I recently ended up in a crappy situation and had to scrape myself off rock bottom – possibly the rockiest bottom of depression I have ever encountered. I couldn’t stay like that, literally couldn’t live like that, so I deliberately and thoughtfully found a way to pull myself back up. The beautiful thing was that I did it, and it was hard but also not really that hard. It showed me that even in the crappiest of situations it’s possible to find your strength – even more than you knew was there – and draw on it. It’s possible to let the light back in.
I’ve been thinking about how to do that and there are some strategies that usually work for me, so I thought I’d share them with you (and with myself for the next time I need them, because there’s sure to be a next time).
Here are 11 ways to let the light back in.
1. Listen to podcasts that make you think. I like This American Life, Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and (when it returns) Invisibilia. Two feel-good podcasts are Dear Sugar and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
2. Read the Brave Girls’ Club.
3. Read stories from people who have experienced the same thing you’re struggling with. It will make you feel less alone.
4. Exercise. Just do it!
5. Find something that’s happening in your community that sounds interesting and go to it. Getting out is hard, but helpful.
6. Put your phone down and pick something else up – a book, a craft, anything.
7. Related: turn off notifications for Facebook and whatever else sucks you in and allows you to be passive. Don’t wait for other people to post something interesting/inspiring/funny. Passive procrastination is a huge mood killer.
8. Go for a walk and deliberately look. Take pictures of things that make you pause.
9. Eat ice cream. Or whatever you like to treat yourself with, but use it as a treat. Don’t make it a habit, or it will contribute to your crappy feelings.
10. Colour. Yes, with crayons (or, my preference, pencil crayons).
11. Make your bed. Truly, it helps.
What strategies have you found that help you let the light in?