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Hello Peaceful Mind opened seven months ago after I was diagnosed with Moderate Major Depression and Anxiety. I used to be stressed all the time. And to be honest, I still have moments when I feel my heart and chest tighten.
But, overall, I am so much happier!
Now I have the motivation to get out of bed.
I stopped binge watching shows.
I see my friends more often.
I don’t get upset as easily as I used to.
I laugh more at my husband's stupid jokes... you get the idea.
So I thought that it was time to share with you everything I have learned about how to deal with stress.
Yep, you will know everything that worked for me!
1. Talk to your doctor
The first thing you need to do if you feel that you might be depressed is to go see your doctor.
During your appointment you will take a test, more like a quiz, to determine if you have depression and/or anxiety.
Then the doctor will give you recommendations about what you can do about it and if you need medication.
When I took the test, the doctor first recommended more exercise so my body would naturally create more serotonin for my brain. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that promotes feelings of calmness, motivation, and happiness.
She also recommended taking antidepressants, which allows serotonin to work more efficiently until I am feeling good enough to go to the gym by myself without needing this boost.
To be honest, I know that my life wouldn’t have changed the way it did without it but I can’t wait to be able to stop taking it 🙂
A few tips for your doctor appointment
Now, be careful. I am not saying that you have to take antidepressants to be happier. I actually do believe that doctors have a tendency to over-prescribe it.
However, if you want to start changing your life but you’re too depressed or anxious to take action this can be an option to discuss with your doctor.
A while ago, I read stats saying that if you are asking for antidepressants, you will be more likely to receive a prescription, so I would recommend reporting that you are feeling depressed and you would like to try natural ways to feel better. This way your doctor will only give you an antidepressant if you really need it.
I personally tried to negotiate to have no prescription but the doctor made an excellent point by saying that without it I would continue to have difficulties in going to the gym.
Another tip for when you go see your doctor: decide, from the first day, when you will plan to get off the medication.
You cannot stop taking antidepressants from one day to another. It needs to be done gradually with the help of the doctor.
So on your first appointment, make a goal about when you will stop taking the medication with your doctor. Set an actual day and make an appointment for that day before leaving the building.
I had a set goal of 6 months but it will probably be longer because I still need more time to fully find my work-blog-gym-life balance, but it’s okay.
Of course, the second point of this article is about exercising. It took me a while to finally find my workout schedule.
I first started by going to the gym 3 times a week for an hour while watching a show on the elliptical. You can read more about it in this article.
Then, this one hour became 40 minutes. Then 20 minutes, only twice a week.
I realized that this wasn’t working for me. So I tried a Zumba class with my coworkers. I loved it and am now trying to make it every Tuesday.
Then I tried a Metabolic Challenge class during lunch time but it was very hard and it honestly wasn’t for me.
So I recently tried a Barre class on Monday evening and I love it! It works my muscles like the Metabolic Challenge but there’s less cardio and since I do cardio with Zumba it’s a perfect combination.
All of this is to say that it takes time to find what works for you, so just try new things until you get your perfect workout schedule.
Now I also do Yoga on Sunday morning, which is my next point.
3. Do Yoga
If you read my weekly newsletter (you can subscribe here), you followed my first steps at trying Yoga.
First I want to say thanks again to all the readers who took the time to respond to my email and recommended awesome online videos for practicing Yoga!
For now, I am still going through the videos for beginners.
I like to start my Sunday with Yoga in my home office. Sun fills the room with beautiful light in the morning which is the perfect setting to find peace.
Yoga helps me to stretch and let go of the tension accumulated during the week. It also empties my mind and makes me feel relaxed.
You should definitely add yoga to your weekly routine!
4. Get a Coloring Book
I’ve been coloring a lot since I got the book You Are Here from Jenny Lawson. I love this book because the drawings are beautiful and they take less than an hour to finish! Plus the whole point of this book is to let go of your anxiety through art therapy.
I like to color at least one page per week. Sometimes more when I’m in the mood.
You should definitely give it a try, and if you are looking for an awesome coloring book, specially created to make you feel happier, then you should check out You Are Here!
5. Drink Chamomile tea
Chamomile is scientifically proven to help with anxiety so I try to drink one cup of tea with Chamomile a day.
6. Get enough sleep
Sleep plays an important role in your mental health, including depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need between 7 hours and 8 hours of sleep every night.
7. Get a FitBit Charge 2
To be honest, the Fitbit charge 2 allows me to stay on top of my sleeping habits. I have a silent alarm going off at 9:30 pm and another one at 7 am. Every day I like to look at the chart on the Fitbit app to see how my sleep went. First I check to see if I reached my goal of 7h30 of sleep. And then I look at when I was in deep, light and REM sleep. It also shows when I wake up during the night. In summary, I love having all the data I can to improve my health.
Another cool feature from the Fitbit Charge 2 that will help you manage your stress is the breathing exercises. You can do it for 2 or 5 minutes. It’s a really good tool to relax and focus on the now.
