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Chase away the Blues

If you get one thing out of today’s post, let it be this:

Eat more chocolate.

creampie

Raw Chocolate Cream Pie

People sometimes say to me, “Katie, you are like the happiest person I’ve ever met.” And it’s true: I am a happy person, 9 times out of 10. But I don’t always live up to my “happiest girl in the world” reputation. Why exactly does our society tell us it’s shameful to feel sad, anyway? Especially in the winter, there are sometimes days where I’m a far cry from my usual happy, energetic self. On these days, I have to drag myself to write a blog post, drag myself to make a meal, drag myself to meet friends or get to class… or even to get out of my pajamas!

Although my symptoms are nowhere near strong enough or frequent enough to qualify me for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), it’s still no fun to feel the winter blues. And if I—a normally exuberant, loving-life girl—sometimes feel sluggish and sad, I know I can’t be the only one. So I thought I’d put together a list of ways I motivate myself, or cheer myself up, when sadness pays an unexpected visit:

vegantree

1.   Exercise!

Be sure to keep up with an exercise routine. This is a big one. Some days, when weather.com says “Cloudy and feels like 3, with 28mph winds,” I do not want to go outside. But I know that lounging around in my pjs all day, as nice as it sounds in principle, will actually make me feel worse in the long run. So I bundle up and get my butt out there.

If, where you live, winters are way too cold for outdoor activity, consider joining a gym or investing in a workout dvd. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you’re doing something.

2.   Eat Healthy Foods

Nutrient deficiencies can cause all kinds of mood issues, so the best way to combat this is to eat a variety of healthy foods, making sure to get the recommended daily veggie servings. As an added bonus, healthy-eating will lower your risk of catching a winter cold. And you won’t feel sluggish from too much sugar.  Be sure, however, to eat enough calories, as starving yourself can also make you feel sluggish (and irritable!). Always have a good breakfast:

strawberry vegan greek yogurt

Vegan Strawberry Cream

3. Take a shower in the morning

For me, a lot of the SAD-type symptoms I feel aren’t actual sadness, but simply tiredness or lack of energy. Taking a morning shower helps to wake me up. I also feel more energized when I dress up and put on make-up than when I wear sweats and a ponytail. I’m not saying you should feel the need to wear make-up for others, but sometimes dressing up can make you feel good, even if you never leave the house.

4. Get enough Sleep… but not too much

And be sure to stick to a schedule (just like with the exercising, above). In other words, try and go to sleep and get up around the same time each day.

5.   Go Outside

According to some studies, up to 75% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which is scary because this vitamin is also known as the “happiness” vitamin. A deficiency can cause mood swings or depression. The good news is that all you need to do is get about 10 minutes of direct sunlight (without sunscreen) per day.

Also, keep your shade up during the day, and if you live somewhere that doesn’t get much sun, think about getting a full spectrum lamp or light box.

6.   Friends with Benefits

On cold, rainy days, it can be seriously tempting to cancel plans with friends, and stay home instead. Resist! My mood is so much brighter when I’m laughing with friends than when I’m lonely at home. If friends aren’t available, the radio makes a suitable stand-in. Singing at the top of one’s lungs is a must. No embarrassment; you’re alone, after all. And don’t forget your friendly animal companions. Playing with a pet does wonders for lifting one’s spirits. Don’t have a pet? Adopt!

7.  Count your Blessings

Sounds cliche, but it really works. Say them out loud if you wish. Or write them down for tangible evidence. Try to make the list as long as you can, and include even little, seemingly-silly things for which you are thankful. Also, volunteer to help others who are less fortunate. It’ll highlight just how lucky you are, and you’ll feel good helping others.

8. The Real Secret to Happiness

Chocolate!! It tastes good, releases endorphins, and there’s now scientific evidence that dark chocolate contains flavonoids and antioxidants… Translation? It’s healthy, people! Indulge (in moderation), and feel no guilt. Methinks that’s why I’m usually so happy—it’s thanks to all the chocolate I consume Smile.

cookie dough dip

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Dip

Question of the Day:
How do YOU chase away the blues?

And why is there such a stigma, in society, against feeling sad? Humans aren’t supposed to be happy all the time; it’d be creepily un-normal!

