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Ever since I gave my son up for adoption, it’s been a bit of a struggle to take care of myself. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s his birth month and I’ve been fighting with some pretty severe depression for the past week and a half.

This is the second year that my dad’s been with me during this time of year. Last year, we were still kind of feeling each other out. I got so depressed that I went out drinking a lot and smoked weed. This year, as I started sliding into a feeling of worthlessness, my dad was the one who stopped me. He let me know that I was getting really down on myself and that I didn’t seem happy.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with this information. But then, I realized that I needed to care about myself and not give in to the negativity and harmful self-talk that led to me getting so depressed and shutting everyone out last year. So far, it’s been going pretty well but, like all things when depressed, I’m taking it a day at a time. That’s why, today, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve been doing and (hopefully) give some pointers for anyone else who has been feeling down lately.

  1. Exercise and Eat Well

This might seem silly, but it’s really true. You’re doing so much more for your self-perception, your body, and your attitude when you exercise and eat mindfully. I’ve been working out in the mornings after I wake up and it’s had a huge impact on how I feel about myself and my day. I haven’t been going to work sore or grouchy and feel better about myself and my choices.

I’ve been trying to be really kind to myself throughout my exercise and listen to my body about what it needs. Because of this, I don’t have any set ‘plan’ for exercising aside from the fact that I need to get moving before noon. Some days (like today!) I swim, others I lift weights, and sometimes I’ll just plug in some music and go for a walk or have a yoga day.

On the nutrition side of things, I’m trying to eat better and watch out for heavy snacks, drinks, and foods. I remind myself that the more love I show my body, the better I’ll feel.

  1. Look for Beauty

I’ve really been trying to focus on being mindful of my surroundings and how I’m feeling. Wherever I go, I try to look for positive, beautiful things to keep my mind on. Whenever I spot negative thoughts or have to deal with a conflict-filled situation, I take deep breaths and treat myself kindly. In the case of negative thoughts, this means not thinking about things that I can’t do anything about, painful moments from my past, and not letting my insecurities keep me from doing what I want. In situations with other people, this often involves distancing myself mentally from the situation and reminding myself that I’m not the problem or the problem-solver. If I just try my best, I’ll get through it.

  1. Take the Time to Process Your Trauma

One of the hardest and most depressing things that went through my mind during the past week was that I’m not getting any writing done on Chasing the Dragon. I felt miserable and kept talking badly to myself about how I should feel ashamed that I’m not writing. It took me a while to pinpoint this bit of negativity and it surprised me that I’d let myself develop the attitude that it was ‘okay’ to say those things about myself when I wasn’t writing.

After a few non-productive sessions on my WIP, I finally realized that I couldn’t deal with those fictional people’s problems without focusing on mine first. So, I’ve been writing journal entries, poems, blog posts, and even fanfiction (yay Steven Universe!) this week. I’ve also been painting and letting myself get those feelings I can’t put into words on paper.

These are just a few of the things I’ve been focusing on, but they’re major things. It’s helped my mood considerably and I’ve been feeling a lot better. Hopefully, these tips will help other people who need it too. 🙂

Have a great day, everyone.