Want to Feel Better? 12 Things to Do While You Are Waiting

Posted by Dianne on Apr 9, 2014 in Blog | Tags:, , | No comment

I wrote this a number of years ago during a struggle with anxiety and depression. Occasionally someone asks to see it and reminds me that there may be others going through struggles of their own. Here are 12 things that helped me feel better when I needed it.

1.      It is easier to get out of bed if I have clothes ready to wear. I have a favorite year-round outfit that I try to keep ready to wear at all times.  If I wake up feeling like I don’t want to get out of bed let alone go to work, knowing I have something ready to wear keeps me from pulling the covers over my head.

 2.      Flowers make me feel better. I can sometimes find an African violet for a few dollars or a mixed bouquet for five. Then I’m doubly cheered by the flowers and the bargain! My favorite is the Amaryllis kit available at Christmas time. The dramatic shape and color brightens dreary winter days.

 3.      Writing down my thought calms my racing mind. Sometimes my brain starts ruminating over old worries. Sometimes new fears stir up anxiety. If I pour it all out onto paper, I can relax.  I keep a spiral notebook on my bedside table.  If I wake up anxious, 20 minutes of writing puts me in a much better frame of mind.

 4.      Darn it! Exercise does work! I resisted it for years. But when I finally tried getting at least three aerobic workouts a week, I found that I felt much better, even in the winter. 

 5.      Making something beautiful pays tremendous dividends for me. I don’t make crafts regularly, just when I’m on vacation or I need a lift.  When I make a piece of jewelry or a floral arrangement, I enjoy the process as well as the product. I feel creative and satisfied. And I enjoy those feelings all over again whenever I look at my creation.

 6.      I’ve learned how to find a laugh. Laughs are waiting in the cartoons in New Yorker magazines, and in the Reader’s Digest fillers. I can find them in old movies. A few of my favorites are “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “What’s up, Doc?” and “Breaking Away.” I keep a humorous CD in the car for those times when the news on the radio is just too grim.

7.      Getting a massage is a sure-fire, makes-me-feel-better-every-time plan. Massage is one of those special things that release endorphins, your body’s natural antidepressants. After a massage I feel relaxed, pampered, and rested in mind and body.

 8.      A green spot can beat the blues. There is a great little wooded spot that makes me feel wonderful as soon as I step into it. It feels cool and the sun shines through the leafy canopy.  Sometimes a doe is relaxing there, and we sit quietly enjoying the peace.  When I can’t get there in person, I close my eyes and imagine it. I feel the peace again.

 9.      Phoning a friend can take my mind off myself.  Everyone likes to catch up with a friend now and then.  This especially counteracts the blues that come with feelings of loneliness. 

 10.Prayer can work wonders.  Turning to the Friend who is always there can lighten any burden. Quietly repeating a short prayer helps me to relax. I may not feel an instant answer to my prayers, but eventually comfort comes. 

 Here is one of my favorites:

Teach me to trust in prayer, Oh God, when the pressures of life

seem too great to bear and raise me by thy grace above dark

moods and discouragement. (Rev. Harold Blake Walker)

11.I can take a sick day.  For a long time I felt that I couldn’t call in sick when my depression was acting up.  “I can’t call in and say, ‘I’m feeling overwhelmed with sadness.’” I told a therapist at one visit. “You don’t have to give specific symptoms,” she said.  “You can truthfully say, ‘I’m not feeling well today.’”    

 12. This, too, shall pass. When faced with another bout of major depression, I start worrying. I know I have always weathered these episodes in the past.  I know that eventually the depression goes away and I feel happy again.  But still, I start to think that this time it’s different.  This time the depression will just go on and on. That’s when I have to remind myself that I will get better. Then I go to the top of this list and try any or all of the coping strategies I have learned.

What do you do when you want to feel better?

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