A Couple Things to Help with your Depression

For the purposes of this article, you have anxiety and depression.  Doesn’t matter why.  Because I have spent most of my life finding ways to handle anxiety and depression,  I can pass on the most important advice my therapists have given me throughout the years.  This is not a substitute for therapy. These are some things that keep me from losing my mind, so maybe you can use them as a bridge to get you over this time and into the good stuff awaiting you.

  1. Meditate for at least 12 minutes a day.  I would suggest the Wheel of Awareness by Dr. Dan Seigel on Youtube.  He also has another, shorter video if that one is too daunting.  Another option is the app Headspace.  It’s a free app, but most of their content is behind a paywall.  It’s still a good way to get into the habit of meditating every day, because they have meditations that are five minutes or less to get you used to it.  Once you’ve meditated a few times, it will not seem like such a chore.  It creates a feeling of peace that is hard to rival.  It also can put some space between your thoughts which is wonderful when you’re used to being constantly overwhelmed by unpleasant internal sound.
  2. Do at least 15 minutes of cardio every day.  This causes your brain to produce dopamine.  When you have depression, anything that causes an increase in dopamine will become borderline addictive.  Exercising regularly also helps me sleep regularly, which helps me stay on this side of sanity.  And then there’s the increase in self esteem that comes with setting goals and sticking to them.
  3. Journal.  When you get your thoughts down on paper, you are able to complete them and communicate them.  When thoughts feel incomplete and unheard, they become rumination.  Being stuck in an unhappy thought loop is so very uncomfortable and can last so very long that it feels unbearable.  Write your thoughts down and it is easier to let them go.
  4. Do yoga or tai chi or some other activity to get close and comfortable with your body.  I would recommend Yoga With Adriene on Youtube.  You don’t need any special clothes, or a mat, or anything other than the willingness to try.  Adriene will make sure you don’t feel stupid and she has videos for everything.  You can start with her beginner videos, or you can search up a video for whatever you’re going through.  Her videos are for all levels and she’s wonderful.  Walks are also wonderful.  Not only are you breaking up your routine and adding novelty to your life, but you’re causing the left and right sides of your brain to work together harmoniously.
  5. Tidy your environment.  Make your bed or do your laundry.  Maybe clean a mirror.  If you have a huge mess, pile it all up in one spot and make the rest of your room clean.  If the mess is consolidated it’s easier to deal with.  I usually can’t handle cleaning a whole room at once so I say “I will do ten cleaning things today.”  Maybe I wipe down a counter and put away my shoes and a bunch of small things like that.  I always have a show or music on to distract me from the onerous tasks.

            I’ve made sure to include only free options here because I only do free things.  I put time goals in some of my entry, but don’t let them intimidate you.  If you can only handle the concept of meditating for three minutes, only do three.  It’s better than zero.  If you’re only comfortable going on a one block walk, go walk that block!  You’ll feel better after you do and even if you don’t, it is a step towards a new and healthier routine.