depression

Self-Care is Important When You Suffer From Depression

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

I have suffered from depression for over 15 years. Part of the catch-22 of Major Depressive Disorder is feeling a lot of guilt. You may feel guilt over what you think you’re putting family through, guilt that your friends might not want to spend time with someone who is a major buzz kill, and most of all, guilt that there are so many people who seem to have it worse, yet you’re completely miserable.

This guilt, in turn, can just feed into your depression, making you feel worse and worse until you’re in this downward spiral that’s extremely hard to pull yourself out of it. But what can you learn from this experience and guilty feeling? When you are going through a battle in life, such as you are with mental illness, you are what is the most important. You can love yourself when you’re going through depression — and you need to. Be proactive over this, and these little tips may help. They helped me!

 

Talk to a therapist
It’s hard talking to people who don’t understand. By talking to a therapist, you are talking with a professional who knows what she’s doing, and wants to help you. My therapist taught me that my depression was not my fault, but a result of my brain chemistry and genetics. Once I stopped blaming myself, I was able to focus on the things that I needed to do to help myself. Yes, it does take a lot of courage to get yourself there, and a therapist does in a way have to break you down to build you back up, but once you do, you will be much stronger for it.

See a Psychiatrist
This one may be a bit controversial, I get it. But, I would not be who I am today without finding the psychiatrist that finally understood my brain chemistry and found the right medication for me to be on. I do not abuse my medication, and I stick with my prescribed dosage. But, my medication changed an imbalance in my brain that would not have fixed myself otherwise. If you do not abuse it, you are responsible with it, and you go through the right channels, medication can certainly put you on the path to wellness. However, medication isn’t for everyone, and psychiatrists can also give you psychotherapy treatment and in some cases, light therapy, to name a few other options.

Take up a new, creative hobby
A creative hobby that you learn to love can give you something to be proud of, and it slowly can bring you back to who you were before. Find a creative project that does this for you, to give you something to concentrate on so you don’t become your own worst enemy, and you can focus on something other than your depression. When you have a final product, you’ll have something that you’ve created, with no copy, that is impossible to replicate exactly. Find whatever is healing for you — whether it is sewing, adult coloring (a great one), jewelry making, even something like painting or building something from wood.

Do what you love, and have always loved
This can be anything that releases negative energy for you and has always made you happy no matter what — and can be a complete release of sadness, grief, anger, and shame. Maybe you love sports. Maybe you love to write. It can even be as simple as playing with your pet or spending time with your friends. But it is so important to have a reason to get out of bed.

Be kind to yourself
Did you have that extra donut? That’s okay. Were you not able to leave the house today? That’s okay, too. You are going through a fierce war within yourself right now, and it’s alright if you lose the occasional battle. Sometimes, all you will be able to do for the day is just take a shower. Sometimes, just making the effort to text a friend and have a minimum of social contact is a huge win, and you should be proud of yourself for it. Be proud of yourself for accomplishing the small, little things. It’s all of those little things combined that will lead up to those big milestones. By just making a small effort, you are taking a big step towards believing that it will get better. It’s about the small steps that add up to a huge leap.

 

Pain is different for everyone. Yes, there are those less fortunate who have been dealt some terrible cards in life, and you should feel for those people. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t in pain, and it doesn’t make your pain less important. Be kind to yourself, and you will make yourself better to help others.

Sweet Summertime Fun

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Let’s face it: summer weather isn’t for everyone. There are some who live for days at the beach, while there are others who live for central air conditioning. But there are some ways to enjoy the spirit of summer, even on the hottest day.

Summer is the perfect time to relax, experience new things, and make lasting memories. Let’s get to it!

Go for a hike
Looking at all the different shades of colors, waterfalls, cliffs, and maybe even an animal or two, can really have a calming effect. Even listening to the gentle rustling of the leaves, the babbling of the brooks, and the calls of the birds is quite serene. The tall trees provide shade as you move amongst dappled leaves. Hiking is great any time of the year, but summer means longer days and later sunsets. It also means you won’t be shivering! Plus, summer nature truly can be a beauty.

Have a s’mores night
Who doesn’t love a good campfire and s’mores? There is something about the sounds of the crackling bonfire, the sweet smell of toasting marshmallows, and the melting chocolate that makes me relive all of the great times enjoying the night outside with friends, and eating every morsel of that sweet summer dessert.

