I’ve posted a little this week about having a bit of a depression since the end of Birthday Month. That happens with people who suffer from major depressive disorder. We use up the really fun happy chemicals in our brain and take a little longer to replace them. So, I’ve been pulling out all of the stops to get my brain back on track. Here are my top five favorites for you:

Get outside.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can include depression, and a big depression often leads to Vitamin D deficiency. It can be a really nasty cycle. My suggestion is to get outdoors in any way you can. I’ve done it by planting a garden, reading copious amounts of fanfic poolside in shorts and a t-shirt, just going out with my headbuds and a don’t talk to me attitude to  lay on a blanket… But my favorite is to get out hiking. For a list of my favorite places in Austin, click here.

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Meditate.

When your brain is a dangerous place to be, sometimes purposefully shutting it down can be the easiest way for you to get it quiet. I know the idea of meditation can be daunting and/or sound like a hippie thing to do. But if you’ll check out an app like Headspace, you’ll find the practice of getting outside of your own thoughts doesn’t have to be a spiritual experience. It’s as practical as it is philosophical.

Seek out people.

I know that when we’re depressed the last thing our body wants from us is to get out and do anything. My advice for you? Tell your anxious/depressed brain to suck it up. People, especially the people who love us are so important when we’re in a cycle of depression. They’re the ones who can give us physical comfort (something that a lot of us need when we’re depressed) and they can tell you all of those ugly, spiraling thoughts are a lie. Think of people like a medicine on days when not being alone sounds terrible. Shut up and take it. I’m going on a lunch date today, you can, too.

Exercise.

Right now I’m training for a half marathon – it’s slow going. When you’re body gets depressed it simply can’t perform at the same athletic levels. But it’s essential that you get it moving anyways. If you’re like me and can’t make it the four miles you were running just last week, then step back and just jog for as long as you can and then walk the rest of the way. Or sign up for a class that will help force you into exercising (I hate wasting money). On my worst weeks, showing up to a hip hop class can be an incredibly cleansing experience for me.

Pump up the jams.

Music is healing for us. It just is. But sitting in our feelings with depressing music can also allow us space to ruminate on all of those thoughts that are eating us alive. If you’re musically inclined like me, find your instrument and start playing. It’s a head and heart connection that allows your body space to physically connect to something better. If you’re not so musical, putting on your favorite upbeat jam and making yourself sing to it is a perfect solution. The physical sensation of singing releases tension in our bodies. Points for being as off-key and loud as possible.

 

Happy World Mental Health Day, guys! I hope you these tips help.

One thought on “Five Mental Health Tips for World Mental Health Day

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