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Published on January 14, 2011

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190 Comments

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  1. Jos says

    Can’t agree more with #1 – exercise! 😀 I wasn’t an exercise type of person before and I always had bad mood/temper and felt down. After I started exercising regularly (pretty much everyday but only short time 15-30 mins max) I feel more energized and positive! Even though I have to get up at 4:30-5:00 am everyday, I don’t feel sleepy during daytime.!

  2. Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) says

    You should hang out with some philosophy students and artists. They respect a good bout of depression. 🙂

  3. thefruitpursuit (Sabine) says

    Great post Katie, very honest! I am very much affected by the weather and the cold too but most times it’s ok. I have a friend though who gets actual depression in the winter and it was so sad to ehar her talk about her crying herself to sleep every night… and the docs just wanted to get her on meds :s. I suggested she try light therapy first.

    x sabine

  4. Embodying Freedom says

    Everyone should be allowed to be sad when they need to sometimes. Stifling those emotions usually makes them harder to address.

    As for me, I usually go on a walk (even if it’s freezing–it clears my head!), listen to music, watch something funny, or call a friend. Writing or doing a hobby really helps too. Anything that makes you happy even when you’re not particularly sad!

  5. Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day says

    these are all great tips.

    Taking my dog for a good walk does wonders to get me out of a funk. It’s difficult now though because of the cold. She hates it!

  6. Kayla (Little Miss Healthify) says

    I love to bake for people when I’m in a bad mood, it always cheers me up. Doing service, forgetting yourself and helping others is an excellent way to combat depression.

    Also, I like to make sure I’m eating enough veggies, I always feel happier when I eat my vegetables! 🙂

  7. Gill (snaxandthecity) says

    Aww what a lovely post!

    I also have days like that Katie, for sure (and especially in winter)! I totally agree with you about doing exercise. It always helps me think, gets the blood pumping and also makes me feel that I’ve made an effort to get out of my slump!

    What I find helps a lot is if you ALLOW yourself to feel like that – don’t beat yourself up, don’t force yourself to be fake-happy (fappy!?) and just acknowledge that you feel a bit down. Then, it’s like a craving – once you’ve acknowledged it, it sometimes goes away all by itself! I think beating oneself up about being ‘sad’ is a vicious cycle.

    Chocolate, of course, is the cure for most things.

    🙂

      • Gill (snaxandthecity) says

        Exactly! And it just makes me feel frustrated when everyone’s like “buck up”! I think being ‘allowed’ (both allowing yourself and surrounding yourself with people who will allow you) to feel a bit crappy is really important – otherwise I tend to feel like I”m trying to be superhuman, and I’m definitely not that!
        Great post 🙂

  8. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    Thanks Katie for sharing something personal like this with everyone! Major props for your honesty and forth-coming prose in your post.

    I don’t know anyone alive who doesnt get a little…blah…in the winter from time to time. It’s cold, dark, dreary and I totally agree that making sure you do things to combat that are key.

    I love your list. Other things on my list
    Having a sense of humor in dealing with day to day crappy stuff. Just realizing this too shall pass and trying to laugh about it.
    Yoga
    Meditation
    And having great friends/spouse/loved ones who you can vent to!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    🙂