Go for a drive
Sometimes, there is just nothing like driving to a great beach town with the windows down, blasting music and singing at the top of your lungs. There is something very freeing about having the wind blowing in your hair and feeling that summer breeze, your voices hoarse from singing so loudly. Everyone should have this experience at least once in his or her life.

Explore a city you haven’t seen before
It is rather exciting to step out of your comfort zone and explore an area where you’ve never been. It awakens all of your senses, with the smells, the sights, and the symphony of noises. Each city takes on a completely different feel and energy. Who knows what you’ll meet, or what you’ll experience. Summer is a great time to explore and travel, and you can do it on a budget, too. Be sure to take advantage of different places to eat while you’re there — you never know how different cities do bottomless brunch. It could surprise you!

Stargazing
Warm nights are the perfect time to just lay outside and look up at the sky. Grab a blanket and a pillow, and start making out different images in the stars. It’s a great way to clear your mind as well, and re-focus.

Have a beach day
For those who do prefer the heat of the summer, use one of your vacation days and head to a local beach for the day, even if you make it a solo trip. Grab a book, bring some headphones, whatever you need to help you relax — it’s a perfect way to make time for self-care!

Get some water
If you’re not a beach person but still want to enjoy spending time outside, make the most of your area pools and water parks. Both are fun ways to cool off, either alone or with a group. Local pools won’t break the bank, and many water parks offer season passes and packages.

Plan a gathering
Whether it’s a BBQ in your backyard or a pool party, who doesn’t love a good party during the summer? Bring your group together. Be the organizer — there’s truly no better time to make memories than the summer, even if you do have to wait for the weekend to do it!

How You Can Make Your Parents’ Basement an Apartment

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

As of 2015, about 39.5% of millennials are living with their family. That is a 75-year high. With property values and college loan payments creeping higher and higher, this is not only a last resort, but also a smart choice.

I am one of these millennials who opted for the rent-free option. However, living with your parents does not mean that you can’t have your own space. I turned my parents’ basement into my own haven. It is a place where I can go, relax, have a cup of tea and be at peace. But when I decided to take on turning it into my apartment, I had a lot of work ahead of me.

 

All of the cleaning and sorting
The first thing you need to do is clean out the space. This unfortunately can involve several days of sorting through things, and deciding what to keep, give away or trash. In my experience, this was probably the hardest part of the entire process. But, you will be grateful for a clean slate before making the space your own — at least I was!

Time to decorate
Decide on a color scheme. If you’re a fan of bright and bold colors like I am, go for it. Since I was working with a basement, I wanted to make sure that when people walked in, the colors were light and cheery, and put everyone in a good mood. Of course, for most of us, price is a consideration. Paint is a great way to change the feel of a room, without breaking the bank. Add some block color accents on the walls to help other things, such as artwork, pop. Little things like this can really draw the eye up.

Make it yours
When “living at home,” privacy is obviously a concern. Hang curtains to block off the apartment from the stairwell — this way, parents can still access the basement if needed, but you have a greater sense of privacy. Make sure to add those little things that make a house a home, especially any keepsakes that inspire you. You know, the things that make you smile when you look at them. Hang up lots of pictures of loved ones to remind yourself of the great people in your life.  Indulge your senses with candles, soft blankets, and pillows — plus all are also inexpensive to make!

 

I still smile every time I enter my apartment. Living at home doesn’t have to be a cliché. It can be both economically pleasing and joyful, depending on what you make of it.

Not Your Typical Movie Night

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Be it Disney, Star Wars, horror/Halloween or Harry Potter, themed parties are a great way to break the ice with new friends and celebrate with old, be it young or old. Here are a few ideas on how to get a themed movie night or party going.

Pick a theme
So, this is the fun part. There are so many different ways you can throw a movie night, and it all has to do with what you love! I have thrown a bunch of different themed movie nights including horror-themed and Disney Princess-themed. Both of these were so much fun to plan and host because I love both of those genres, and it was a blast to explore a bit and come up with my own ideas.

However, make sure that you know plenty of people who will be interested in attending. When I threw the horror movie night, I was in high school and it was right around Halloween, so I knew plenty of people who were eager to be scared. If you want to throw a Halloween movie night of your own, our list of Halloween movies from decades past is a great place to start.

Also, don’t worry about what’s necessarily appropriate for our millennial age group. This is your night to have fun, guilt-free, so you can have a Disney Princess party in your thirties. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Pinterest it
Okay, okay, so I know this sounds a little cliché, but Pinterest really does have some great party ideas! For my Disney Princess movie night,  I simply went to Pinterest and within minutes I had ideas on what to cook and how to decorate. I ended up making “Grey Stuff” from Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel braided bread, Minnie’s bow tie pasta salad, Cinderella’s carriage veggie dip and princess cupcakes. All of these were ideas that I got from Pinterest — but depending on your theme, you could include some of our college favorite recipes too.

