DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor nor a licensed mental health professional. The content and advice posted here is based solely on personal experience and should not be used or interpreted as medical/professional advice. If you are currently in mental distress, please call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK.
October is Depression Awareness month. Let’s reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Self Care is one of the most important practices I have ever implemented. (Tweet it!) I have tried to be open about my struggles with depression/anxiety to hopefully help others out there experiencing similar things to feel a little less alone. And as I have cultivated my self care practice (and I do have to practice at it!), I thought it might be helpful to share the tools I use before, during, and after a depressive or anxious episode.
It’s just three steps that can be used over and over again.
Here they are:
1. Make a list of all of the activities that make you feel happy/relaxed
2. Write down your favorite compliments you have received
3. Identify your triggers to better avoid them
Of course you can always update or alter your lists, but it is good to have these all down in one place. That way if you are having a bad day, you can pick one activity to do, one compliment to savor, or you can gently remind yourself to avoid a certain trigger. It’s also a good habit to develop a compassionate inner voice to guide you every day.
Before you object, I know this might all seem silly. I know it might be hard to list ten things. I know it is hard to think of good things when you are feeling down. But I challenge you to push yourself a little bit to fill out all of the steps. Or let the questions simmer in your mind and answers will come to you.
My list includes things like taking hot baths, buying fresh flowers, going for a walk, and avoiding loud or crowded places. They can be simple rituals, or reminders to reach out to friends. Whatever works for you, just keep any harmful or critical practices off the list please (i.e. no binge drinking/drunk dialing/online shopping/etc.)
If you feel comfortable, leave a comment below with your favorite self care practices!