Steps to a Happier Me

I’ve been around depression my whole life but I’ve only personally experienced it in the last couple of years. My Mom, Dad and oldest sister all suffer from it in their own forms along with anxiety. It hit me hard in the form of an emotional breakdown right before entering work at 6:45am on a Monday this past June and I’m still recovering from that terrible episode. Here are a few ways I’m getting through my depression and anxiety:

1. Working out

Exercising has been the biggest game changer for me in terms of fighting my depression and the excess energy and restlessness that comes with my anxiety. It forced me to set goals and my accomplishments gave me boosts of esteem as I was getting stronger everyday and seeing the improvements physically. One thing that I really recommend is to follow a training plan – an 8-12 week weight training plan that increases the weights every 4 weeks is what worked for me. The reason I’m emphasizing the need for a plan is because if you just go to the gym and workout without specific goals, you won’t see any major improvements which can be discouraging and may do the opposite of what you want to achieve.

2. Medicating

Now this might not be for everyone and that’s fair – this is just what worked for me. Now, as I mentioned, I suffered through depression for a couple of years without getting help until this past June when everything I had bottled up came out. I was anti- anti-depressants and had resisted them for several reasons. I finally realized my methods weren’t working and I may as well give them a try and the meds have helped tremendously. They aren’t perfect, but I do feel better than before.

3. Meditating

I discovered this great app called Headspace that has been absolutely eye opening. I have never meditated before I started using this app. The guided meditations in this app are amazing at being able to relax and calm me down after a long day at work or first thing in the morning to help centre myself before my day starts. I highly recommend meditating on the whole – you’ll be surprised at how calm yet rejuvenated you feel at the end of a quick 10 minute session.

4. Being social

I’m still working on this one being introverted and all. I naturally just prefer hanging out by myself at home or just with my room mate watching Narcos on Netflix but making the effort to go out to a bar with a bunch of friends is always something I’m happy about in the end. I initially always dread going out but when the night’s over, I’m always happy I went.

5. Journaling 

I try to be consistent with keeping a journal and it has been a challenge but it does help me feel better. I get it all out of my system and have a chance to reflect on the previous day and to set myself up for the next. My journal is a place I also write my gratitude in. The more I make a conscious effort to write about what I am grateful for, the more silver linings I find in everyday life. Try it out and tell me if it helps you.

What do you to feel better when you’re down? Feel free to add to my list in the comments below!

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