  9. Laura says

    I think it’s great that you’re venturing near this topic at all, but I just think maybe you have to be a bit careful when using the word Depression. Capital D Depression, which is poles apart from SAD. I don’t want to undermine the effects of SAD at all or the right of anyone to feel sad, angry or just blue at any time for any reason, but until (and I hope you never do) experience clinical depression, it’s impossible to understand. I was an overall happy girl until I was 22 and then, with no initial trigger, I ended up clinically depressed. For about a year and a half, I literally didn’t smile once, let alone laugh. I lost all interest in the things that had previously given me pleasure, which is one of the hardest aspects of depression, and I could go for weeks barely talking to anyone. You don’t have the motivation or energy to do anything, talk to anyone, and the future seems nothing but bleak. You almost aren’t there anymore, it’s like existing in a black hole, where you can’t imagine being even a little bit happy or excited about anything ever again. This past year, I’ve been able to crawl pretty darn far out of that hole and am finding my real personality again, but while all of the above are great tips in general and certainly for SAD or everyday stress or the blues, they would be a drop in the ocean and sometimes not even an option for severely depressed people. I don’t want to sound critical, I really do understand the good intentions behind the post, I just think “Ways to Beat Depression” is maybe not the best title? “Ways to Beat the Blues”, yes, “Ways to Fight SAD”, definitely. Capital D Depression, no. Sorry to get super serious, but when a person, despite having everything to live for and being surrounded by the most loving family and friends, can still have lost themselves so much that they would contemplate suicide, exercise and chocolate aren’t really the most effective idea. For cases of actual depression, I really think there is only one option and that’s seek professional help. Medication is not always necessary; I honestly think counseling is ALWAYS necessary. Again, I don’t want to be overly sensitive or undermine the topic in general, I just think it’s important to differentiate. 🙂 It’s such a hot button topic for me that it’s no longer something I can take lightly.

    • Kate says

      I really felt the same way reading the post, also from a place of personal experience. Depression really can’t be fought by eating healthy, exercising, etc., because without help you just cannot do those things if you are depressed. And it’s not a simple motivational issue like it may be for those who are not clinically depressed. This post was so well-intentioned and I love it as a discussion of SADNESS. As a discussion about DEPRESSION, though, it really upset me because it supports the stigmatized and inaccurate perception that you can control depression on your own and if you are depressed you are just being a downer or lazy.

      • Laura says

        “This post was so well-intentioned and I love it as a discussion of SADNESS.”

        Exactly. That sums it up so well. I’m by no means trying to undermine the detrimental effects of feeling sad, feeling blue or going through a rough period, but depression is not about feeling sad or feeling unmotivated to get up, shower, exercise, eat right etc. Those are often symptomatic results of the illness, but it IS a mental illness and it’s an absolutely soul-destroying, personality-leaching experience to have to go through. Sometimes a clinically depressed person would be absolutely incapable of doing any of the above things and as awesome and well-intentioned as people like yourself are with suggestions like that (and I understand why family and friends make them, because if you have no personal experience of depression or dealing with truly depressed people, you want to try any and every little thing that you can do to try to help a suffering loved one), they often just make them feel worse. Serious kudos to you, Katie, for trying to emphasize the “nobody is perfect, every emotion is valid, and we’re all allowed to feel sad” fact and for listing things that could well pick you up from a bad day, but yes, not a depression discussion.

        • Maria says

          As someone who HAS suffered from depression, and still does, I have to disagree and say that I found this post to be very helpful and not at all perpetuating a stereotype against depression. In fact, the only stereotype it’s fighting is the one that Katie mentioned that society tells us it’s weak to show anything but “always happy” women all the time. I DO suffer from depression, and I DO see someone for it, but still I copied this list to print out and look to for help, because it really does have some good ideas that even people with real depression can benefit from. So Katie, please know that your post did help at least one person who has real depression. Yeah, I have a lot going for me and often feel sad anyway and chocolate wouldn’t help. But I can TRY to cognitively make changes in my life to stay in a routine and cheer myself up, and maybe it won’t cure me, but it sure couldn’t hurt.

      • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

        I definitely did NOT mean to imply I think depression can be cured on one’s own nor that people with depression are lazy. I 100% believe that it is a true sickness and should be treated with care. But part of that means people need to speak out and say that it’s OK to feel sad. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

      • bitt says

        As I mentioned below, I have used some of these techiniques to prevent myself for spiraling into a deeper depression. But if these aren’t enough, then it’s a clue to get more serious tools and some professional help. Having suffered from depression for decades, I get that you can’t control it 100%, but you can recognize triggers and change your environment to help cope. I am so sorry you suffer from depression, it really sucks. I get what it’s like to be treated poorly, and that’s why a lot of people choose to cover it up like I have at times.

      • Amanda says

        Kate, please read my argument a few comments below. I disagree completely with your last statement. I think that people like me are the opposite of lazy BECAUSE we’re controlling depression on our own.

