Depression. It can be a hard word to say, even harder to admit. I find that in today’s society we tend to see it everywhere. With social media being at our fingertips, it’s so easy to connect with other people who may be going through the same thing.
But how many of us actually do something about our depression?
I decided to go off track on my regular travel and food posts because I realized everyone goes through a time where they can’t seem to look up. It’s normal to have bad days, sometimes a bad week, doesn’t mean it’s a bad life. It’s when we get stuck in a funk and can’t shake ourselves out of bad habits that we created during these hard times. And I can attest to this, as I myself, struggle with these same bad habits.
I’m here to tell you, that change doesn’t come from sitting around and moping. Change happens with action. Today you need to make the decision to take action.
I accomplished so much by making steady changes in my everyday life and I want to share my tips on how to get yourself out of a rut. These are what worked for me, if they don’t work for you, that’s fine. Hopefully these will spark some inspo on what does work for you.
An added bonus, all of my tips cost little to no money depending on the extent you take it.
1. Runaway With Yourself
Exactly what I said, Runaway with yourself. Really take time off life and reflect on yourself. You can either spend the day at a park or have a Eat, Pray, Love moment and take a spontaneous trip out of the country. Whatever it is you choose to do, do it by yourself.
TRY THIS: Make a list.
Write what you love about yourself and then write what you would like to improve. Dedicate yourself to this list starting from the moment you write it. Remember it’s okay, THIS IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT MIRACLE, these things take time.
Improving yourself is a process and it only works if you stick to it. If you slip up, start again and continue to improve. Really take this time to be selfish. And I don’t mean in a bad way but don’t allow anyone to tamper your decision to grow. Focus on who you are and what you want to become, ALONE.
*Don’t forget to turn off your cellphone.
2. Let go of Grudges and People
During my periods of depression, I was also dealing with a lot of problems in my social life. I was not only a victim but a culprit to betrayals with people I once adored. I would dwell on these incidents even more during my episodes and I felt so alone. The problem wasn’t those people, it was me. I had to come to the realization that I can’t change the past and I can’t allow a few bad endings change the way I perceive life.
So how would I move forward?
TRY THIS: Forgive yourself. Forgive them and Forget them.
Yes, I said it, Forget them. It’s okay to let people go, you don’t have to fight or argue, just simply let them go. They will grow into better people without you and this will allow you to grow into a better person without them.
Tell yourself one thing you have obtained without this person or group of people. Then think of all the positive that has snowballed off of that.
And most importantly forgive yourself. Sometimes we are our worst enemy forgetting we’re human. We say and do things to ourselves and others that might be hard to overcome. But it’s not impossible.
3. Love Yourself
This might be the hardest part of self-improvement for anyone in the world.
We allow ourselves to be manipulated by social media, false idols and surprisingly our friends. We tend to think we are not good enough and constantly need to change. With the constant notion of comparing our lives to others. Getting ourselves caught in a vicious cycle. We can tell ourselves all day long that we are unique and to embrace our individuality but to actually believe it is the hardest part.
TRY THIS: A Personal Mantra
Create or adopt a chant that inspires you to be a better you.
For example, say something like “There’s only one of you” “You have great _____” “You’re really _____” “Life is so much better when you’re laughing”
Look in the mirror when you say these things. Look at yourself dead in the eye and mean what you say.
Don’t say you can’t. Make the decision that you can. And you will.
*Make a playlist with your favorite songs that get you pumped! Do a dance, sing-a-long, loosen up and accept yourself.
4. Enjoy Good Company
After you’ve completed your selfish exercises, take some time to enjoy the company of someone else. This doesn’t mean to go clubbing with all your friends, I mean you can but you will most likely feel more disconnected than ever. I suggest either meeting up with an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while or maybe be around some family or even one family member. Just make the hang out more genuine.
You don’t have to talk about yourself, but maybe become a good listener. Which leads me to my next tip..