Also, don’t let yourself get too stressed out. Have fun with it! The night before this party I got a little overwhelmed with all of the cooking I had to do, and it just made me make mistakes and have to cook things over. Just stay calm and have a blast. I promise you no one will mind if you end up having to order pizza.

P.S.: the dollar store makes these themes inexpensive. Books found at Goodwill can be awesome center pieces. I found a porcelain apple that I filled with Hershey kisses and said it was true love’s kiss. Be creative and have fun!

Get input on what movies to watch from your friends
So, when deciding exactly what movies to watch, I always take votes from my friends. With the Disney movie night, we decided that nobody wanted to watch Princess and the Frog. You can get a few more ideas from our lists of favorite sports movies, classics from before we were born and romantic comedies. If it’s holiday time, turn on one of these classic comedies and whip up some of these holiday cookies — but see if your friends have any favorites, too.

Also, be realistic. Unless it is a sleepover, chances are you will only be able to watch about three movies. I started my party around two in the afternoon, and it went until midnight. However, everyone kept getting distracted, so how many total movies did we watch? Four. Go with the flow and let everyone enjoy their time. If everyone wants to wear pajamas, have a pajama party.

A good movie night is not about how much you spend, but how much fun you have and the memories you make. Make sure to take pictures so you can look back and remember what a great night it was. Enjoy yourself, and maybe let your friends help you a little.

Pets

Worried About Pet Care? Here’s How to Balance Your Pets, Job, and Life

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

When I  just graduated from college, I made the decision to get a cat. I am a natural animal lover and thought a cat would make a great companion in my postgrad apartment. I decided I wanted to get a black cat because I read that a great deal of black cats are bought and then abandoned around Halloween, and I wanted to give one a good home.

I decided to look at shelters and adopt. I met one and fell in love with him, and I named him Binx. He ended up rescuing me. I love him with all my heart, and I would do anything to ensure him a happy life.

It’s very easy to fall in love with a pet quickly — they become so a part of our little families — but keep in mind that getting a pet is a big decision. We want to make sure that our furry friends have what they need — in spite of your schedule. Here are some tips to do just that.

Research the breed, species, and number of pets
Before you purchase or adopt a pet, research the specific type of animal you are considering getting. You should know the demands of your specific animal type. If you get a dog, you should know the specific breed. If you get a sporting dog, you are going to have to be prepared for a high energy dog that is going to need to exercise quite a bit. Get ready for lots of hikes, runs and swims.

If you get a dog as a puppy, make sure you know how big they will be at full size. You don’t want to have a Great Dane in a tiny apartment. If you get a bird, research its diet. A budgie needs lots of fruits and veggies, but make sure you know which ones can be harmful! To give your pet a long life, you have to know what they need.

Know which type of animal works best with your schedule
The reason I decided to get a cat and not a dog was simple: I did not have the time to put in the responsibility having a dog entails. I was living by myself, worked an accounting job and went to school.

With a cat, you do not have to be home every hour to take it outside to use the facilities. You can leave a cat alone for the night and as long as there is enough food and water — it is not a big deal. A dog cannot be on his or her own for more than a couple hours. While I am a dog lover, I would not have been able to give it the proper care.

Do what is best for your animal, not what is best for you
The hardest thing about owning a pet is learning to separate what is best for you from what is best for your animal. For example, if your cat is scratching up your furniture, is it best to declaw? My answer would be no.

While in the past declawing has always been an acceptable form of corrective therapy, what many cat owners are unaware of is that declawing is not simply the removal of the nail. It is actually the complete amputation of the joint. In humans, it would be like the removal of the entire finger to the third knuckle. The moral of the story? Always do your research before you make a decision regarding your pet.

Know your pet!
If you love your pet, you really can’t go wrong. Pay attention to what makes your pet happy. Each animal is different.

 

Make sure you take your animal to the vet for their routine checks. Also, don’t forget that it is just not the initial expense. After investing in an animal, there are other expenditures that you will routinely have to accommodate for, i.e vet bills, food, etc. — and incorporate that into your budget.

We love our animals. They give us unconditional love, a friend and a sense of responsibility. Make sure you can give them what they need in return.