Recently, I’ve been having a hard time, and last week was probably the worst it’s been. Although some people, myself included, might think, “Aw, she must have been PMS-ing,” this has been going on for about a month now, so while I do get more down depending on my menstrual cycle, I could tell this was something different. It was a bout of depression – and something that everybody goes through at various times in their lives. For me, it was a mix of things changing, things not changing, being around negative energy, not having time to myself, seasonal changes affecting the weather and amount of daylight, and so many other different things. I was overwhelmed, I was underwhelmed, I felt lonely, I wanted to be alone, I was essentially a mess – at a very low dip in my rollercoaster of a life. It was to the point I would cry alone in the bathroom or feel the urge to suddenly cry at random moments.
But I had to keep reminding myself, everybody goes through this at one point or another. I remember something I learned back in college that really stuck with me: people like to think that no one can understand them. They like to think that they’re special and that their feelings are special, and no one ever felt what they felt, that no one ever went through the hardships that they’ve gone through. But this is not true. There are billions of people on this earth, and everyone goes through the same feelings at one point or another. I don’t mean to shut down people or belittle their feelings, but this is a friendly slap in the face in the hopes to put new perspective on your troubles when you find yourself alone in a dark pit. It’s hard to remember that you’re not alone, but it helps to do so. Because I am aware that other people are going through the same things I am, I wanted to share how I finally got over this funk this past weekend, the weekend following one of the most miserable weeks this year. While these are not permanent fixes to specific problems, this will keep you from the verge of succumbing to them.
The most important thing is: you have to treat yourself right. You can’t expect other people to treat you as well as you want to be treated, and when you’re feeling down, your self-care goes to the dumps. You don’t have the energy, the heart, the spirit, the desire to pamper yourself because you wonder why bother? Life sucks. But this is the worst thing to do. It’s the hardest thing to pull yourself together long enough to stop dragging your feet and make yourself feel human again, but it has to be done. I’m going to share my process with you, my process of how I feel a bit more like myself again. Feel free to change up the order or skip a few things because this isn’t exact science, but either way, I’m going to share my story, and maybe it will inspire you to find what works for you.
The first thing I did was on Friday. The whole week, I’d been pretty down, but had not wanted to share it with anybody. I didn’t want to share my woes with my family because I didn’t want to trouble them and I didn’t think they could help. I didn’t want to share them with my friends because they were going through their own problems or they were happy from good things happening in their lives. I didn’t want to burden my friends who were already having a hard time and I didn’t want to put a damper on my other friends’ joys. I had been growing closer to a co-worker, and he kept me company throughout the week. I could chat with him at work and, off hours, I could play WordFeud with him, share funny Snapchats, and more. He was a fun and comforting presence (guys, nothing romantic here, just telling you now). We opened up to each other on Friday, and I was surprised to find out that he had been going through a terrible week, as well. It felt like a big load had fallen off my shoulders because I had finally found someone I could talk to about how I was feeling. I didn’t feel alone anymore. And we went from good acquaintances to good friends through that one step up of opening up alone. Shout out to Eddie, thanks ma man! And I think the key thing here could be to talk to someone new about your problems. I had another friend I talked to about this, but to her, these were just recurring problems, so she had nothing new to offer and I just felt bad for complaining about the same thing to her. So I think it helped I talked to someone new about my feelings.
The saddest thing is when you feel like you can’t open up about your depression with someone. In that case, you could write a diary entry. I did that today, actually, and it’s a Sunday, but again, the process doesn’t have to be a specific order. You can’t always write about the good things that happen in your life. I noticed I would always turn to my diary faster when I had all these good things I wanted to spill so I could remember the happy moments forever. You also have to get down and dirty and write about the bad things that happened, the bad thoughts you had. Once you put those thoughts down on paper, keep it there. It would help that you unloaded that burden from your mind to a diary you could keep shut until you’re ready to revisit it later.
