Gardening is a tricky hobby. I’ve always associated it with older people. Which makes some sense: if you go to a gardening center in spring, it will be packed mainly with old folks. This is a bad prejudice to have. As this article by Samin Nosrat showed me, gardening can be a great activity to help with one’s mental wellness.
Last winter I suffered a devastating bout of depression. Unable to do much else, I took to the neglected beds of the vegetable garden I share with my neighbors. Weeding and composting for hours a day, I was regenerating both the soil and something deep in myself. It felt so crucial to my well-being that sometimes I wore a headlamp to extend my work time past the waning daylight.
It’s worthwhile reading the entire article. She makes a great case for the goodness that gardening can do for you. After you finish it, you may want to rush out to a garden center and get started on your own garden and improved mental health.
(Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash)
You may hate lifting weights, but if you struggle with depression, even from time to time, then you should consider it.
More details, here: Resistance Training May Help Relieve Depression (Time)
What are you looking at in terms of exercise? It says:
He recommends following the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine: doing strength training at least two days per week by performing eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 different strength-building exercises each time.
Sounds hard, but it isn’t. And if you need some exercise routes, go to Darebee and find some routines you need.
Based on this older study (For Your Brain’s Sake, Keep Moving – The New York Times), it seems like running helps the brain grow better. It’s a good read. It may also explain, at least in part, why people’s brains are not doing so great lately with the lockdown due to the pandemic.
We rightly attribute running to helping our muscles and our cardiovascular system. It seems to help our nervous system as well. Try to get out and move if you can.
I have read in many places that it is good to be grateful. To be thankful. Here is one such article: What Does It Mean to Be Grateful? – Mindful. If that works for you, then I recommend it.
I find a simpler and just as effective approach is to acknowledge when something is good. Wake up feeling rested? Say “This is good”. Enjoy your cup of coffee or tea or even just being up? Acknowledge that “This is nice”. As you go through your day, make an effort to consciously acknowledge all the good things big and small in your life. You’ll find many. And if you can’t, that’s ok too. Work to appreciate the good things in the bad. Rainy, overcast day? Good for flowers. Monday? A new week to do something good. Etc. If you struggle to think of any, talk to a friend or some other council.
You have lots of good things in your life. As you appreciate them, you will better appreciate your life in general. And that too is good.
Easier said than done, I know. But worth addressing. And not impossible. Good luck! Anxiety may seem like a tiger, but it can also be a horse: you can get a grip on it, break it, and use it to your advantage even.
How to Harness Your Anxiety – The New York Times
A small, handy guide to dealing with your emotions:
…keep going. (In other words, hell is no place to stop.)
It sounds wise, but if it seems impossible to you, here’s a good piece with some guidance on how to keep going through hell and exit the other side: Read This If You’re Going Through Adversity – Darius Foroux.
The bad news: for people in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting colder and darker.
The good news: if you are one of those people who suffer from S.A.D., then this is an excellent list of lights that can help you deal with it: The Best Light Therapy Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder | Apartment Therapy
Better still, there is a wide range of price points and some of them are relatively inexpensive.
Check out the list. If you know someone who struggles with this, then consider this an excellent gift idea.
Bonus: This post was written in 2017. Since then they have updated their list, so check it out again.