They also recently added challenges that you can do with your friends and friends of friends. It’s actually a lot of fun, I am doing at least one challenge every day with the same group of people, most of them I never met. The goal is to be the one making the most steps within a defined period of time.
If you don’t have a Fitbit yet, you should check out all of the features that the Fitbit Charge 2 offers over here.
8. Get Organized
Getting organized will help you to focus on one task at a time and reduce your stress while getting more done!
If you want to learn more about productivity tips and tricks, check out How To Be More Productive In 30 Days.
9. Find Your schedule
I think this was what changed my life the most. You see, I was starting the day on a negative note because I knew that 40 minutes after getting out of bed I would be stuck in traffic for an hour.
It took me a few different tries to find the scheduled that worked the best for my lifestyle.
Now, I wake up in the morning around 7 and work on Hello Peaceful Mind for a couple of hours before getting ready to go to work. I am lucky enough to be able to have flexible hours. I usually don’t leave the office until 7 pm but by then traffic is gone and it only takes 20 minutes to go home.
You can create your own schedule with the free define your success workbook. Read more about it here.
One of the most common tips I found when I started to work on my mental health was to journal.
In 5 Reasons Why you Should Start a Diary, you will discover how writing in my journal every night helped to deal with stress and depression.
11. The Money Talk
Money has been a heated discussion for years at our home. Did you know that most couples fight about money? So don’t worry you are not alone.
But still wouldn’t it better if you stopped stressing about money?
In the 5 Apps you Need to Stop Stressing About Money I share with you the apps I use to manage my money on the go and in very little time. You will know how to make money from your phone by responding to surveys, how to improve your credit score, how to pay all of your bills, and more!
By now you probably know that I have a little obsession with books. I read every night before going to bed. It helps me to forget about all the stressful things that happened or I need to do.
One of my favorite things now is to listen to audiobooks when I go to bed. I put the sleep timer for an hour but usually fall asleep within 20 minutes. The next day I just listen to the beginning of the past chapter and start from the last thing I remember.
I also love listening to audiobooks when I am driving and working.
Do you listen to podcasts?
Podcasts are an amazing way to learn more about any subject, including mindfulness, self-help, and so much more!
14. Remove Digital Distraction
I used to check out my phone every 5 minutes… instead of focussing on things that needed to be done. And then I would stress about it.
As you know, your phone and certain websites can easily become a distraction.
So I had to change this, and so can you with a few tools to block your access to apps or websites at specific times.
I am going to be honest, I couldn’t find the perfect tool.
If you read my blog post with tips to help you sleep you already know that I use QualityTime, and I love it! I love the design, I love how you can schedule recurring breaks, I love how you can see all of your received notifications at the end of the blocked period, I love how you can block everything and just select the apps that you might need. But QualityTime is only available on Android.
Anyway, here is how I have it set up:
- Morning work block from 10 am to 11:30 am with access to podcasts, the internet to see the show notes, FitBit and Amazon music
- Afternoon work block from 1:30 pm to 4 pm with access to podcast, the internet to see the show notes, FitBit and Amazon music
- Good Night! From 9:30 pm to 6 am with only access to FitBit and Audible because I listen to audiobooks to help me sleep (if you want to give it a try, you can get two FREE audiobooks here)
It also sends a notification when I access my phone more than 50 times in a day and keep track of your usage so you can see what apps you are using the most.
On my computer, I use Freedom, which also allows setting schedule blocked time.
There are a few tools that have similar settings for iOS, Mac, and Windows. I think the best is for you to try and see which one fits your needs the best.
Here are my recommendations:
15. Create a Morning Routine
Read the article 5 Reasons Why You Need A Morning Routine to discover why you need a morning routine.
Then head over here to download your free Sleep Time calculator and create your morning routine!
The first challenge that the Peaceful Tribe did, was a minimalist challenge. It was a lot of fun with people sharing pictures of their daily items to let go.
It’s not too late for you to do the minimalism challenge with family and friends. All you have to do is download the free checklist over here!
Since I minimized the clutter from my home, I feel so much better. In the morning I take less time to select clothes I actually love and I feel more relaxed in every room of the house. The mess was driving me nuts, especially the junk mail in the living room.
You can also get rid of junk mail, emails, and phone call by following this step by step guide!
17. How to Relax at work
The sad reality is that nowadays most of us spend all day sitting behind a screen. This is why I created this list of 5 extensions that will help you relax at work!
It’s important for you to take breaks during your day. I usually walk with my coworker on a trail next to the office for 20 minutes during lunch and then we walk around the building in the afternoon.
Stepping away from your computer will make you more productive and creative.
One of the first books I read, when I started my journey, was Calm by Michael Acton Smith. You can read my review here.
This book made me realize the importance of living more intentionally and enjoying the little things.
Sometimes I have lunch by myself and take a walk to the lake. I like to sit there and look at the water, feel the sun on my face and listen to the birds singing around. I can tell you that by the time I go back to work I feel calm and peaceful.
To be mindful you don’t need to do meditation every day, you can simply learn to enjoy the present moment.
Over To you
What do you do to destress in your everyday life? Share your tips in the comments!
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