After I talked to Eddie a bit about how I was feeling, the next day, I went on to the next step: retail therapy. You have to be careful here because, like with all things, you have to use this in moderation or you might become a shopaholic, but that’s probably an extreme. Material goods are far from the most important things in life, but everyone needs some retail therapy here and there to make them feel better. I went to the mall, and I love going there because there are so many things to do. It’s nice to get out of the house and it’s nice to socialize if going with a sibling (like I did) or with a friend. I think what will make it extra special is buying something not only for yourself but for someone you care about. I got my mom a pair of shoes, got myself a pair of shoes, and finally bought what I’ve been wanting for a while: a bomber jacket. But you don’t have to buy so much. I’m happy even with the Claddagh ring I recently purchased from Amazon for a good deal and good quality (side note: I consider myself an honorary Irishwoman because I was born on St. Patrick’s Day – it makes sense, I swear). If you want to know which one I got, by the way, you can click the link above.
Online shopping is fun because it gets you to excitedly anticipate when a package arrives; it could be a small treat for you later in the week after a few days of work, but it’s also nice to go to the mall – to get out of the house. If you have a dog, take him for some nice walks! Furry friends are the best companions.
Moving on, you have to take care of yourself. Don’t feel bad about eating something yummy, but also make sure you work out. I worked out, doing ab and leg workouts I found on YouTube (I recommend channel XHIT but there are many other good channels out there), and felt great after. The past few days I hadn’t felt up to it. I had felt fatigued so I had relaxed or done lighter workouts. This isn’t a bad thing, but exercise really helps to get those endorphins flowing, so don’t take too long a break from it!
After a workout, I wanted to cool down, so the next thing I recommend (and you can really do this whenever) is meditating. My friend recommended The Honest Guys on YouTube, so I finally got around to checking their channel. I did the one on relieving anxiety and stress, and the fourteen minutes just flew by. I felt so relaxed after, happy and at peace. I regret not doing it with a sheet mask on to hit two birds with one stone, but it was still very nice.
Because I didn’t do a sheet mask with it, I decided to just scrub my face and exfoliate, the next step to taking care of myself. I had been breaking out really badly because of all the stress lately, and I never do a good job of cleansing my face (I’m impatient and rough). Because I was so calm from the meditation, I actually took the time and was patient as I gently scrubbed my face. The difference was amazing. My complexion was already radiant, but then I did this nice strawberry exfoliation on top of the nightly cleansing, and it improved even more. Speaking of… *abruptly leaves to put on moisturizer, which is important after exfoliation*
Ok, back! And then I showered. So exercise, meditation, face cleansing, exfoliation or sheet mask, and shower made me feel really peaceful. While showering, I started thinking about writing this post. I really wanted to help other people and act as a friendly reminder (to not only others but a future me) that you have to really pull yourself up again and love yourself. Force yourself to treat yourself the way you should be treated. I feel a lot better now. I know I shouldn’t depend too heavily on this happiness because life goes on and keeps handing out them lemons, but this only assures me that I should really appreciate this moment of happiness when I can. That’s something I learned from a self-help book I read a while ago that I forgot about but shouldn’t have. I recommend buying yourself a copy of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. I have the hard cover copy because I love how it feels and looks more than the soft cover, but either one works. I should revisit cause it’d been a while… I really love how simple but effective the messages are.
Oh, and for some shameless promotion, you should also get yourself to laugh and smile by watching funny and uplifting videos:
But also, try to unplug for a bit every day. I think too much time on electronics can make you antsy and restless. For example, all day today I watched TV and played Sims on my computer and just felt like I wasted my whole day. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but take a break once in a while. I don’t think using YouTube to do workouts and meditation really counts, so they could be the exceptions. I also think that I had not socialized with my friends in a while purely for fun, so maybe I will plan a girls’ night out soon.
I really do hope all this helps, and to sum it up in a more simpler way, I’ll list out my recommendations below:
- Open up to somebody new who you think will be understanding or write a diary entry – don’t bear the whole burden alone – you can even share your concerns below and I will do my best to respond!
- Do some retail therapy without feeling guilty – you don’t have to spend a lot
- Work out – you don’t have to do too much, just enough to feel happy with yourself
- Get out of the house – alone, with a furry friend, and with a human friend, all the combinations
- Do a face mask or exfoliation, just take care of your complexion, drink some tea, take a nice shower or bath to feel good about yourself
- Remember that you are not alone with your feelings – even though it makes you feel “less special or unique,” for lack of a better phrase, know that you are not alone
And sometimes, you just gotta force yourself to smile. That will lift your facial muscles so you don’t feel as heavy and it’ll give your mind a refresher that you have some things to smile about in life.
Best of luck and lots of love,