Eight Ways to Fight Depression and Anxiety

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to help boost me out of depression and anxiety.  It’s been a rough year, and I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve been feeling better lately, a very good thing, and I’ve been encouraged to get back into the saddle and start doing some things that I used to do.  I haven’t painted in years, and writing was such a huge mental chore that it just didn’t happen.  Procrastination was my friend.

So, I’ve compiled a list of things that have helped me out of my depression.  I still have a ways to go, but I am making progress.

  1. Exercise.  Getting moving is one of the hardest things to do when you feel depressed and anxious but it really does help.  Start small.  Put your shoes on.  Walk outside for five, ten minutes.  I found a lot of times, once I got out the door, I was fine, I enjoyed being out.  The hardest part for me was getting those darn shoes on.
  2. Talk to someone.  Someone who understands depression and/or anxiety and gets what you are going through.  Sometimes, when I would try to explain to people what I was going through, their responses would only make me worse.  In hindsight, they likely don’t want to see suffering, and so made excuses for the way I felt.  I got everything from hormones to stress and blah, blah, blah.  I was surprised actually, how many people that I thought were ‘normal’, confided in me that they, too suffered from one or both conditions.  And yes, they got it.  They could relate to the devastation that these silent diseases can cause.
  3. Do something creative.  I avoided painting for years.  I thought my art work just wasn’t good enough.  I made the excuse that I was uninspired.  And writing was just too hard. And I wasn’t very good, anyway.  My occupational therapist assigned me painting sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:00.  It’s an appointment that I am expected to keep.  So at the appointed time, I go to my studio and I paint.  Just something simple.  Just for me.  And knowing I didn’t have to hang it on the wall took all the pressure off.  It was enjoyable and now I look forward to my painting sessions.  I even sneak into the studio when I don’t have an appointment.  Yes!  That’s progress.  It’s the little things, right?
  4. Get a rubby rock.  What’s a rubby rock?  It’s just a smooth stone from the beach.  My therapist gave it to me to help deal with agitation and nervousness.  It helped to calm me down, because my focus was switched elsewhere.  You could also use a stress ball.  Same idea.
  5. Accept invites for dates.  My anxiety would have me turning down invitations to go for coffee or go to a movie or go out with a group to dinner.  Go.  Even if it’s just for an hour.  Let them know in advance that you can’t stay long.  If you are having a good time, by all means, stay. On the other hand, if you are not feeling up to it, then you have already made your excuse to leave.
  6. Make sure you get enough sleep.  Eight hours is a good amount.  Too much or too little sleep can affect your mood.
  7. Get sunshine!  Aim for at least fifteen minutes of sunshine a day.
  8. Eat healthy and eat enough.  Food can have a huge effect on our mood.  Too much sugar, caffeine can make you feel worse.  Don’t skip meals, that can make you irritable and tired.  Boosting your B vitamins helps too.

 

Of course, if these techniques just aren’t cutting it, be sure to get professional help.  Know that the dark thoughts are not you, but part of a condition that can be helped.  Know that it will get better.

I made this list more or less off the top of my head.  There are far better resources out there if you are coping with depression and/or anxiety.  Here’s a few interesting ones:

Coping With Depression

Natural Depression Treatments (WebMD)

Thirty Ways to Improve your Mood

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