Today I found myself thinking a lot about mental health. It being #BellLetsTalk day, an initiative to get people talking about the stigma surrounding mental health issues, there’s no surprise there. I wouldn’t say I currently suffer from depression or anxiety, but have in the past, and know a lot of people that do, so I’m in the mood to write a little something about it. Like many Canadians, I feel the “winter blues” or seasonal depression. When I was younger it was debilitating, paralyzing almost at times, the pure exhaustion of it and the constant feelings of sadness were a lot to handle. I am not a doctor by any means and, of course, recognize that more severe mental health issues require more attention. But I have found a few ways to cope with my personal struggle, however minute in comparison to what some feel, and I think it is worth sharing what helps me most.
Contrary to my other posts, the only recipe here is one for feeling a little better when your feeling blue. These are five small things I find help keep my spirits up.
- Vitamin D Drops – an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but in my experience, these little drops help keep my spirits up during those dark, cold winter months. I start taking them in the fall as the days get shorter and find I’m not in as much of a state of doom and gloom by Christmas.
- Say hi to Mr. Sunshine – Miss Sunshine? Mrs? Anyhow, when you leave for work in the dark, and come back in the dark, it’s not exactly uplifting. Making yourself take a break to pop outside at lunch or whenever it’s warm enough to allow even just your face to see the sun, always does the body good.
- Hit the gym – I am not going to claim that I have tried working out my blues away any time recently, cause nobody who knows me will believe that. However, word on the street is physical activity does help, and in my experience, it did make a difference. It doesn’t need to be much; a walk, some stretches, taking the stairs, whatever you can muster the energy for.
- Eat your greens – Seems to be the answer to everything doesn’t it. Especially leafy, extra green ones like broccoli and spinach which are high in folic acid, deficiencies of which can be linked to depression and fatigue. Other good sources of happy-inducing goodness (I know, pretty scientific, try to keep up) are fatty fish, chicken and other lean proteins, whole grains and active-culture foods such as yogurt. So eat up!
- Do something that makes you feel good – And that you are good at. For me, today, that was baking and blogging as I am doing right now. Disclaimer, not sure if I was actually good at baking, I was too much in my own head to properly follow the recipe and almost doubled the flour resulting in an odd scramble to fix them. But that’s besides the point.
Most important of all – reach out to someone if you need help, guidance, or just someone to listen. You’re not alone. Let’s talk.