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.

How to Take Care of Yourself, When You Feel Like You Don’t Deserve to

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

There’s no doubt about it, millennials — self-care is important.

We all live busy lives. From our full-time jobs to our side hustles to friendships and dating and relationships and just the everyday business of being an adult… it’s difficult to make time for ourselves. We’re on call a lot — for our jobs, for our friends, for our families. Even when it seems as though you just might get to take time for yourself, your “you time” that you so cleverly scheduled out gets pushed to the side in favor of something that is just more urgent.

But what happens when you can’t get out of your head? You know you need a break and you just can’t allow yourself the opportunity… why? Why does this happen?

You’re afraid something bad is going to happen
For those who are highly sensitive or experience anxiety, it’s the norm to feel as though the sky is falling on a semi-constant basis, and to feel as though you’re the only one who can stop it from falling. Everything seems to be a crisis. You’re scared to unplug, because if you unplug, that could be the moment when everything falls down. And what if you’re blamed for it?

You compare yourself to others
“So-and-so works more hours than I do and he/she doesn’t ever get a break. What a wuss I am that I feel like I need a break.”

“So-and-so takes care of this and that outside of work. Who am I to feel overwhelmed?” 

Does this sound like you? Thought so. Everyone’s threshold for stress is different, depending on life circumstances past and present. If you need a break, you’re allowed to need it in spite of the fact that your mother/father/significant other/brother/sister/best friend isn’t getting one anytime soon.

You lack time management skills
Part of taking a break is knowing when you can take one. Sometimes it’s just not possible, and sometimes that urgent work call will come and you just can’t ignore it. But if you plan for your break, you’ll be able to give those who depend on you fair warning. And especially if you’re one of those “sky is falling” types, you’ll feel better and enjoy the time away even more knowing that someone else has your back.

So, how can you take a break, even when you feel like you just can’t/don’t/won’t (but desperately need one)?

Book a vacation
We have PTO for a reason, millennials. Get away. Change your scenery. Go somewhere you’ve never visited before, or head back to an old standby where you know you’ll feel at home — even though you’re away from home. It’s important to get away from the real world sometimes, and to go somewhere you can just relax or explore — whichever makes you happiest.

Unplug
Yes, you’re allowed to do this! Unless you’re in very specified professions or in the middle of an important project, you can put that phone away at 10 p.m. It will do you a world of good to just turn it off. As much as in today’s day and age it may feel like it, you don’t need to be plugged in 24/7. Whatever you miss, it probably won’t be that important that it can’t wait a little bit.

Go for a ride
Don’t have anywhere specific in mind. Just get behind the wheel, and go. Even if it’s just for a short while, sometimes, there’s no sanctuary quite like the car. You’re on your own, you can take those turns at slightly faster paces than you would normally, and basically — you’re in control of your destiny when you’re just not going anywhere. Not to mention those solo car concerts you can have are often the most fun.

Remind yourself it’s okay… or, have a trusted friend or family member remind you
Even if you have to write it out 100 times. Even if you just need to go to someone you trust to have that person remind you that it’s okay. Even if you have to distract yourself from the thoughts that tell you that it’s not okay. Even if you need to talk it out with someone for an extended period of time.

And remind yourself that…
… there is no reason to feel as though you’re either indispensable, or that you can’t possibly take a break because it wouldn’t be fair to so-and-so who is more overwhelmed than you are. Your need for self-care is your own, and no one else’s. It’s not dictated by your family, friends, colleagues, or even those people you don’t particularly care for. Your need is real, and you deserve to take care of yourself.

Self-Care

Millennials, Remember Self-Care

Adulting, Author: Kerrin Frappier, Author: Kristin Frappier, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Author: Michelle Ioannou

We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about self-care. I’ve seen it discussed by the likes of The Huffington Post as well as our friends at GenTwenty (which devotes an entire, highly informative section to it).

Why? Well, some would say it directly correlates with our recent Presidential election. Additionally, with greater awareness of mental illnesses, more voices are recognizing the importance of self-care.

All of that said, we couldn’t ignore the need for us to discuss self-care any longer. Here are some of the tried and true methods that work for us.


Growing up in a household where two out of the four people are confined to wheelchairs, you tend to learn quickly to put others before yourself. I am the first to admit I’m not good at self-care, and I do tend to not make time for it like I should. How did I figure out a way to change this, though? I try and take a couple vacations a year. That’s right, I need to get away from everything and be in my happy place — on the beach, with no wifi, with no care in the world. This is how I rejuvenate myself, finally am able to relax, and come back to real life with a fresh new perspective.

Now I know that this is not feasible for everyone. But what’s your happy place? Is it simply laying in bed with a good book? Eating a bowl of ice cream while watching your guilty pleasure? Going for a walk and getting fresh air? Figure out what activity makes you happy — preferably one that gets you away from real life for a while — and go for it.  – Michelle


I’ll admit — I’m not particularly good at self-care, and as a Highly Sensitive Person, I truly shouldn’t avoid it as much as I do. But when I do make time for it (or when I have no choice but to make time for it — part of the HSP life is emotional and sensory overload) I have a few favorite activities that help me get out of my own head. Of course, writing — for #NAMB and just for my eyes only — is my first, somewhat obvious, go-to activity. I also have a somewhat secret passion for crafting (ironic because I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler), especially collaging, scrapbooking, anything that has to do with photos and making homemade greeting cards. Photos are good reminders of just how many people in my life are always there to support me. – Mary Grace

self-care.jpg

First thing’s first: A regular sleep schedule. You laugh! But sleep is our most vital pastime! It helps us to organize our thoughts and keeps us feeling well. Haven’t you noticed how grumpy and sometimes irrational and sick you feel when you are low on sleep and coffee? Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help make you feel more productive and make the most of your nights and days. So, limit your caffeine intake after dinner, try not to snack too late, shut your phone off at least an hour before bedtime and get some shut eye.

Pamper yourself! I am the queen of showers! I love feeling fresh and clean but I also love being warm and having a place that is quiet and relaxing to collect my thoughts. I seem to come up with the best ideas in the shower! Take 20 minutes to yourself to paint your nails, do your makeup, take a bath, dress up to the nines, cook yourself a favorite meal (one that reminds you of college, or even a Thanksgiving favorite) or an indulgent treat (holiday throwbacks are perfectly acceptable)…whatever makes you feel good about yourself! – Kerrin


Let go of the drama! As painful as any separation might be, toxic people have no place in your life! You do not need someone who lies, puts you down or uses you. Life is too short and we millennials are busy enough without the added stress of people who treat us poorly.

Have a hobby. We all need our (healthy) outlets! When we are working hard to achieve our dreams it is important to remember to do the things we enjoy! Whether it’s hiking or heaving heavy stuff at the gym, reading a book or both mine and Kerrin’s favorite hobby — writing. You can journal about your day, wax poetic, write creepy stories about the patients you took care of (as Kerrin did). You can play an instrument, or listen to boy bands (also Kerrin) or volunteer to better yourself and your community. – Kristin