So I’ve been going over some of my recent posts in the “My Diary” page of my blog, and it’s really depressing and full of hopelessness. That’s why I’ve decided to share a few tips that have helped me manage my anxiety and depression. Keep in mind, these might not work for everyone, but if one of these helps you, that’s great.
- White noise while sleeping: This might sound a little weird, but it really has helped me have a good night’s sleep. There are plenty of white noise channels on YouTube, and you might find something you like there. If you’re like me, however, and your phone doesn’t shut off when it’s on YouTube, it might be worth investing in a clip of white noise on iTunes. That’s what I did, and I just have it playing on a loop while I sleep.
- Buddhify: This actually isn’t my idea. It’s an app full of meditations of varying lengths that my therapist uses to start each of our sessions. I’m not actually one for guided meditations, but I’ve found that it really does help lower my stress level.
- To-Do Lists: I like this because every time I cross something off it, it feels like a bit of an accomplishment. That’s important for me because part of my depression has involved me feeling like a failure, and I think it’s helpful for me to see everything that I’ve succeeded at doing, even if it’s something small.
- Documenting negative vs. positive interactions: This is something I’m not doing right now, but that I plan on trying and that has helped people I know. The theory behind it is that as a depressed person, you tend to focus on negative interactions in your life and ignore the positive ones. However, if you keep a journal and document each positive and negative interaction, by the end of the day, you’ll be able to see that you really have more positive interactions than negative ones.
- Complement yourself daily: This is something I have a lot of trouble with, mostly because my self-esteem isn’t great right now. On the other hand, that’s why it’s especially important for me to remember that I’m as deserving of my love as anyone else in my life (I actually modified this exercise a little; it used to be a way for me to become more compassionate towards other people. Basically, I would find strangers on the bus and silently think of five nice things to say about them, which is another good exercise).
- Keep some water around: This is actually more as an intervention for panic attacks. I’ve been suffering from these for a while, and drinking water is one of the quickest ways for me to regulate my breathing and calm down.
- Keep some almonds around: This doesn’t directly combat anxiety and depression, but I think it’s important anyways. When I’m having an especially bad day, I tend to gravitate towards comfort foods; in my case, that means chocolate. Obviously that’s not the healthiest thing to always eat, so I try to keep some almonds around to munch on that instead.
- Exercise: I know it’s cliche, but it’s an important one. It can be really difficult to find motivation to exercise, but even doing a few squats or jumping jacks a day can help get your stress levels down.
- Going above and beyond: When I’m doing things like working out or even reading a book, I like to set goals for myself (like doing 30 squats or reading 5 chapters). Then, once I’ve reached that goal, I always try to tell myself to go a little bit above (do another 10 squats or read another 2 chapters). The sense of accomplishment that comes from going above really helps me feel a little bit better about myself, my abilities, and my motivation.
- Not being afraid to ask for help: To people not suffering from depression or anxiety, this might feel a bit like a no-brainer, but I know from experience how hard it is to admit that you need help dealing with your affliction. However, it is important, and a big step in getting better comes from not being ashamed of having a problem and needing help to get better. Despite the stigma around mental health issues, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and everything else are nothing to be ashamed of, but they are deadly diseases that need treatment. So please, if you are dealing with something, find the courage to ask for help.
I hope some of these help, and if you have some other tips I’d love to hear about them!