There is no simple way to “cure” depression. Here are eight mood-boosters for those not-so-sunny days.
Speaking from personal experience and struggling with my mental health, all of these things may not work for you- and that’s okay! But they are very general, and are just useful in life. I’ve gone from not knowing what my emotions are and having functional depression and anxiety to the “typical” depression and anxiety we see portrayed on television. Even when I’m feeling good, just adding one of these things can help me feel even better.
Sometimes, all you need to do is get out of bed! Open your curtains, go to a room with the most light, open a window and feel the breeze from outside. You’ll be surprised how this little thing makes a big difference in your mood.
Take it even further! Get moving! Perhaps go on a short walk or hit the gym. Even better if you do it with a friend. If you don’t want to leave the house, try some sit-ups and jumping jacks. I recommend getting your heart rate up so fast-paced yoga is also an option.
Get out into nature. If you’re like me and have allergies, don’t let that stop you! Be sure to take some medicine and do your best Thoreau impersonation. He once wrote, “Nature is doing her best each moment to make us well. Why, nature is but another name for health.” There’s plenty of articles and research on the benefits of nature on our mental health as well.
Listen to anything you want! Opt for some slow jams, techno, deep house, hip-hop , it doesn’t matter. If you like it, it will boost your mood. If you thought there were many studies on nature and mental health, there are even more on the effects of music .
When we are in a funk, we tend to undereat, over eat, or not eat at all. If we do any of these things, we’re often loading up on sugar, carbs, and general junk. Funk leads to junk! (I may copywrite that). Anyways, the endorphins we get from terrible food is like a drug. We go up, but we certainly will come down. With our already fragile state, we don’t need that.
I am NOT saying that you can’t indulge at all. I’m just saying however you have been eating… eat BETTER. It will help. Here’s my article for eating on a budget.
The best people to talk to are those who don’t make your feelings about them. They are there to listen and sometimes all that’s needed is “I understand.” Humans love validation. If you live in a big city, this may sound strange, but talk to a stranger! Before I ever felt comfortable talking to a therapist or a friend, a random conversation on the NYC subway would get me or another person talking about our feelings.
You don’t have to tell your life story, but a 5 min convo can work wonders. A city of a million people, it’s nice to know someone cares, but also doesn’t. They don’t know you and there’s no judgement. They’re worried about their own life, but there’s an unexplained camaraderie that develops over a few train stops.
While talking to friends- or strangers- can be rewarding, there is nothing like talking to a professional. As a black Caribbean woman, there are many stigmas associated with therapy. As a formally educated person, I understood the benefits and recommended talk therapy to others before I had my first session. I was victim to my own stigma!
Every therapist is not the same and like fishing, the first catch may be small, but keep going! <- Did that analogy work? If you’re a college student your school may offer free counseling services or be able to point you in the right direction.
I’m biased as a pet sitter so this is my favorite option. Whether you’re a cat or dog lover, get around a furry friend. If the animal know you, they can be quite in tuned with your emotions. Maybe you’re not into furry cuteness , but like amphibians *shudders. Then find a pet store and hang out with a gecko or something. Animals spark amazement in our minds so whatever you’re into, find something to pet!
I hope these tips help you along your personal journey. They are merely suggestions.
*If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, please call your local emergency hotline*