24.

There are a million and one of these lists out there, but I want to share what has helped me. It’s a mix of all of these that help keep me going during those dark times. I’m also not perfect and fail in these too. I’ve had a hard few weeks, and thinking about this has been very therapeutic. I write this in hopes that you may take something away, just like I did as I read list after list:

  1. Find a counselor! If you know me, you know how much I love my current counselor. She wasn’t my first, but I am so glad I didn’t give up. Sometimes you need help finding the source of the depression, anxiety, etc. Sometimes you just need to talk about Target and Panera. 😀 She’s been a huge part of the past two and a half years. If you live in the Treasure Valley, I can give you a few resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. And please remember that one size does NOT fit all. So if that first one (or five) doesn’t work out, keep trying.
  2. Find a friend! just ONE you can trust. This can be hard, especially when you’re in the middle of the darkness, but that’s when you need that friend the most.
  3. Give that someone you trust your pills, knifes, etc., whatever may be taunting you. You can have them dispose of them (Even if you don’t, they might do this without telling you. You’ll be mad at first, but it’s a good thing.). Or if you feel like you want them back, make sure you are ready.
  4. Light! SAD is real y’all. Start your morning by bathing in happy light. I totally recommend investing in one. If you don’t have one, start by turning on ANY light. Take down your blackout drapes. Soak in the sunlight.
  5. Treat yo self 2011! (Parks & Rec. anyone?) Self care isn’t selfish. Some days it’s okay to sleep in, binge Netflix, buy that dress you have been wanting, get your nails did, whatever floats your boat. TREAT. YO. SELF.
  6. Eat healthy! Drop the Doritos and pick up a carrot. (I say this as I eat M&Ms. . .) Drink plenty of water. Your physical health is connected to your mental health. Also, cook your meal! As tempting as it is to order delivery, it’s so rewarding to eat something you put the effort into making. You don’t need to make a fancy 5 course meal. Start small with pasta. Simple.
  7. Sleep! It’s incredible what happens when you get a good night’s rest. A tip: Only be in your bed (or even your bedroom) at night when you should be sleeping. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights. This was one reason why. I would come home from work or school and go straight to my bed. Not good.
  8. Exercise! Endorphins are magical. Just take a walk. It’s all about the simple things in life to help you keep going.
  9. Pray! I’m better at saying, “Thank you!” rather than “Help!” When I don’t want to pray, that usually means I should. I have days when I realize I can make it to daily Mass. I take that as a sign from the Holy Spirit. Can’t say I’ve ever regretted going. 🙂
  10. Take a drive! PLEASE only drive if you feel safe. DO NOT get in your car if you have thoughts of driving off cliffs or into trees. There’s a loop over in East Idaho that I drove A LOT in high school. It’s a great way to clear your mind. Plus. . .
  11. . . . Music! Blasting music with the windows rolled down can be so therapeutic. If you’re like me and still listen to the radio, the right song will come on and be just what you need.
  12. Clean! I read somewhere once that you should take 10 minutes every day to clean something. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, something. It’s hard to be okay mentally when there are dishes, clothes, and trash, everywhere. Have you ever gone a month without touching cleaning supplies? Have you seen what builds up? Ew. That’s not good for your health either.
  13. Routine! This is something I am currently struggling with BIG TIME. Work is all over the place, which makes my personal life all over the place. But I’m still trying. So, my alarm goes off at 7am everyday (except Wednesday’s when it goes off at 5am for Bible Study). It can be difficult to get your health stable when your life isn’t.
  14. What are you struggling with? Talk to someone or read about others that have been through it. To see someone who has experienced similar trauma, and now be living a happy, healthy life, was HUGE for me. This is also a huge reason why I keep telling my story. I want others to know that there is hope.
  15. Say goodbye to technology! Especially social media. Even if it’s just one day. The “silence” of shutting your phone off is incredible.
  16. Follow inspirational pages on social media. Stop following the news, especially if it causes anxiety. I like following pages that post awesome quotes, pictures, cute animals, or organizations that are doing good in the world. I bet at least half of the “people” I follow on Instagram are kitties or puppies. To Write Love on Her Arms is an awesome page to follow because of their blog. This can also help to. . .
  17. . . .Focus on the good, and remember it on the bad days.
  18. Get dressed! Y’all, I HATED jeans with a passion. Let’s not even talk about skirts and dresses. I wore sweats more often than not, especially in college. But one day while reading one of the billions of lists like this one, it finally clicked in my mind that I needed to start getting dressed, even on days off. And I know it has made a difference.
  19. Take a shower! If that’s too difficult, start with brushing your teeth. You know when you go camping for a few days and not a single shower was taken? You know the feeling when you get home and take a shower? I’ve found that same feeling to be similar when I don’t take care of my hygiene for a few days because I’m stuck in a dark place.
  20. Find a project to work on! Pinterest just became your new best friend. I like to grab some paint, a blank canvas, and go to town. The possibilities are endless.
  21. Get rid of the people in your life that may be toxic! This is obviously very difficult, but it can be so needed. I’ve had friends that sucked all my energy out of me, made me feel worthless, and I didn’t realize just how much they did until I finally let them go. Think about it like Facebook; unfollow people in real life.
  22. Take a vacation! Stop thinking about the everyday stresses, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway. If you’re stuck in a cold, snowy state, head south. Helloooooo Vitamin D!
  23. Find a new hobby! Reading, writing, and coffee-shop hopping are just a few of my favorite things. There was a period I was baking at least once a week. I stopped baking from a box and learned how to bake from scratch. Not only do the goods taste SO much better, my wallet thanked me. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make cookies, brownies, and other simple baked goods. I always have them on my shelves because I never know when I’ll need something sweet.
  24. Look forward to the future! Think of ONE thing that you are looking forward to. Maybe it’s a concert or a trip. Maybe it’s ice cream or a TV show. Promise yourself you will make it to _______. I’ve had days where I couldn’t think of anything, so I made a promise to my counselor that I would see her again.

You are loved. 🙂

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