      • Ilana says

        I have to disagree with you that depression cannot be fought by healthy eating, exercising, etc. I suffered from severe depression for nearly ten years, from the age of twelve. By the time I was 22, I was so far gone that I’d absolutely severed every connection I’d made in the world, my life was an endless black hole, and I literally could not get out of bed most days. And for me, counselling and professional help were not options, because I’d had traumatizing experiences with them in my youth and had (have) serious fear of doctors interfering in my life at all. No one in my life knew, I’d cut out every single one of my friends, I struggled with drugs, self-injury, and I barely subsisted on a diet of coffee and sugar. I couldn’t understand how most people just functioned normally, how people got through their day every single day – how people even got out of bed. But finally I hit absolute rock bottom and there was nowhere for me to go but back up. I couldn’t take being depressed anymore. I hated myself so much that I finally needed to be better or I couldn’t see how I could possibly go on with my life for another several decades. I started with exercise, not even realizing it would help me beat my depression, I was just tired of being ‘fat’ and ‘flabby,’ and I did that for several months before I started trying to correct my eating habits, not because I thought it would make me better but because it was “what normal people do.” None of these things came easily to me, they were all habits I had to cultivate and I am still working on very hard, but here I am, just about a year after the point where I couldn’t take it anymore, and honestly my life circumstances haven’t changed much but I do feel like I am no longer depressed, I don’t feel like I live in a black hole, under that cloud separating me from the rest of the world. In fact, I honestly identify with the emotion “happy” more than I ever have in my life, and I attribute it 100% to healthy eating and exercise. Every single person has a different experience, but I firmly believe that if more of us did focus on cultivating healthy habits, it would help us develop our minds more healthfully. But I do think that many people- probably most – can benefit from counselling. I remember my darkest points, spending night after night looking up therapists and options but never making contact, because I was too afraid. I did it all by myself, without any help, and those people I know in my life who have come back to me are amazed at the changes I have wrought upon myself. Please do not disregard the power of healthy living habits when it comes to developing a healthy mind, because it is truly what saved my life.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hi Laura and Kate,
      I am so sorry if I offended you. I really and truly didn’t mean to do so :(. You’re very right that I would have some nerve to say I understand what it’s like to have Depression when I’ve never experienced it, myself. No, I don’t think that chocolate can cure Depression, and I do agree with you that people suffering from it ought to seek help. But I also think that maybe some of the things I listed can help alleviate SOME of the pain, even if it’s just a little. I do know people who have suffered through real Depression, and some of the things I listed in my post have been helpful to them, such as getting enough sunlight or sleep. True, it didn’t cure them, but every little bit helps. Once again, I’m very sorry if any of my words were offensive, because that was NOT my intent :(.

      • Amanda says

        Katie, I don’t think you did anything wrong with this post. I have had depression for a number of years now, and I strongly disagree with Laura’s statement that you have to go to counseling in order to get better. What about those of us who can’t afford counseling? Does that mean we’re doomed to a life of depression forever? I refuse to believe this is the case. Of course it is harder to fight this on our own, without a trained therapist, but that’s one of the biggest reasons why Katie’s post is so wonderful- because people need to speak up and talk about this, not say “Oh people with depression just need to find a therapist and work out their issues in counseling.” No! We need to talk about it with other people and see that it’s normal to struggle and have bad days for everyone. Yes, I know that Katie and some of the others commenting here don’t have depression with a capital D, but it helps those of us who do to see that even they struggle sometimes. I was so relieved to know that Katie is not always happy and smiley (although this makes me seem mean that I want others to be unhappy, that’s not true. It just makes me relieved to know even happy people have their bad days). And Katie’s list is great. So what if she, herself, doesn’t have depression? It doesn’t mean those of us who do can’t benefit from putting some of her ideas into practice, especially those of us who are in this on our own, without medical help. We need to keep talking about this. Kudos to you, Katie, for bringing up the topic in a society that says depression is wrong and like Maria said, society finds us weak. Well you know what? I get up every day and I choose to fight depression with similar tactics to some that Katie mentioned. I refuse to let it engulf me just because I’m not lucky enough to be able to afford counseling.

