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- Mental Health Self-Help
Feasible Ways to Cope With Depression
Walk/run it off.
This seems pretty easy, and it is.
Life can get really overwhelming quickly. Some days, it feels as though you're constantly being rained on and it won't let up. Emotions can compound, and make you feel more overwhelmed.
When I'm feeling this way, one of my favorite things to do is go for a run.
You might say; "I'm not a runner". You don't have to be, and neither am I. I just run for less than a mile or around the block at a fast speed. This helps me to feel like I'm gaining control over my life, while it works off emotions to help me think more clearly.
If you are at work, or at a place where running around is probably not appropriate, then walk. I've done this before as well. Put on some music, play those air drums, and get your Vitamin D intake. You can also speed walk if you want to shut off your brain ever more. When you get back, hopefully your brain is just a bit distracted until you can deal with your frustrations.
"Music! Makes the people...come together...yeah!"
Madonna sang this. I'm not that cool. ;) But; if I can look as good as her in a leotard when I'm her age, I will be a happy camper!
Anyway, as I lightly mentioned above, music is wonderful for taking your brain to another place. Play some Pandora quietly at your work station, get that healthy walk around the block while listening to your phone/getting a snack at the vending machine/using the bathroom--We're not judging!--or blare Axl Rose in your car as you're driving away. This is our favorite pastime. Sometimes, Axl Rose just says exactly what we're feeling.
On a side note, if you ever have time, I encourage you to Google Axl Rose and read about his life story. He dealt with two alcoholic, abusive parents, and his music reflects it. He literally used music as an outlet to deal with his pain. You can hear that pain in some of his lyrics. My point is; look at what awesome music Axl made from a bad situation. Which brings me to...
Find a creative outlet.
This is my favorite one! Creativity comes in many forms, including drawing, graphic design, sculpting, weaving, knitting, sewing, designing, speaking, acting, writing, performing, directing, decorating, baking, cooking...I feel like I'm missing one.
If you don't have one, find one! You don't need to be creativity--as you can see, there is a place for everyone. I love acting, writing, cooking, and performing improv.
If you are not sure what improv is, feel free to YouTube Second City, iO, or Upright Citizens' Brigade. Improv is writing scenes with a scene partner and no props. It's you, and your imaginations creating together. The world is your oyster!
I'd also recommend improv to get out of your head. You can shut off your brain, enjoy the imagination, play pretend, and laugh. You can take a local improv class as well! Improv can help with trusting your gut, saying "yes, and", and building confidence and teamwork. There is also nothing like being on stage and making people laugh!
Put on your go-to show.
We all have 'em. This is the show form of comfort food, if you will.
These are shows that if you're having a bad day or feeling down, you know that you count on them bringing you back. Mine are Parks and Recreation, The Office, and Friends. What are yours?
Let it out.
Don't worry. We won't look.
It's perfectly okay to cry. You need to let it out. This can also help take the initial shock of whatever you are facing. Don't be afraid to.
Get...the heck...out of...the house.
This can be really hard some days...trust me...I know. But you can do it.
On days like this, when I don't really feel like talking to people but I still want to get out of the house, I strangely find myself at Target (pronounced Tar-ghzay for the fanciest of us) or the grocery store. There, you can walk around and get inspired--at Target--it's to check out their face wash on sale (I'm obsessed with face wash!) and at the grocery store, you can get ideas for recipes, or look at their clearance, or their ice cream aisle. Whoops! Everything in moderation...
Coffee shops are wonderful as well. Some are delightfully bookstores and coffee shops, which blow my mind! There is something about the local coffee shop which usually has lovely baked goods and locally brewed coffee. Take a nap; we won't tell!
Bonus: You can people-watch and try to figure out their stories. Nope, I don't do that...people are fascinating though...
If you don't feel like spending money, and I don't blame you, my favorite place is the local library. Usually, the people working there are friendly and the patrons should be friendly--it's books for Pete's sake! Plus, almost everything there is free. You can check out ten books for completely free. You can check out twenty books. You can do magazines, cds, dvds, audiobooks, computers to use...the possibilities are endless with the library!
I think a lot of people forget about it and they shouldn't. We pay for it with our taxes, and they get new books everyday. The library rocks, and you should add this to your place of peace. Just grab a book, a cozy corner, and relax.
(Be sure and check the requirements for a library card before you excitedly go to the library. Many require a Drivers' License or State I.D. and proof of address.)
Get a massage.
When you start to feel that stress in your shoulders, you need a massage--Especially if you're like me and like to carry big purses for snacks. :)
You can find discounted massages on Groupon or at your local beauty school. I've been going to beauty schools for years. A lot of times, you can get a professional quality massage at a much lower price. Keep in mind though, that it may not be in a private room, but, it's still worth it. I even used to get $10 facials at the other beauty school I used to attend. I miss that place.
I get that you may want to save money and have your "boyfriend with the magical hands" do it. That may be okay for in between massages, but come on, you owe to yourself. Do it once a month, if you can. Twice a month. Two times a year--fine! Just do it! (Please. I said please!)
Empathy is understanding how someone feels.
No one wants to be the morality police, but we've all heard people say callous things: "she's crazy", "I heard he's having a breakdown", "we don't talk to her". We are humans and it's in our nature to judge, but, keep in mind that you might be doing more harm than good.
After all, what if "she" acts a certain way because life has rained on her and she can't get any traction? Same thing with "him". The last one here always gets me, why won't some people talk to someone different than them? It could be that they're just shy. You don't know their whole story.
Honestly, no one has any room to talk. We all have our baggage, and we've all gone through our share of hard times. I gently try to give the person saying these things that same advice. We need to be helping each other instead of tearing each other down.
It's not a sissy to ask someone to be a decent human being. Period. If they don't understand the message--that's on them, not you.
Take a deep breath.
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I swear it works.
Everyone, take a deep breath. Hold it. Count to ten seconds.
Do it as needed throughout your day. This is one of the most underrated, calming, and cheap things you can do. You can scream into a pillow when you get home.
Talk to someone.
We have coworkers, fellow students, family--just to name a few, and sometimes, we just need to vent! Please do. Your conscious will thank you.
If you need to talk about something that is a bit more serious, please don't hesitate to contact a mental health professional. I was lucky enough to find a counselor that was in training, so I am receiving professional help at a lower cost. Many workplaces also have Health Savings Accounts, where you set aside money in a separate account for health-related purposes. Normally, seeing a counselor can fall under an HSA-purpose, but be sure and check your company's policies.
You can also call counselors in your area to do some cost-comparison.
If you ever feel as though you cannot go on any longer, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1-800-273-8255. Your life is worth saving.
Don't forget that every day is a new day, and people don't typically remember those little things we fret about. No matter what you are going through now, this will more than likely not be your reality in even a year or so.
Depression is not a visible disease in most cases, so please seek help sooner than later.
In short; Find what works for you.
I've given you a bunch of ideas that I've used when battling depression. Now it's your turn to find what works for you. You can use everything here, or nothing here, but hopefully it helps you generate ideas.
It's all up to you. It's your life, and no one should judge you. As the Muppets say: "life is like a movie, write your own ending". Keep your head up and continue writing your movie. You are loved.