You might think: ‘What’s the point! How can these simple and ordinary actions possibly help me to escape the dark and thick cloud of depression?’
Each of these ideas individually is unlikely to cure your depression. However, they are capable to give you the momentum to try something else, reminding you each and every time that life should and can be vibrant, exciting, rewarding and very enjoyable.
Even if you don’t feel like doing anything right now, just by choosing to do what you can when you can, might eventually lead you to a tipping point out of this miserable existence.
So, here are my ideas for this September (apology to all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere if they don’t apply).
- Thoroughly clean your windows. Even if you have them regularly cleaned by someone else, do them yourself at least from the inside out. If you have too many windows to do, spread the job over a few days. Apart from gaining more light during the dreary autumn (so vital when you are depressed!), it can be very therapeutic. Do it slowly and think along the lines: ‘By cleaning these windows, I am letting clarity back into my life’.
- Catch the sunshine while you can. Literally rush out when the sun is out and spend time bathing in the sunlight (do it responsibly: avoid direct exposure for longer than 10-15 minutes without sunscreen if it’s really hot and you burn easily)! You need the sunshine and its ultraviolet (UV) light to trigger vitamin D production in your skin. Do you know that during the winter, if you live at latitudes above 52 degrees north (that’s from Birmingham north for UK), your body cannot synthesise vitamin D from UV light it receives?
- Get into habit of opening the windows and airing your rooms for 20 minutes or more twice a day depending on the climate you live in. You need lots of fresh air! This is even more important if you stay mostly at home and having a walk is still a massive challenge.
- Connect with a bigger perspective! Take up stargazing and refresh your skills of astronomy or learn to identify some major constellations. Just seeing the moon every night is can be inspiring!
- Assess your home for ‘clutter comfort’ level. Do you have too much stuff around? Does it overwhelm you? As we’re preparing for the cold months ahead and abandoning our garden space till springtime, it is very important to streamline your personal space and make it comfortable for you.
- Donate the good stuff you cleared out to your local charity, home shelter or any other good cause. It could keep someone warm next winter or end up being someone’s Christmas gift.
- Drink apple juice. According to the research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) apple juice increases the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which improves your memory.
- Dust off or acquire a slow cooker (crock pot) and put together your favourite recipes. You might even consider creating your autumn weekly meal plan. Use the Internet, library or your own books for inspiration.
- Join an evening class or a course. Pick up courage and commit to being more social and outgoing by enrolling. It is a great way to build social skills and connections in a safe learning environment. It is also a needed respite from your inward thinking.
- Consider getting a pet. What kind of pet can you have right now? Do a thorough research; calculate all the costs. Give yourself enough ‘cool down’ time, so that you don’t make your decisions on impulse. Make sure that you are ready (physically, mentally, emotionally) to take good care of another living being. If you already have a pet or cannot have one just yet, would you like to volunteer for a pet charity? Can you foster?
- Plan your next summer and create a vision board of it using pictures, images, words and symbols. What did you want to do this year but did not end up doing? What were the reasons for not doing it: health, finances, confidence, fear etc.? What can you do to avoid the same trap next year?
- Review your finances and spending. Poorly managed finances can add to your feelings of worry, despair, hopelessness and inadequacy. Remember that it’s not how much money you are getting in, it’s whether you are spending it within your limits. It is also knowing where exactly your money is going? Most of our expenses are necessity, but the remaining ones are our choice.
- Consider new hobbies to take on during autumn. Also, consider what used to bring you joy and excitement and now collects dust. Pull it out, set it aside and see whether you want to have a go or release it from your life and try something new instead.
- Acquire a couple of houseplants you enjoy looking at. Commit to water them as required. Throw away sad and wilted houseplants you own.
- Learn and be open to give and receive hugs. We are wired to be close to each other, wired to love and connect. Did you know that hugs produce oxytocin, a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and makes you feel content, calm and less anxious?
What are your ideas and suggestions? Please help me to build this list further! I am looking forward to your comments.
Stay strong, remain hopeful and seek inspiration!
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