Making Better Food Choices

When I was going through some issues, I didn’t feel well a lot of the time. My doctor advised regular exercise and good nutrition. They work better than any medication, he said. When you go off drugs, there are rebound effects. I decided to heed his words. Now that I am better, I am gaining a little weight. This happens when you are happier with your life. Depression is great for staying thin, but what a price you pay! Now I am back to the doctor’s advice and you will often find me on the treadmill at the gym. The endorphins a workout releases work wonders to keep that happy mood intact. If you are down, they will get you back up fast.

Nutrition wasn’t to be ignored of course. I ran out to buy all kinds of fruit and vegetables. They make great snacks, so you will avoid chips and dip. I don’t want to eat healthy short term, but always. Vegetables will be on my plate at dinner next to a piece of chicken or fish. I will give myself two weeks to lose four pounds after which I will continue this practice. I just will be able to sneak a cookie now and then. Sugar is also great for mood enhancement. Many people who are depressed or anxious load up on sugar, fat or carbs. They are all devastating as the effect doesn’t last long. What does is the excess poundage. Now I am into better food choices and here to remind you to do the same. At least, you won’t feel depressed about being overweight. And you will look good in your gym clothes.

It was fun standing by the kitchen sink rinsing everything under the steady stream of water provided by my reliable Delta from Kitchen Faucet Depot after seeing it on their Facebook page. With one pull of the lever to the right, I get instant cold water. The produce is rinsed and dried and goes into the fridge in plastic bags. It is easier for me to do everything at once, so I have only one mess to clean up. There are carrot peelings and orange rinds everywhere. I place them in a sack and toss them in a plastic lined trash can. The whole task is simple as pie. I love handling the vegetables and looking at their graceful shapes and vibrant colors. A red pepper taking a cold shower under the Delta is a gorgeous site.

Apples and pears are so pretty that they go into a painted ceramic bowl on the countertop. During certain times of the year I replace them with lemons, lines and oranges. Tomatoes also look nice taking a nap on your butcher block and they like to stay at room temperature. Everything else will soon become a healthy salad with a low-cal dressing. I turn off the Delta faucet, hang the damp kitchen towel and turn off the light. My work is done, and I am very content. Who said cooking is therapeutic is right.

Still a Work in Progress

Blogs should be about positive things—those good happenings in your life. I am not one to imitate others so I write what I want as long as it reveals something about me as a unique person. I do like to tell stories, however, and appreciate others when they entertain me with their human tales. I want to emphasize foibles here, not just ordinary accounts of mundane life. I like to hear about what amuses you, what scares you, what makes you cringe, and finally what makes you tick. It helps me to learn more about myself. I know that we all have a lot in common.

Take memories for example. We are loaded to the gills with good and bad ones and they pop up during waking hours as well as in dreams. I don’t know why these memories are triggered at particular times, but recently a movie somehow did the job. It reminded me of something that happened in college while I was at a party. I was young with much experience and I raided the beer fridge to Crack a Cold One one time to many. I was smashed and falling on my face drunk. I didn’t know it so I was not yet mortified. I think most of the other kids at the party were in the same boat. You remember well after the fact when someone mentions how you behaved in strange ways. You probably confessed something personal and embarrassing. When I came to my senses, I realized that I had a long way to go to grow up and gain control. Such silly moments are common in college as we learn to make our way. No one is exempt from immaturity at least for some period of time. The memory reminded me of how far I have come.

It should be a fun memory of good laughs and merriment among friends. We were new at the socializing game. We needed a little beer for positive re-enforcement; it was just that we didn’t know when to quit. We kept guzzling it down making toasts to our happy days. This might have been the very first time I had gotten drunk, especially in public. I remember an empty room with a bed with me sprawled face down. I only came up for air a few hours later when I found a ride back to the dorm. I am not even sure what happened to my car.

At first, I couldn’t laugh about this memory because it seemed painful to me. It probably wasn’t at the time. Now I see it as a phase of much-needed personal growth that I can talk about in public. No need to be so sensitive about the past. How do you deal with such memories? Are they a road to personal assessment or something to suppress? If we pay attention to dreams and recollections, we can do a bit of self-psychoanalysis. What do you think?

Giving Crafting a Try

When I get down, like most people I have to find a diversion to take my mind off things. Some activities lift my mood more than others. Yesterday, it didn’t work. I tried reading a good book, watching an old movie on TV, listening to music, and talking on the phone to a friend. A little of this and that didn’t do the job so I thought about doing a new craft. I have tried many in the past and while I like sewing, painting, clay sculpting and beadwork, I had an itch to go a different route.

