Sometimes you can feel it coming. Sometimes it takes you completely by surprise.
Ah . . . life with depression.
But there ARE things you can do about it. I'm gonna tell you what works for me––maybe you'll find something that'll help you, too.
Good God, this is important. If I don't get enough quality sleep, not only am I a mega-bitch, I'm also headed straight to the wrong side of the tracks aboard the Crazy Train (choo-CHOO!). Next stop, Depression Station!
To keep depression at bay, you've GOT to prioritize sleep. Don't make sleep fit in around all the other stuff in your life. Make all the other stuff in your life fit in around sleep. It's that critical to your wellbeing.
2) MY LIGHT BOX
I don't know about you, but my depression always always always gets worse in the fall and winter. It's not exclusively seasonal, but it's close. Light boxes are incredibly effective in combating seasonal depression. I got my big-ass light box on eBay about twelve years ago for maybe $75 (very similar to this one). It's a damn good light box, and it's been worth every single penny.
I try to sit in front of that bad boy every morning for at least 10-15 minutes, sometimes up to an hour. Somehow I just know when I've had enough light. Not in a bad way––I don't get uncomfortable or anything like that––I'll just suddenly know that it's OK to turn off the light and go on with my day.
Oh, that's another thing––you don't just sit in front of the light and do nothing. You can go about your usual morning routine. I'll usually eat my breakfast, read, or even put on makeup while I've got my light on. (Putting on makeup in front of the light box = best makeup lighting you'll ever have. Trust me.)
Interestingly, I'm not the only one who loves my light box. All of the cats I've had over the past dozen years (four) have loved sitting in front of the light box with me. And my son has also been drawn to the bright light, from babyhood to littlekidhood (he's currently five). It must be doing us all some good.
Light boxes don't have to be behemoths, though. I've got a travel light box (similar to this one) that's much smaller (obviously). I suppose you could use it every day if you wanted. Bigger lights produce––you guessed it––more light, so the amount of light hitting your eyes is considerably greater than if you were using a smaller light, so they're generally more effective. But in a pinch, a travel light will do. The most important thing when choosing a light box is making sure the light level is at least 10,000 lux. You'll get the most benefit from lights that meet that threshold.
Believe me, at my core, I'm a couch potato. I am a lazy, lazy human. But regularly getting my ass out the door for a run keeps my mind healthy and happy (and keeps my body fat level to a tolerable percentage). Yes, folks, it makes a difference.
Running helps me stay somewhat fit, but it also boosts my self-confidence and overall self-esteem. Running gives me proof that I am capable of doing hard things. It proves that if I stick to something, I can actually do it. These sound like simple concepts, but I need the reminders.
I've heard all the excuses why you can't do yoga. You're not a human pretzel. You're not that bendy. You haven't touched your toes since you were ten.
Blah blah blah, excuses. Yoga is probably the single most adaptable exercise you could possibly do. ANYONE can do yoga. You're not the special one who can't.
Yoga is all about individual progress. As hard as it is, don't look at the svelte young thing on the mat next to you. Focus on your own body.
And focus on your mind.
Yoga has a really important lesson to teach us. Sure, lots of poses feel great. But some poses can be uncomfortable. You might think you can't possibly hold it another second. Your body might start to tense up and rebel. But . . . you can breathe through it. Breathe. Relax. Focus on your breath. Focus on right now. Before you know it, the pose is over and you can move on. Extrapolating on that lesson, discomfort will pass. Suffering isn't permanent. And by further extension, everything will pass. Nothing is permanent.
Isn't that deep? Pretty sure you won't get that level of insight from watching Judge Judy while on a treadmill at the gym.