Because of my abusive first marriage and cancer experiences I’ve learned what helps me to fight off depression. During my cancer treatment I was on antidepressants for several months and saw a counselor for many years. Now I can recognize the signs and symptoms in myself that depression is starting to creep in and I have a bag of tricks I use to stay out of the mood ditch. Here are ten of my favorite go-to tools:
- Walk away from whatever it is that’s triggering you. Get your shoes on ( I LOVE my Skechers Go Walk shoes) and take a thirty or more minute brisk walk. Breathe deeply and pump your arms as you take long strides. If you go fast enough the boogie man won’t catch you. Walking outside in nature works best for me but you can go walk through Costco or a mall too! I usually go walk outside with my little ShihTzu puppy, Bitzi, with my disco fever playlist playing through my adorable little EWA Bluetooth speaker. It has great sounds and the quick tempo disco tunes keep me going and raise my spirits.
- Water helps wash away my anxiety. I feel like it cleanses my soul. I like water aerobics or swimming or just floating. I also love a nice hot rejuvenating bath. ( Give yourself a fabulous spa treatment!) Water really works for me and it probably will help you as well.
- It helps me a lot to read ( often out loud to myself) Buddha quotes and other positive affirmations. Sometimes I print them out and stick them up to continually remind me of good thoughts that will heighten my spirits.
- Plan something special to do. Go visit a friend or a relative. Cook a special recipe. Write long letters. Plan to give yourself a pedicure or new hair style. Shake things up and dust off your sedentary glumness. Make plans for something different!
- Talk it out. Call up your oldest, best, truest heart-to- heart friend and just spill your guts. Catch up on what’s going on, vent, cry, laugh and just rebound with an old friend. It’s very restorative after all these months of trying to quarantine. Just DO IT. You’ll be so glad you did.
- When I’m feeling blue being around animals really helps me feel better. Walking a dog, playing with a cat, brushing a horse, holding a chicken - any of those will work.
- One of my favorite things to do is take a nice long drive by myself and sing some of my favorite songs. It feels very relaxing and therapeutic. A lot of the old songs bring back so many wonderful memories.
- Make a list of all the good blessings in your life. Carry it with you and take it out and read it often.
- Make a list of the things you will accomplish today, tomorrow, next week, next month. Check them off when they’re completed.
- Each day I look up at the sky and thank the great creator for my life.I’m still here and alive after all these years and a few near-death experiences. . Usually I do my thanking floating on my back in the pool but you can do it anywhere. This one really helps uplift my spirit!
- Okay I said I’d give you ten but I also thought of something that’s very important to me. If I’m mindful of what I eat and drink I feel better. I honestly am a stress eater and tend to binge on carbs & junk food when I’m feeling sad but that only makes me feel worse ultimately. It raises your blood sugar and can cause you to bloat, feel guilty and maybe even worse. Try to think of food as fuel and not comfort or a sedative. Eat healthy and you’ll feel better. Get some good nutritious food in you.
Despite these coping tools I have I still having be on guard and try to keep my protective bubble. The last several months there has been a lot of drama going on in my family. Adding that in with the election, the insurrection, the quarantine and rising Covid-19 numbers and all the dreadful news it has been hard staying on the rails. You just have to try to get up every day and find whatever good you can.