A massive life change can be a trigger for depression and after my boyfriend, Chris and I sold our sailboat, I prepared myself to slip into that dark and familiar emotional space.
But, it was a conversation I had last year with Bryan Derrickson, owner of the mental health awareness company bdvibez, that helped me through my recent onset of depression. When I asked his perspective on treatments for sufferers, his answer really hit home: “If (a person) feels better by taking an anti-depressant (from a mental health professional), I think that’s a great thing. If they want to wake up at five in the morning to jog around the block and that makes them feel better, then they should do that every day.“
So, as a preventative measure, I took that golden nugget and discovered a few others that allowed me to handle what would have been a very hard transition.
Here are a few tips that helped me and may help you, too!
REST: Allow 3-4 days of rest to catch up from traveling, moving, or jetlag. My friend suggested this timeline, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. It’s long enough for significant rest yet short enough not to get stuck. Any longer would have me swirling down a rabbit hole, but those few guilt-free (important keywords, here) days of unpacking, sleeping in, and generally readjusting to my new surroundings was just what I needed to get my bearings.
ROUTINE: Knowing my brain power is on-point to write and work between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., my routine consists of making my bed, a simple yoga flow (stretch, stretch, bend. Stretch, stretch, bend), a four-minute meditation (breathe, think, clear the mind, breathe, think, clear the mind), and a PB and banana toast before walking out the door. Routine is also the easiest way to feel like you’ve accomplished something just by doing what you would normally do. #winning (Want to learn more about the benefits of routine? Jump here!)
GET WORKING: Throwing myself into work keeps me stable. As a freelance writer, my office exists between the fold of a computer screen and keyboard and anywhere with good WiFi. As many entrepreneurs know, there is always something to do, be it managing a website, researching a new project, or returning emails. These precious office hours – at least three solid hours a day without cell phone distractions – helps me be more accountable and accomplished (new favorite word) instead of wondering what my next step will be. *Bonus: take an hour or two to schedule projects on a calendar a month out. This way, you don’t have to think about work, you can just do your work. (I don’t know what feels better: an orgasm or crossing off a list of things to do. For me, it’s a toss-up.)
“THE NATURE PILL”: Writing generally means sitting, so I make sure to walk for at least twenty to thirty minutes a day to counteract. Spending time in nature has been proven to help stimulate productivity and decrease stress. But most of all, it’s a chance to stretch your legs and back from all that sedentary work. This idea was born from Bryan’s nug-of-knowledge, as read above. (Thank you, Bryan!)
MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA INTAKE: This is a big one, and I’ll give you an embarrassing example: After we sold the boat, my ego wigged on how my “land life” posts would live up to the adventurous “boat life” posts from sailing in Mexico. Turns out, it can’t because land life has adventures more nuanced than that. Instead of getting caught up in the BS of compare and despair, I realized my connection with people lies in writing honest stories that people can relate to and showing a behind-the-scenes peek at a traveling freelance writer’s life. I now create content surrounding that goal before I consume. This allows me to genuinely connect from my heart instead of comparing my life to the feeds of others before I post. This also enables me to enjoy Instagram more as a platform for inspiration rather than a hamster wheel I on which I can’t keep up.
But what if someone you love is suffering from depression?
Great question! Here are a few highlights from my conversation with Bryan Derrickson on what to do if a loved one is suffering:
Ask them, straight-up. Don’t be afraid of the reaction or if you’ll lose them as a friend. Be prepared. Be present. Be persistent. If you’re up front, it will let them know you care and are available if they need you.
Talk to their parents or spouse if you notice erratic behavior, increasing use of drugs and alcohol, or if they repeatedly say, “I love you” as if to say goodbye. These could all be signs of depression and needs to be addressed.
Just smile or say hello to a stranger. “A smile could be what changes that person’s life.”
To learn more, check out the interview with Bryan Derrickson here!:
*If you or someone you know is battling depression, help is available 24 hours a day:
Do you suffer from depression? If so, please comment below on what helps you. (No judgment here, because YOU ARE NOT ALONE!)