My Unconventional Resources for Navigating Depression...!
Updated: Feb 21
Depression has been a very poignant theme throughout my young life. I am 36 as I write this with years of my life impacted at the hands of this very powerful and uninvited guest. At times it seems like a friend somehow though, providing some comfort when you know nothing else, when you can't remember any other way of living this life. Below you will find what I experienced as the bare essentials to combat those moments when it feels like you can't find a way out. Remember, depression is not your life, it does not define who you are, it is just where you are in this moment... and moments change all the time and be proud of yourself as if you are reading this, you are still fighting!
Accomplish one thing each and every day.
This doesn't have to be a mind-blowing task. I promise you, brushing my teeth some days was/is all I could muster up the energy to accomplish -- and honestly, sometimes not even that. The single greatest realization for me was I needed to accomplish SOMETHING. Even if it was telling myself to get up from the bed and move to the couch. It is movement, and movement is the first step to getting on with it. It may take time, and loads of time at that, but each day making one step forward will inevitably culminate in change. It worked for me and I know accomplishment was paramount to me moving into a better space. Here are some other ideas that may spark something in you:
* Brush your teeth, brush your hair, take out your contacts (notoriously bad at this myself)
* Do a domestic task... take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher, change the air filter, do a load of laundry
* Take a hot bath... add essential oils you love, make it fancy and enjoyable
* Throw a toy for your dog/pistachios for your cat (my cat loves to play with pistachios, weird??)
* Watch a YouTube video on a topic you find undeniably interesting
* Call around for a quote for a home improvement project you have been dreaming about...
Be active (...no seriously, keep reading)
I am not saying you should lace up your favorite shoes and go running for 3 miles every day. I would hardly find that to be realistic. However, fight the urge to insist that all fitness has to look as though you've been fit and active your whole life. How did I start? I found a motivating youtuber who spoke to me and I found the workouts where she was actually laying down for the duration. This meant, yes, I could workout FROM MY BED. Judgement is a choice folks... you are doing something different and it may not look perfect each step of the way, but those are still steps forward. Celebrate them. Maybe, in a week or even a month, you might feel like that second exercise in that Instagram post seems kindof interesting, imagine you decide to get out of bed to try it! WINNING! Accept that changes can, and are often microscopic, it is totally ok.
Check out Trainer Kaitlin, she is incredible and has such a wonderful and courageous story...
Spend at least 10 minutes outdoors each day. Nature has a powerful way of improving just about any circumstance. Whether it is overcast or that perfect mid-70's and breezy summer afternoon, you will benefit from the fresh air. In a perfect world, I would be running 5 miles a day. That has in years of my life been a reality and a wonderful period of my life, but other moments I need to be proud of myself for eating a few nuts on my back patio. This is real life... it is not often glamorous and that is REAL.
Continue to learn, continue to add even small bits of knowledge each and every day. I enjoy both reading fiction and nonfiction. Podcasts are also great. Just set aside even 5 minutes to just gather some new data... you never know what is going to spark some motivation or encouragement that will push you and help you to move forward.
So, the general population would suggest eating healthy. I am going to be controversial here. I would also agree that I almost always feel better after eating healthier options. But lets be real, if all you can do is microwave a Stouffer's Mac and Cheese cup, that's okay too. Just remember that your body needs fuel to function.
One Gratitude a Day...
If you choose is to keep it close, I suggest texting your gratitude's to yourself. Yep, you can do that and then you have a running record. I do occasionally refer to them... not a bad reminder of where you are at and what you are grateful for in life. A bit of a metric and those can be very helpful...