5. Be Kind
Just because you’re having an awful day or year, does not condone rude behavior. I know you’re feeling awful and sometimes at the most awful times, there are people who will put the cherry on top of that awful sundae (when is a sundae ever awful? I don’t know but you get what I mean). I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what I do, what matters is the way I let it affect me.
Living in the city I’ve experienced many different personalities but it always narrows down to 2 different people, the good and the ugly. There are people who I’ve talked to and within 5 minutes I feel like I’ve known them for years and then there are people who make me feel like I robbed their mother (maybe they should read this blog post). Whatever you do, do not become the ugly. No matter what, remind yourself to be kind because you’re better than that.
TRY THIS: Do one-act of kindness a day.
If it’s one, great! If it’s two, even better!
Before you go to bed, think of the kind things you did and remind yourself that you are a good person and love yourself.
6. Don’t Drink
I know drinking is fun but don’t do it when you’re feeling down. I know it seems like a good idea especially in movies when the friend is having a terrible day and drowns their sorrows at the bar and then they have an epiphany and life gets better for them.
That’s not reality.
Drinking is a downer and will make you feel worse. I learned this the hard way. Waking up with a terrible headache and nothing in my life had changed only made me feel worse and broke. I know it may seem hard, reality is very hard to face but trust me, with a clear mind you will do much better and make clearer decisions that will impact your life significantly. And your wallet will thank you too!
7. Health Kick
Fitness is all the rage and we are all here for it!
I started the 2017 year with the decision to slowly transition into vegetarianism. Honestly, I don’t regret it. Here’s some pros as to why: Weight has been in control-neither over or under, No digestive issues, No major internal health issues and let’s face it, I really love animals.
I then started to do little exercise routines each morning like yoga stretches. Yoga is not only physically beneficial but spiritually as well. Yoga practice is known for opening the mind and body to positive energy. Which makes it a great way to start off your day! I highly suggest yoga if you’re not too keen on the idea of going to gym, like me, just part of my social anxiety (haha)
TRY THIS: Find your health niche.
Maybe a quick early morning sprint or even just some casual stretches to awaken your body is great.
Go to a cooking class, learn a healthy recipe. Try A Meatless Monday Recipe!
Many workout studios offer a free course for first time goers. Try it, maybe you’ll make friends.
Anything you decide to do should be positive for your physical health as well as your mental state.
*Vegetarians & Vegans-Don’t forget to take your vitamins!
8. Clean House
You know the old saying, when you’re feeling down clean your house. That’s probably not a saying but it was definitely a ritual for any bad break-up.
Surprisingly, this is true.
I cleaned my house from top to bottom and every nick and corner and it actually made me feel so much better. I trashed or donated anything I didn’t use in the past 6 months. I cleaned the base boards and even the walls and it made me feel like I accomplished so much. Also, sitting in a clean house was a reward in itself.
I know it sounds like such a chore and a huge bore but just take the leap, put on a good playlist and clean ONE room at a time.
A clean space is a happy place!
9. Make Your Perfect Schedule
We get busy then we get tired then we become busy and tired and then eventually we fall into a pit of misery. It happens but it’s not permanent. I was a victim of the work and school life with hardly enough time to take my dog out to the park. These consumed me and made me bitter towards the two things that were beneficial to my life. I narrowed down the issue and came to the conclusion,
I Had No Understanding of Time Management
I was just focused on making it to my priorities that everything else was kind of tossed in the air. So I came up with a system that really improved my time managing skills. I didn’t pressure myself to follow my schedule perfectly, I just did my best to incorporate all of my wants and eventually I succeeded at my perfect schedule.
On a piece of paper, list the days of the week, then write your obligatory duties like work and school, write the times they start and finish, then write what you would like to fit in the mean time. For example,
Work- (6-2 pm)
Take Nessie on Walk- (6-7pm)
Read- (8 till bedtime)
It’s okay if you don’t follow it to the T. The point is to have it as a motivational guide.
I got a dog during the worst period of my depression. Some would say that’s not a good idea. Believe it or not, she was the reason I would get out of bed every morning. Greeting me in the morning with nudges and kisses was a great start to my day. She helped me get out and see parts of the city that I wouldn’t have, if not for her companionship.
