Depression Toolbox

During my time off work I started to carefully curate a survival toolkit for my depression.

  1. Get outside.
  2. Cuddle dog.
  3. Volunteer.
  4. Get heart rate up for 20 minutes.
  5. Meditate. Headspace is everything.
  6. Take things minute by minute.
  7. Snacks. Always have snacks on hand.
  8. Assemble a team! A support network. Someone you can call in the middle of the night when you think you can’t take anymore.
  9. Above all else, honor the golden rule of depression: ABSOLUTELY NO MUSTerabation. EVER. (Thanks Dr. A!)

MUSTerbation: to ruminate on what you should or must be doing.

Nothing is more debilitating than having a ‘to do’ list endlessly repeating in your head, all the while you know that you’re too tired and too sad to accomplish anything on that list. The list becomes a mountain as you grow smaller and smaller. Suddenly you’re beating yourself up for failing, but you’re frozen and overwhelmed when faced with a list that just doesn’t seem to end. Some days I didn’t have the energy to feed myself let alone clean the entire house, walk the dog, do the laundry, create a budget, re-organize the closet, and get groceries. Why did I feel like I needed to be the Wonder Woman of depression?

And so my most critical exercise each day was reminding my brain that I’m a humanBEING, not a humanDOING. When my brain started focusing on what I should be doing, and all of the things I had to get done I practiced shutting that thought process down.

I used my toolbox to help me structure my days. My ultimate goal was to develop coping skills, and to give my body and mind the nourishment and self-love it deserved. While it was incredibly important for me to have a clear road map on how I wanted to piece together each day, even more important was the permission I gave myself to completely throw that structure out the window to do whatever I needed to do for my tired body and brain. Sometimes that meant not leaving bed that day, and it meant doing it guilt-free. Who needs guilt on top of all the other miserable symptoms of depression? And so if I can give you one piece of advice when dealing with depression, do everything in your power to ward off that pesky musterbation.

Here I am ignoring my massive to do list, and my dog doesn’t seem too mad that we haven’t gone for that walk yet.




Categories depression, Mental health, UncategorizedTags , , , , , ,

5 thoughts on “Depression Toolbox

  1. Looks like a part of Canada we might have visited. Take time during those walks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jean! It was taken on a hike up Lady MacDonald, near Canmore.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We haven’t gone hiking in the Canmore area. It’s abit more complicated since we don’t have a car. On the rare occasion we will rent a car. When we bike, it’s on paved trails since we’re not mountain bikers. Still we are more hard-core as cyclists…since our lifestyle has been active transportation, cycling in non-icy/snowy season, transit and walking for over last 25 yrs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We just bought hybrids last summer, and we are falling in love with cycling. I don’t mountain bike either, I think I would be too cautious for that. If you ever get the chance, Legacy Trail is supposed to be a beautiful 22 km paved trail that connects Canmore and Banff. I’m going to bike it this summer.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We’ve done the Legacy Trail every year since it opened. 🙂 We hope to get to Banff over Victoria Day.


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