Battling the Blues

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Your brain is a muscle, and just like any other muscle it needs exercise. Exercise of the mind is one of the most necessary but overlooked routines that everyone can benefit from implementing, mentally healthy or unhealthy alike.

One of the easiest ways to allow your mind to turn to mush is by leaving it be, and in turn not allowing yourself and your mental health to reach its full potential. Often times when we feel a little blue, it's hard not to fall into a pattern of apathy and just allow ourselves to stay stuck in a rut. Those are the times that we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and into adventure!

Personally, I am not currently taking any medication but instead choosing other paths to help alleviate my symptoms. However, different people respond to different things and what may work for me may not be the right recipe for you. It's always important to learn more and discuss with a professional as well.  Keep reading for some tips and tricks that I've found to be helpful during my ongoing battle with depression, which I've decided to share publicly in hopes that they'll help you too.

  1. Increase Social Contact and Support: When you are feeling down in the dumps, you may not want to interact with the outside world at all, let alone venture into it. This is the time you will need to push yourself to do just that! Make plans with friends, get support from talk therapy, and get yourself out of that bedroom filled with bad vibes. You may not love the idea of it, but once you're out and about with a game plan in hand, you'll be glad you made the move.
  2. Make Time for The Good: Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the reasons you have to beat the blues. Reach out to influences that have already proven to have a positive impact on your energy in the past, and plan to keep those vibes intact for as long as possible. Pick up and keep hobbies that bring you happiness. Practice mindfulness meditation, or even just volunteer your time to those less fortunate than you are to remind yourself of all that you have to appreciate. On the other end of the spectrum: if you have any negative relationships or outside causes for anxiety or discomfort, be sure to distance yourself from those influences.
  3. Think Realistically: Replaying bitter and negative thoughts is not only harmful to your mental health, but a trademark of depression. Making conscious changes to stop these habits can take time, but will also make a major difference. Writing down any consistent negative thoughts and then countering them with a true dose of reality is a helpful way to associate more positive ideologies with these typically negative thoughts. Through this habit, you can slowly condition yourself to turn any negative or irrational thought into a more positive or realistic one.
  4. Love Yourself First: Though it should be the most intuitive action item on this list, it is sadly the most disregarded in practice. You can add this practice to your daily gratitude journal as well! Make a list of 5-10 of your favorite traits and say them aloud to yourself, especially during times that you may catch yourself bringing your own vibe down. Learn to allow love in this way as well, by accepting compliments from others and allowing them to ring as true - without any question. And of course, spend time with yourself! Especially in this day and age, so many people find this tough to do. Being able to truly enjoy your own company, whether in private or public, is a great feat that will only make the everyday more enjoyable for you.
  5. Plan Ahead: All of the negative aspects of depression can weigh heavily on your daily life and make it difficult to push yourself forward. Be sure to prioritize, plan and keep a routine to stabilize your mental health as best as you can. Maintaining a routine not only allows peace of mind to be an obtainable achievement, but a consistent one.

And to bring this post to a close, I'd love to share a tidbit from Connor Franta's Note to Self:
Never forget, even when you think differently: I love you, and so do so many others. This page is here for you whenever you need a reminder, but so are so many people in your life who care about you. A friend, a sibling, a parent, a teacher, a therapist, a counselor. You have options galore, even if you can't see them clearly in this moment. You're okay. You will be okay. Breathe deeply one more time. Now get up and get out into the world. It misses you.

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know has thoughts of death or suicide, call toll-free (800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255) or 9-1-1 immediately. Or contact a medical professional, clergy member, loved one, friend, or hospital emergency room.
**For further advice regarding Mental Health, please look here on BetterHelp.

'til next time, my loves...
Photographed by Kerstyn Inouye (*edited by me)

Top + Pants—Forever XXI
Old Skool Sneaks—Vans
Earrings—small shop off Larchmont

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