on being happy

So here's the thing: depression runs in my family. My mom is an undiagnosed bipolar, and several of my siblings struggle with depression to some degree. I'm not medicated, and there are days when I can feel myself sliding toward a black abyss, so I've learned to recognize those signs and control what I can to keep myself healthy. When I don't, when I let that chemical imbalance win, well, that's when I start losing sleep and throwing up my meals. So instead of that, here's what I do:
  • exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, a known picker-upper. And when I'm stressed or down, a quick run or workout can sometimes be the trigger I need to get back into a healthy frame of mind.
  • clean house. This one is tricky, because I hatehatehate cleaning. But I also hate a dirty house. So when I feel things starting to get dark, sometimes a quick scrub-up is all that's needed. Often rearranging furniture makes me happy, too.
  • time alone. If you know me in person this might surprise you, but I am completely an introvert, in that I have to have time by myself to recharge. One of my favorite pick-me-ups is an evening spent browsing a bookstore all by myself, holding a cup of coffee, flicking through the latest in glossy magazines, rummaging through the shelves to discover new favorites. My husband graciously understands this need, and helps me schedule in those times of quiet as needed. Sometimes it means kicking everyone out of the house so that I can have peace and quiet, and he's awesome at that.
  • surrounding myself with beauty. This may sound silly, but since I'm a very visual person, I MUST HAVE good wallpapers on my phone, and I have to have little spots of prettiness throughout my house. Even if the house is messy, every time I pick up my phone and see a gorgeous image, it makes my heart jump a little. I cannot recommend myxer highly enough, btw. I use it to convert my image of choice (currently this picture) and it makes getting those images properly sized and onto the phone so easy.
  • personal grooming. Painting my toes, painting my nails, waxing my eyebrows. These things are time consuming and sometimes slip by the wayside, especially when I'm feeling down. But scrounging up the spare $20 to go and get a pedicure can make all the difference for me. If that's not an option, I gather up les girls and we plan a girly night to paint each other's toes. It works.
  • happy music. I have terrible, awful taste in music, and love heinous pop tunes. However. Sometimes you just need a song that will make you shake your booty. At such times I throw together a playlist, crank it up on the sound system (or put it on the ipod) and dance around in my undies for a while. It helps.
  • sleep. Yep. Good stuff.
  • salad (and other assorted healthy things). Another no brainer, I know.
So. These may seem like small things, but it's the small things that seem to keep me going. Anyone else have suggestions or want to add?


fleur_delicious said…
gardening also does it for me, or a long walk outside. Fresh air works wonders!
HennyBelle said…
Walking every morning, half an hour each way. Really admire posts like this. Thanks.

Thing One (hsnowhere.blogspot.com)
Depression runs in my family also. I have struggled with mood swings as far back as I can remember. Shame overwhelmed me and I tried to keep it a secret out of fear of being rejected. Brave people like you have helped me not feel alone and given me great ways to manage my depression. Thank you so much for sharing ways to feel better.
Toiling Ant said…
daily supplements of fish oil capsules help keep my mind/emotions on track.
Angie said…
Thanks for the great list for making happy. Gardening helps me, too. It seems to redirect my thinking and help me re-center.
Anonymous said…
Its amazing how much a post can make a difference in someone's life. I get it. I completely and utterly get it. Thanks.

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