I understand now when people get pets to cope with depression because you’re not thinking of yourself anymore. All of that energy goes into the care of something else and the reward is beautiful. And it’s nice to be loved for all your imperfections (hah)
Putting something before yourself can be daunting. The thought of responsibility being scary can keep you locked away from achieving anything in life. Success doesn’t magically appear on your door step, it takes hard work and dedication. so cliché, I know. IT’S THE TRUTH. Accomplishments are followed by achieving responsibility stepping-stones to get there. Take one small step at a time.
TRY THIS: Consider a plant.
Plants are pretty with health benefits. They need care and attention and sometimes a few Google searches to find out why the hell the leaves keep browning. Don’t worry we’ve all been there..
11. Join a Club or Class
I know, you’re probably sick of hearing this, “Join a club to get out of your comfort zone!” But, I hate to say it, it’s true! Technically I didn’t join either, instead, I went back to college. This time, I went to learn something old and something new.
I didn’t want to be pressured by my mom or other people’s moms telling me to go and get a degree. That’s not my cup of tea and I know I’m not the only one. And THAT’S OKAY.
Please, do not feel obligated to take that leap but I do highly suggest you find a club/class that you might be curious about. It’s much more fun to be surrounded by people who share the same interests as you. It is also a great way to network and maybe that interest will turn into something bigger than what you expected. You never know until you try.
12. Start a New Project or Hobby
I think this coincides with the previous tip but it doesn’t have to be subjected to some sort of membership. Which is why I added this as it’s very own tip.
Starting a project or hobby can be something as simple as painting by numbers or riding the bike that is sitting on the side of your house collecting dirt.
The start of something is the hardest part. So just go for it.
13. Write It Out
When I started this blog, it didn’t really matter to me who read it, what mattered to me was just writing about the things I enjoyed. Writing is therapeutic in many ways. I write this blog, as well as daily notes and poems. All these things help me release anxiety that weighs heavily on me throughout the day.
TRY THIS: A Project Journal
52 Lists for Happiness- Purchase Here
The 52 Lists Project- Purchase Here
*If you don’t want to purchase any books, I’ve got another solution for you.
Write a letter to yourself or someone you once knew, everyday or every week. Yes, kind of like a diary but not a diary. Write a letter talking about your day, talk about what you learned about yourself, make it self-reflective. Then go ahead and trash it.
Tomorrow is a new day.
14. Open A Book
As a child my mom used to take me and my brothers to the library every couple of weeks. Every time I would run to the Nancy Drew section and pick a new mystery. We had no choice but to check out a book every time and this is something I will love to pass on to my children one day. It made us appreciate the craft of writing and story telling. I don’t run to the mystery section as often anymore but I do love books on self-help, cooking and poetry.
It’s a great way to escape, learn new things, feel empowered and get creative. Audiobooks have crawled their way back to popularity and can be really convenient if you’re always on the go.
Also, Podcasts are a great alternative. You can find great ones on iTunes and Spotify.
Here are some of my favorite books:
Last but not least….
15. The Law of Attraction
I waited to list this for the very end because the law of attraction can relate and help everyone no matter your spiritual path. Not only is this absolutely free but it works. You’re probably thinking, this is a bunch of hippie crap and maybe you’re right or maybe you’re too scared to become vulnerable..
Just like you, I thought I could get away in life being a hard shell of anger and I blamed the universe for nothing ever going my way. Not knowing that I was the only one writing my own narrative and the real problem was my energy.
Sure, maybe it’s all in our heads, but what’s wrong with giving it a try?
We all have 17 seconds to spare each day so why not use it in a way that’s going to improve your life.
Each morning take 17 seconds and think of only positive things you want to gain in life. If you can go for longer than 17 seconds, go for it!
The 17 second method by Abraham Hicks- Cick Here To Listen
Again, these are all my personal tips that have helped me.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, they have a hotline number: 1-800-273-8255. There are also online therapy websites you can find that best suits you.
Your life is always worth any help you can get.