It’s Mental Health Week in Canada. With isolation at an all-time high, a lot of people are suffering. There is help if you need it.
Some therapists are offering appointments by teleconferencing. If you’re in Toronto and you need someone to talk to, you can find a psychotherapist here and here. Additional mental health and addiction support can be found here.
When I find myself struggling emotionally, there are five steps I take that always make me feel better. Try one today and see if it helps.
Listen, you don’t need me to explain the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Not wanting to exercise, or not being able to, is itself a symptom of depression. And I’m not in the business of shaming people for not living their best life during a global pandemic. The last thing you need right now is more guilt and shame.
But, if it’s feasible, daily movement can help boost your mood. My friend and brilliant writer, Sarah Kurchak, wrote this article about how to exercise when you’re depressed. I think it’s more relevant now than ever.
I’ve been doing Yoga With Adriene on YouTube every day. She has several routines that are under 10 minutes, for those days where you want to do something but you. just. can’t.
2) Find A Project
When I’m feeling sad or anxious, I like to find a project. Not only does it provide a much-needed distraction, but just the act of making progress fuels the fundamental human need to have purpose. Completion also brings a sense of elation. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with reading the last page of a book, finishing a course, or pushing through the last 60 seconds of your HIIT workout.
What kind of project should you start? It could be writing or learning a song, painting or drawing a picture, or cooking a meal from scratch. It could mean working on your yoga practice and finally perfecting that headstand.
I’ve been decorating my home and learning Spanish. Mi español no es muy bueno, but I’m committed to my daily lessons and I’m getting a little better each day.
Hey, even this blog is an ongoing project.
Researchers have found a connection between cluttered homes and depression. With the recent popularity of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, minimalism is the new black. With all this added time at home, now is the perfect opportunity to tackle reorganization.
I can vouch that donating clothes and books is a good feeling. If you’re in Parkdale like me, you can just leave your stuff on the sidewalk and someone will take it within the hour. It doesn’t even matter what it is!
4) Help Others
This one’s my favourite. It works every time without fail. When I’m down, helping someone else always makes me feel better.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but studies show that it can when you spend that money on someone else. Make a charitable donation, buy a gift card for a friend, or support a small business by getting tonight’s dinner directly from a local restaurant.
Donate blood. Research volunteering opportunities in your neighbourhood. Join a local caremongering group and peruse their requests. You might have just what they need.
5) Ask For Help
This one’s the most important. If you’re struggling, please seek help. Phone a friend. Find a healthcare professional to talk to. Post on Facebook.
When I’m feeling sad, I ask my friends to send cat memes. I ask them to tell me about something good that happened to them recently. There’s a lot of beauty in this world if you’re open to finding it.
Is any of this a cure for depression? No. But each step makes me smile, if only for a brief moment, and sometimes that’s enough.
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