When I was 20 years old, I discovered something really important about myself. I am prone to depression when bad things happen to me. At this time in my life, I had suffered my first real heartbreak and I was also without a job. Instead of just grieving and moving on, I brooded for months. I moped and constantly dwelled on my heartache. I lost weight. I withdrew from those I cared about and was hateful to my family. It was not a good time in my life.
When I finally found a job, and it took my mind off myself and gave me something to look forward to. I was able to move on. As horrible as that time was, I am glad I went through it, because I learned a lot about myself. I was better prepared for my next heartache.
When that next heartache came along, I didn’t want to sink into depression again. I knew the mistakes that I had made before. I had had too much time on my hands and spent too much time thinking about myself and my problems. Instead of finding something to look forward to, I had dwelt on all the bad things in my life. I refused to do that this time. I would allow myself time to grieve and then I would find something to do to keep myself busy.
What I chose to do, was redecorate my bedroom. It was amazing how helpful giving myself this project was. Not only was it therapeutic, but it was fun! There was the shopping for a new comforter and curtains, planning how to rearrange the furniture, cleaning out my closet and dresser drawers, and getting rid of the things I no longer wanted or needed. It kept me sane and helped me to move on.
Now when heartaches and disappointments come my way, I feel better able to deal with them. Here are some of the things that have worked for me through the years.
1. Keeping busy.
We all need time to grieve or just be sad when something goes wrong in our lives, but we shouldn’t dwell on it. Don’t just sit around, thinking and worrying about your problems, find something to do. Is there a big cleaning project you’ve been meaning to tackle? This is a good time to start it. Always wanted to have a garden? Why not start one now? Been wanting to redecorate? Go for it! The purpose is to give your mind something else to think about and your hands something to do.
2. Learning something new.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I learn something new it makes me feel really good! It is stimulating to your brain to get out of its old routines. So… start a website. Learn to crochet. Take up scrap-booking. Take some online art courses. Whatever it is that you have always wanted to try, now is as good a time as any.
3. Dying my hair.
Or just getting a new haircut. Some of you may be laughing, but changing your appearance, even a little bit, is a great pick-me-up. I think it’s all the compliments you get!
4. Spending some time in the sun.
I spend WAY too much time indoors! So, spending time outdoors, whether it’s walking, riding my four-wheeler or just laying out in the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!) always makes me feel better. It will put me in a great mood for days.
5. Getting away for a few days.
Just being able to leave all you worries behind, even if it is only for a weekend, is a great stress reliever. You have the joys of planning the trip and something to look forward to until you leave. Then you have the trip itself, which is the really fun part. And when you get back, the memories of the good time you had.
These things have really helped me battle the “blues”, and I hope that they will be a help to you. Remember though, I am not an expert, these are just my opinions. If you suffer from severe depression or have ever had thoughts of suicide, you should seek professional help. This is just meant to help those, like myself, who are prone to brooding, which if left unchecked can lead you down a dark and unpleasant road.