, my depression-squashing tactics have evolved as well. Thank God!
Now, when I start to feel the heaviness weighing me down like a sopping wet wool blanket, I take one (or all) of the steps below to find relief:
One of my main triggers for depression and anxiety is exhaustion. It doesn’t matter whether I’m exhausted from too much fun and joyous activity or if I’m just slammed with travel and work stuff, the exhaustion forces me to slow down.
Take naps if you can’t get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, say “no” to social occasions that require you to be a super-extrovert (if you feel like it’s draining; if you get energized from these situations, go!), and change your sleeping arrangements around to make sure you can get as much shut eye as possible (change your sheets, get a white noise machine or an eye mask, etc.).
Sleep is high on my priority list all the time, but it’s absolutely number one priority when I get depressed. Nothing is more important than making sure you’re taken care of.
Nature has been proven to alleviate depression, but I didn’t need a study to tell me that. There’s something about getting outdoors for a walk that’s so different from taking a stroll on a treadmill or doing an indoor class. I’m sure it has something to do with the Vitamin D we get from the sun and all that, but let’s just keep it simple: if you’re feeling low, get outside for 15 minutes. Try to do a little movement like walking, but just getting out to connect with nature can be extremely helpful on its own.
Talk about it
Don’t be like ex-me and pretend it’s not happening. The worst thing you can do is ignore or deny your depression. It will only get worse if you do.
Instead, open up to a trusted friend or professional. I always opt for the latter because there’s something about paying someone to listen to me that helps me open up completely, which allows me to recover that much faster.
The most important part of this step is to talk smart. Instead of using your chat to complain and wallow, use it to acknowledge what’s going on and then focus on how you can deal with it to start making your way out. That might be an action plan like this post, or a schedule of therapy visits or even coming to the conclusion that you need to stop relax and stop trying to control your emotions.
I’ve evolved into a different type of depressive than I was in my 20’s. Instead of becoming super-emotional and sad, I just go numb. I start losing interest in my hobbies, I feel less creative and I just care less about, well, everything. I completely lose inspiration to do anything worthwhile.
So I actively search for inspiration to kickstart my creative juices again. I’ll go on Pinterest, read my favorite blogs, look at art magazines, talk to inspiring people, watch TED talks, go to yoga classes, journal it out and anything else that I can think of to remind me of how beautiful this world is.
Start taking note of the things that inspire you so that you have a long list to choose from when you start to feel low. It’s better to prepare than to be caught in a state of apathy and not know where to turn for inspo. Start with my list of inspiration if you’re there, and let it grow as you find the things that light you up.
Do Something. Anything.
Bottom line: do something. Anything. Taking action is a big middle finger to the usurper, Depression.
Do one thing today that you know will make you feel better. Maybe that’s one of the above actions we just talked about. Maybe it’s just taking a shower today. Nothing is too small to create a difference when it comes to positive action.
Remember that this isn’t just about you. You’re here for a reason, and we need you.
I truly believe that our purpose in life is to be our most lit-up selves. With depression clouding your light, you’re being hidden. Let’s light you up.
Stay with us. We’re fighting right alongside you.
I’ve had such a fun time Periscoping with you guys for the #BeofService Challenge this past week! I plan to keep ‘Scoping regularly, so make sure to follow @stronginsideout on your Periscope app.
If you missed them, no sweat. Official Strongies will be getting a link in their email to check them all out today, but if you’re not one yet, let’s get you initiated. Sign up here to become an official Strongie and I’ll send you access to all the videos to watch whenever you want!