        • Kate says

          Hi Amanda,

          Just like any illness, I guess we all have different experiences. I understand not being able to afford counseling–one of the problems I have with getting my mother services right now. If you are in a more urban area, there may be nonprofits who offer mental health services for free or at a very highly subsidized rate for those who can’t pay for them, in case you need them in the future. Best of luck in your struggle,

          Kate

          • Kate says

            Also, I definitely know counseling is not for everyone, I just said that to Amanda because she (or maybe someone else, I am getting confused) said she couldn’t afford to go and so had to fight on her own–which to me implied she wanted to go. I was just pointing out options. I’m started to feel really attacked, which is sad because my experience is no less real than anyone else’s, so I”m going to stop replying now.

          • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

            Oh Kate, please don’t feel attacked. I was very grateful for your comments, as they helped to remind me of the severity of the disease and that I really need to remember that others are suffering A LOT and perhaps my post unintentionally made light of the situation. I don’t know first-hand about depression, but I DO believe it’s a true disease, just like Cancer, and should be treated as such. I’m so sorry if anything I’ve written caused you any pain. But truly, I appreciate your genuine comments/opinions. *hugs*

          • Ilana says

            Kate,
            Therapy isn’t for everyone. It is not an option for me, it never will be, because it ruined my life as a child and I will never go back. If it is for you, awesome, more power to you, but it doesn’t work for everybody. It isn’t a cure-all. In fact, it made me much, much worse off during my teen years. Instead, I taught myself to be better. I understand not everybody can do that, but not everybody can go to therapy either.

        • Laura says

          Just to clarify, while I stand by what I said about counseling, I should definitely have been more specific. Free websites like TheLowdown.co.nz offer a form of online counseling and I know that there are others like them. Also, many hospitals will be able to provide someone to talk to, free of charge. If a person has access to at least the internet, there are ways to benefit from some form of counseling. I don’t mean that everyone needs to pay $150 an hour to a psychiatrist in order to recover, of course I don’t; I just think it’s necessary to have some form of help from qualified medical professionals.

          Again, though, I wasn’t trying to denigrate what Katie did here. I fully appreciate the motivation and the ideas behind it, all I meant was that sometimes it needs to be qualified as to different levels of depression and what sort of help is required. I don’t know, I know it’s a touchy subject. I wasn’t trying to attack Katie at all and I hope she didn’t feel that way.

          • Laura says

            And when I say that “everyone” can benefit from professional assistance, I’m talking about the level of depression that I believe Kate was also referring to. If no self-help strategies as above are working and the situation is dire, then I personally believe there is no other option. Sometimes it’s not enough to try to help yourself.

          • Laura says

            However, I do also realise that this is a food blog and I didn’t intend to spark any kind of personal attacks here.

            At least in this forum, will happily return to the chocolate tales tomorrow, Katie! 🙂

          • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

            Hey Laura,
            As I told Kate, I am glad you were brave enough to leave your thoughts. And I’m also glad you pointed out your issue with my choice of titles (which I now changed). I always like to receive constructive criticism, because it helps me to not make the same mistake in the future. As I told Bobby, I think I might’ve been in the wrong for treating such a serious subject so lightly.
            Happy Saturday, sweetie :).

      • Kate says

        Katie, your words were not offensive. I personally found that they confused sadness and depression and offered techniques that just can’t help someone who is deep in throes of clinical depression, but other posters feel otherwise, as clear from the responses to my comments and Laura’s comments. That likely speaks to different experiences with depression of different depths or to clinically different diagnoses. It helped some people, that’s great, it won’t help others who are struggling with a different medical condition or are at a different point in their struggle. That’s fine.

        • ~Jessica~ says

          I have to defend Katie on this one.

          Her words were neither offensive nor flippant – yes, she was making light of depression in some respects but if we can’t have a sense of humour about ourselves, then something is terribly wrong. No, depression is not some arbitrary disease that can be magically cured by eating chocolate but if you examine the context of her words then that was by no means Katie’s implication. The post was intended to raise awareness and promote positivity, which is something she always strives to do.

