Whether dealing with temporary disappointments, a difficult grief process, or clinical depression, there are ways to ease sad feelings. Let’s look at three basics for blues management.
Get active. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to lift a mood. Research has demonstrated that exercise is as effective as antidepressant medication in relieving mild or moderate depression
Volunteering. Leaving the house and being around people is very hard during difficult times. However, staying alone at home worsens a depressed mood considerably. Volunteering helps in at least four ways: it gets a person dressed and out of the house, provides for focused conversation, shifts thinking to something positive, and provides a sense of purpose.
Consider helping at The Humane Society. Holding and petting animals and caring for their basic needs feels very good. Animals make few demands on us. Dogs (and many cats) love attention and are generous with affection.
Eating healthy food. Loss of appetite or overeating on junk food both go hand in hand with sadness. When eating very little, food needs to count nutritionally even more than usual. And given that overeating and gaining weight make most people feel worse, fresh produce is a very good choice for those who eat more when they are feeling bad.
Good places to buy fresh, healthy food are farmers markets in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Talking with the sellers provides manageable, focused, friendly conversation. It also feels good and can provide a sense of meaning to support local growers, especially in a challenging economy.
Even though setbacks, grief, and depression are not simple problems, very simple strategies can help tremendously.