I’m a bit late today on this; apologies!
So I’ve had a lot of stress over the past few months related to work stuff and other stuff and I think just the general WTF IS GOING ON that most of us are feeling because of the news cycle and I thought I’d share 5 things that help me when I’m spiraling.
Many of you know that I deal with chronic depression, so I have to be careful and take care of myself, especially when times are really stressful. It can be hard to remember to engage in self-care during those times, but I’ve been dealing with this for so long that I do a lot of check-ins with myself and if I feel “icky,” I know I’m slipping in the self-care realm and allowing some demons to run around in my head.
Anyway, these 5 things have been helping me a lot the past few months:
1. Working Out
I don’t go to a gym. Rather, I have a few weights and bands and balls — medicine and core — at home. I also have a couple of books that offer different routines for home workouts and I change those up so I don’t get bored. I either listen to music or podcasts during my workout, and it varies from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on what I feel like doing.
Doing something physical like this is, for me, really meditative and it allows me to focus on physicality and to “get out of my head,” which is one of my problems. I get stuck in my head and keep ruminating on things, which doesn’t help me.
You don’t have to be a gear head or a gym fanatic — any kind of regular physical activity is important to help clear your head.
I don’t often have time to do this, but I’ve started making more time for it. I actually read a lot of nonfiction, and right now I’m reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, about the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, a journalist who was obsessed with figuring out who he was. Her book was published posthumously (she died suddenly in 2016 at the age of 46), and whoa, what a read. I’m a murderino (those of you who know what that means and what podcast it references, I salute you), and when news broke about the GSK’s capture, I put this book on my list and finally am getting around to reading it.
Regardless, reading helps ground me.
Some people can’t write when they’re really stressed, and that’s okay. I find that it, again, gets me out of my head and helps give me new perspectives. I write a lot of fanfic, and that REALLY helps because there aren’t really deadlines, it’ll never be published — I’m just posting it for fun.
So if a creative endeavor helps you deal with stress, by all means, do it!
4. Escapist TV and movies.
For me, these are often spec fic-related or documentaries. Although I do enjoy good comedy. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of this, but be careful. I find that for someone like me, who is prone to depression, if I spend too much time locked to the TV, it might end up depressing me more.
5. Avoid the news cycle
I mean, don’t lock yourself in my bunker and refuse to ever find out what’s going on in the world. Just limit how much time you spend with the news, and make sure you’re getting accurate news. It’s good to stay informed, but don’t let it overwhelm you into inaction and more depression. I have to be very careful with the news because it can worsen a spiral for me. So…moderation, friends.
And, as a bonus, it always helps me to do something good for others in my own community and/or elsewhere. So along those lines, here’s a bunch of ways to help the Bahamas, which were devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
So anyway, take care of yourselves and engage in things that help you do that.