          I suffer from suspected bi-polar disorder (different psychiatrists have debated whether it is bipolar I or II, or a severe anxiety disorder coupled with depression) which can by no means be ‘cured’ and no, most of the time I am not rational enough to take the steps Katie suggests. But I do know that exercise, for example, does have a physical and chemical affect on the brain, and can alleviate some of my symptoms. Likewise, good nutrition helps particularly with me when I am manic as opposed to depressed. Admittedly, in depressed cycles or rapid cycling there isn’t much anyone can do for me, but I love the fact that Katie is offering methods of dealing with milder forms of mental illness without resorting to shoving medication down people’s throats, which is all that I have ever been offered aside from CBT. I’d rather at least attempt to use holistic methods than spend the rest of my life on lithium.

          Perhaps, as suggested, the ‘D’ word was not the right one. But that doesn’t detract from a sincere effort that was clearly not intended to cause hurt or offence.

          • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

            Thanks so much, Jessica. You really have a way with words. In fact, that might be what gets ME in trouble; I know what I want to say and how I want it to come out, but I’m not always exactly sure how to word it!

  10. Felicia ( a taste of health with balance) says

    katie this is such a great post! theres definitely a huge stigma around all things mental, especially depression. It is real, and we are human, and SAD affects so many! Thanks for being so honest 🙂 This is actually funny because the other day I posted on how chocolate really made me feel like a 100x better. Can never go wrong!

  11. [email protected] of Sugar Free says

    When I lived in Iowa-I had extreme winter blues. I would crawl up in bed and do my homework I would get sick and depressed so often. I had my blood tested, and turns out I was EXTREMELY deficient in Vitamin D! I started taking a supplement, and I felt a whole lot better! Now in Florida, I feel great! But sometimes I still feel badly if I sit in front of the computer too much..blech…..

    All in all, I am a pretty happy person like you! I figure that I only have so much time in this world. Why waste it being sad?

  12. emily says

    I think your get happy list is great! 🙂 And it’s perfectly normal not to be happy all the time…it’s your response to those unhappy days that really matters, and it sounds like you have some great ways to cheer yourself up. I always feel A TON better after running…suddenly I feel like I can conquer the world again. 🙂 And chocolate never hurts either!

  13. Blog is the New Black says

    Love this thoughtful, honest post. Everyone has bad days and that’s ok! You can be sad without reason. Great tips to overcome them!

  14. Hannah says

    Thanks for sharing, Katie! I definitely am more sad in wintertime, but I’ve also dealt with major depressive disorder. It’s so true-women especially-have pressure to look happy all of the time! But that’s impossible. So it’s good to know I’m not alone out there….thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Alex says

    My SAD has been terrible this year, combined with a bit of family drama meant tears A LOT towards the end of last year.

    Like you say, keeping my body full of essential minerals, exercising, going to bed early and being thankiful for all the good stuff has definitely helped.

    In addition, rewarding myself every now and then for a job well done never goes a miss (this is usually where the chocolate comes in!) and I make a positive effort to be nicer to others, as acts of kindness will get paid right back in feel-good-feelings – then everyone feels good!

  16. Lauren @ Coachlauren.net says

    I love that you did a post about this! I live in MI and the winter seems sooooo loooonnnggggg…and it sometimes is hard to handle. Always so gloomy!!!

    Exercise really is the best thing that makes me feel better! If I get into a rut of not exercising I can totally feel the difference!!!!

  17. Rach says

    Wow. I could’ve written this post. Seriously. All the way from people always commenting on how happy I am all the time to occasionally feeling SAD-like symptoms to the exact same list you created. I love that we’re on the same wave length. Way to get personal and share, we need more of that!

  18. Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) says

    What a great post, Katie! Healthy foods that I enjoy are sooooo important to making me feel happy! My other “happy secret” – spend lot’s of time with my pets 🙂 If I’m not feeling great, I simply ride my horse or play with my dogs and cat, and then I feel amazingly better!

  19. Wendy says

    This was a lovely post, Katie! No one is ever happy 24/7/52. As long as you’re happy with what you have most of the time, that’s great. 🙂

    For me, I used to follow this channel on YouTube called “fiveawesomegirls,” where each girl had a specific day of the week in which they would make a video.
    In all of their videos, they had to say “Today was awesome because…”

    They recently stopped the project after 3 years, but I started making a “Today is awesome because _______” journal just to make my day better.

