A few months ago, I wrote about advice from author Chuck Palahniuk about how to fight off suicidal thoughts. He advised cleaning, culling, and communicating to keep yourself busy and feeling good. His strategies work even for times when you are bored and not depressed and are actually really effective for people who are feeling suicidal.
Now that spring is coming in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to add some new coping strategies to fight the evils of boredom, depression, suicidal feelings, lethargy, and apathy.
1. Go outside for at least ten minutes a day. And, no, walking from the parking lot to the car doesn’t count at all. If it’s raining, put on a rain jacket; if it’s cold, bundle up and take a short walk. If it’s nice, take a camera and take pics of your neighborhood. Try to see something new and different each time.
2. Exercise. Exercising is not exactly a new coping strategy for depression, but if you can force yourself to exercise just a little each day, it will help.Here are some sites to get you started exercising if you aren’t already: Couch-to-5k, , 100 pushups.com, 200 situps.com, and SELF magazine. All of the sites also have excellent iPhone apps. If none of these interest you, join a gym or do exercise DVDs.
3. Take a class. Preferably not basket-weaving 101 and one that you are interested in for professional or personal reasons. If college is too expensive or too daunting, take a class through the college extension or at a community center. It’s a great way to meet people and keep yourself occupied. And, if possible, not an online class. I know many people with Bipolar Disorder suffer from anxiety, but it’s important to face your fears.
4. Grow herbs and vegetables. You don’t need a yard to do this. You can grow herbs in a windowsill and if you have a patio, you can grow lettuce in small pots. It saves money, gives you a thrill when you see your seeds and sprouts get bigger, and saves you money. A win, win, win.
5. Write emails and letters. In the days of Facebook, we sometimes forget about the individuals in our lives who have made the most difference. Letting your friends and family know you appreciate them is important. Please take time to thank the people who have taken care of you in the past or who have helped you with your Bipolar Disorder or with other things in your life. It’s important.