Hello everyone! Today, I’m going to be writing about ways I combat depression in my everyday life. I was diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD, or seasonal depression) a few years ago, and although I’m pretty sure I have good ol’ regular depression as well, it gets worse throughout the colder months, when the sun sets earlier. Obviously, it’s summertime now, so you may ask “why u writin about winter blues, Mary?” Some people have depression year round, and if my suggestions can help someone at any point in the year, I’m gonna write about it!
Listening to Music
As you may know, I am a huge lover of music. I listen to pretty much anything that I can find. Recently, I reached the music library limit on Spotify, which I didn’t think was possible! During the winter months, I listen to a lot of music to lift my spirits. When I listen to music, I like to create a scene in my head. I guess I would call it a daydream, but it’s more like a music video sequence. It really helps me focus on something other than being miserable! There’s a few albums that I always go back to that lift my spirits:
- “Making Mirrors”, by Gotye is a phenomenal album that I have been listening to since it came out in 2011. It’s an indie pop rock album that pulses with energy throughout the entire album.
- “Endless Summer”, by the Midnight is an album that you may have heard of, if you’ve been reading my posts since the beginning. I wrote about the retrowave album in my “Mary’s Top Albums” series, so check it out if you haven’t already!
- “Clarity”, by Zedd, is an album that always gets me to my happy place. It’s an electropop album that I can’t help but listen to straight through whenever it comes up on shuffle. It’s great to get the blood flowing!
There’s a ton of other songs and albums that I love to listen to when I’m feeling down, but those three are great for if you like to make your own music videos in your head like I do. They’re also great in general, so if you haven’t listened to them, I suggest you go and check them out!
I honestly don’t exercise as much as I should. The idea of getting up early to go or going right after work just sounds awful. However, I can’t argue that getting my heart pumping and breaking a sweat always makes me feel better when it gets hard.
You do not have to go to the gym in order to work out. Personally, I have one because I like the elliptical and the machines, and I like that I can go 24 hours a day (so if the mood strikes, I can go at two o’clock in the morning). If you know you won’t use a membership, I suggest finding any other way to get moving. Even if it’s just a walk around the block! Thirty minutes of cardio each day is important for good health, but honestly if you’re deep in the depression hole, that sounds impossible.
What I like to do is make it so that I can turn something I do everyday into a workout. For example, I take the bus to work and I have to walk ten minutes to the bus stop from my house five our of seven days of the week. Instead of casually walking to the bus, I try to get there as fast as possible without running. I make a ten minute trip in about seven to nine minutes. It’s not much, but it’s something that gets my heart going. Any endorphin counts!
Watching Videos Online
My husband Matt could tell you all about this one. When we met, I mentioned that I liked to watch JackSepticEye and Markiplier so much that I went to meet them in Indianapolis one year. Their videos were both hilarious and inspiring to me. Jack and Mark helped me through a rough time mentally a while back, and I don’t talk about it a lot because at the time, I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. Watching them helped me remember that I am worthy of my friend’s and family’s love and support, and although I haven’t watched a lot of them lately, I still owe it to them that I got through my last rough patch as smoothly as I could.
Nowadays, I’ve found myself watching a lot of the Game Grumps, SuperMega, OneyPlays, and the Completionist. I’m actually going to see the Game Grumps Live Show soon, believe it or not. These YouTubers (or Let’s Players, if you will) are basically all I watch and/or listen to every day. They provide quality entertainment and keep my ADHD mind satisfied better than any TV show or movie can. In fact, we don’t have cable because neither Matt nor I watch TV at all (he usually streams whatever he wants to watch, but I legitimately haven’t sat down and watched anything on cable in over four years). So if I’m watching something, it’s on the internet!
I also really like to watch old Vines, meme vids, and other stupid shit on YouTube. Anything that can make me laugh! It’s a little corny, but they always say that laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes when you’re sad or feeling the weight a little bit more than usual, watching a dumb video on the internet can do wonders.
Spend Time With Your Friends or Fam
As obvious as it sounds, it’s important to note how seeing the people that you love impacts your mood. I’m notorious for cutting myself off from the world during the wintertime because I just can’t bring myself to do anything else but go to work and go to bed. This past year, I was busy planning a wedding, so I had to be involved with people most of the time, including times where all I wanted was to go home and go to bed. It made me realize that I missed my friends and family more than I thought when I cut myself off, and that I needed to make an effort more in order to be happy!
Making plans with your friends is easily the hardest thing I’ve had to endure as an adult. It’s so hard to make time for friends when we all have different schedules and lives! My core group of friends has always been really good about making sure we hang out at least once a month, even before we graduated high school. I’m so grateful for those three because they make sure that all four of us are okay both mentally and emotionally throughout the year.
The Richmond-Leeths have always been very close as a family, and as we’ve all grown older we’ve made sure to keep up with each other. It’s easier for me to see my dad and sister because they live in town, but my mom sometimes comes into town for the day, and we just went to Indiana to see her not too long ago…at the very least, we text each other from time to time! Keeping up with my family, and getting to see them especially, always lifts my spirits. If you’re close with your family, call them up whenever you’re feeling down! Any conversation is guaranteed to make you feel better. If you’re not close with your family, call someone you call your family, like your best friend! After all, friends are just the family you choose.
Spend Time With You
This one is pretty obvious too if you’ve already heard all about Self-Love. If you haven’t, self-love is about loving yourself for the person you are, loving your body, and loving your spirit. Most people attribute self-love to self-care, like face masks and long baths, but it’s so much more than that. RuPaul says it best: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” You can take all the long bubble baths in the world, but if you don’t like the person you see in the mirror, it’s hard to get through the harder times that depression brings.
In middle and high school, I tried my best to be confident about who I was and what I looked like. It’s hard for every teenager to get past that feeling, but I fully believe that depression makes it ten times harder to get rid of those thoughts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten to the point in life where I’m realizing that I don’t really care what people think of me when they see me or hear me talk about myself. I used to pretend to be really, really self-confident, almost overconfident, but one day I started to believe what I was saying about myself. I would be like “yo I’m dope as hell” and in my head, instead of disagreeing, I would be thinking something like “hell ya I am bb”. I legitimately think that I’m cool now, all because I lived by the motto “Fake it till you make it”.
“Fake it till you make it” is something I heard a lot growing up, but when I hit about twenty two or twenty three I really started taking that phrase seriously. What if I could change the way I perceived myself based on how I talked about myself? What if I presented myself as overconfident? Would I start to actually believe it? As any of my friends, family, coworkers, and my husband can tell you, yes, I actually believe it, and I never shut up about myself on the daily. I think I’m fan freaking tastic, and I think that I’m perfect in both the way that I look and the way that I am.
Obviously, my self-love journey is going to look different from everyone else’s, because everyone has different experiences and journeys. I truly believe in the idea of “Fake it till you make it” because it lowkey has roots in psychology (it’s just cognitive behavioral therapy, y’all) and, to put it simply, it worked for me, so why not try it for yourself? You never know!
Those are just some things I like to do to combat my depression in my daily life. Some days are harder than others, but I’m lucky to have a great support system and the resources I need to make my life easier. I urge people that are suffering from depression to use the resources available to them if possible, and reach out to people they trust for help. There is always someone in your corner. On the internet alone, there are plenty of websites one can go to to find help. I Google everything, so I suggest doing the same! Tumblr was also surprisingly helpful back in the day, and in theory it should be helpful now, but for legit resources I say Google is your friend.
Thanks for reading! If you want to talk about anything, I’m just a tweet away! I appreciate y’all reading my posts very much! Hope to see you back next week!