    I feel like if I write at least once a day, even if it was a lame/boring day, you will have to make yourself look back on the whole dreary day, but still be able to pick up one good, minor thing that happened. That way, it might brighten up your mood a little bit.

    That, and if I’m sad, I can look at the journal and hopefully it will make me more cheerful.

    You could always try that! 🙂

      • Diana (Soap & Chocolate) says

        I agree – I mean, I am not consistent in this habit but seriously, I can find at least one tiny awesome thing about each day, even if at the end of it I’d rather just say, wow I had a bad day. But maybe it’s something small like not having to wait for a washer in the laundry room! Doing laundry is not fun, but it really is just awesome when you don’t have to keep going back to the laundry room in your apt building to see if a machine is free yet. 🙂

        Great discussion on this post, Katie. Really interesting. (And as usual, I am totally late to this party.)

  20. Ilana says

    Love this post, as ever. As someone who suffered from depression most of her life, I have to say I strongly agree with every single one of these points. Finding a balance of healthy living habits – including healthy THINKING – was my big key to beating depression. When I was in the worst of it, I craved chocolate like no tomorrow, all day every day. I know there were days where I would eat 2 whole Lindt bars for lunch or dinner, because that was all I wanted. Little did I know I was self-medicating …. and making myself worse. Of course, I have to say I think it’s perfectly natural and incredibly healthy to have down days, too. Being always up is another mental illness, and can actually be dangerous! Everything in moderation, even happiness.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I so agree with you, Ilana… and I think that people who are “happy all the time” might actually not truly BE happy all the time, they might just feel like they can’t show it because of the way society views sadness as equal to weakness.

  21. Namaste Gurl says

    Well said and totally what I seek and look for in bringing me happiness and fulfillment. If I don’t stay on my regular schedule of exercise, sleep, friends, healthy and balanced eating, etc, then I don’t feel myself and well. So true on all those topics you noted. When I’m down, low and sinking in joy and energy, I look at what’s missing and what I can bring back to to help me stay on my usual track. 🙂

  22. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says

    Winter blues? Well here’s a HUG for you too cheer up your dark days! 😀

    I used to suffer from depression, and that was not a happy time at all! The right foods and support from loved ones definitely helped me through though. I love how geniune this is, and I think your tips are awesome! 🙂

  23. Aylin @ GlowKitchen says

    Hi Katie,
    This is such a great post! Like you, my #1 way to stave off bouts of unhappiness is to call up a friend and basically “force it til i feel it”. Even when I think meeting up with a friend is the last thing I want, it’s actually the 1st thing I NEED!

    …and of course chocolate. Who could resist? (as she pops a piece of 70% dagoba in her mouth)

    xoxo

  24. Ann @ Running With Chopstix says

    First, I have to say that I love your honesty! I think some people dislike it when other people are sad because it makes them feel either bad for feeling happy or uncomfortable. If I’m feeling bluesy, there’s nothing like dancing around to some music or chatting with a friend 🙂

  25. bitt says

    I get what the commenters above mean when they say you are not having capital D depression and SAD is a little different. So what? Being down still sucks. Being able to pick yourself up out of it with a few tools like this is what keeps it from being more serious and if you can’t use tools like this so get out of it, then it’s a signal to get more serious help. I don’t discuss my depression too much on my blog but it is there. I am way too good at hiding it, so I get that. It swings from mild to severe at times, and I’m glad I’m being treated. I didn’t take offense to your post, because sometimes one of the acts you mentioned can be enough to get myself up enough to not slip further into depression. You just have to keep doing the simple things like showering and exercising (even a brisk walk) and so forth. And don’t underestimate the power of pooch love! That’s one of my favorites. And kitty love too.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      One of my really good friends suffered with depression for three years and saw different counselors. But she told me that her biggest breakthrough was when her parents got her a dog! (It helped that her dog was the kind who liked to lick faces lol.)

  26. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says

    We all can’t have 100% happy days..but you’re lively and bouncy most days, that is what really matters. Plus, 9 out of 10 has most of us beat!! Great tips on chasing the blues. I definitely follow many of the same ones..especially getting outdoors.

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