When I am in a certain frame of mind, I get crazy ideas. Remember the title of this blog is “call me crazy.” I normally think outside of the box and yesterday was along the same vein. When doing arts and crafts, you start with the chosen materials, what you have on hand or are willing to go out and buy. You don’t want to order them on the Internet and wait for days for delivery. If you are like me, you want to get going on the spot. If you are bored, in particular, there is no time to rush to the art store. It pushes the envelope for sure.

So I looked around the house and the garage for some inspiration. I also took down a craft book from the den shelves. Then on the floor, I spotted what was labelled as the best cheap soccer ball. Eureka! I could use it. It was an old, cheap ball that I use in my home gym for arm toning exercises. It had seen better days and had lost its shape. It would make a unique art project. Now what else to incorporate, I asked myself. I started surveying the scene again and opened all the drawers. I found some cast-off craft materials in the garage and brought them all in.

I started to tinker around and work on a trial basis. I put various items on top and around the ball. I wanted some bright color to offset its blandness. I wanted an irregular sculptural shape to offset the sphere. I decided I liked the look and sturdiness of small tree branches and twigs I pulled off the big tree in the back garden. I accented them with various geometric shapes made of foamcore. It was a nice composition consisting of a triangle, square, cone, and the round ball. It was neat. The twigs were painted black for an eerie touch to match my odd mood that day. The “sculpture” was a found object made of things from the environment. Found objects have been hot since the beginning of the 20th century and I have now resurrected the trend. People enjoy the surprise of juxtaposing odd things in a new way.

The ball was the centerpiece with everything else subordinate. It would look great in an art gallery or displayed in an office. It would be a conversation piece to say the least. It helped me pass the time and get out of a funk yesterday.

Maybe a Second Date?!?

Having a successful blind date is a rarity indeed. I don’t know many people who can say that they have formed good relationships this way. Now I beg to differ—wait till the end. I was fixed up by a friend and agreed to test the water, not having done this before. I was somewhat intimidated about whether he would like crazy me. I don’t think my friend would have suggested the idea if she didn’t think it would work. This gave me some hope.

We planned to meet in two days for coffee to be cautious—just an hour. I suppose this is what most blind dates do. You have to check each other out in terms of looks, personality, and conversational style. I am less of a talker than a listener. I am told this is a good quality when you meet someone new. Let them take the lead which appeals to their ego. Men, in particular, are said to like to dominate at first. I hope he takes at least some interest in my world. I will start with his to be safe. My friend agreed and said, “you can’t go wrong.” She wished me good luck.

The “date” was fine. I was relieved. Here is how it went. We said hello and both parties seemed pleased with what they saw. We sat down and ordered a large mocha latte. We had that in common. While sipping the hot java, he started to talk about his life. He covered the usual stuff: background, job, previous marriages, hobbies, and the like. As I suspected, he liked that I listened. He felt comfortable to go off on a tangent. He said he had a kind of secret life on weekends and hoped that I wouldn’t find it odd.

It was something new to me: using a metal detector to find gold and other buried treasure. He found places where he could use what he said was the best metal detector to find things of value. He had to accept a lot of junk at first. Over time, he discovered some coins, jewelry, and assorted gold decorative items. He said he hit it rich once or twice.

He trusted me enough to tell me his favorite locations. They varied from a playground, park, beach and picnic grounds to a creek and campsite. I was truly fascinated by this strange enterprise. I vowed to look it up online. Did other people do this as well? What does it say about a person. I would soon find out.

Following Doctor’s Orders

When I get tense and overwrought, my stress level climbs. You can’t have one without the other. My doctor is concerned since stress is the body’s arch enemy. It can exacerbate what already ails you and make it worse. He says it is time to take stock of the situation and implement some new health strategies. Managing weight is one of them. Stress can sharpen one’s appetite and help pack on a few unwanted pounds. He mandated that I stop drinking sodas to lose weight. I love them and have been known to indulge in one or more a day. He reminded me of the contents—those artificial sweeteners that are chemical devils that wreak havoc with your system. If you don’t drink the diet brands, you are imbibing tons of sugar. Dieting will, of course, control weight, but drinking soda is a health issue of a different nature. The doctor said to think of sugar, even the artificial kind, as poison. It gets into your cells in any case and messes with metabolism.

“Let’s get on the fast track, Beth,” he warned, “and do it now.” Let’s develop an exercise regime, a simple nutrition plan, and the replacement of all soda with pure, clean water. Given the reputation of the local water in my community, I am loathe to drink from the tap. I hate the taste and imagine that the water is full of chlorine and lead—and who knows what else! There is the additional issue of lingering odor. Most people opt for the tap for economic reasons, but why do I see virtually everyone walking or driving with a plastic bottle in hand? We are obsessed with bottled water in this country, but I am going another route. It is something that has always been available to everyone, but somehow largely ignored in the quest for more Evian.

I have read numerous reviews of home water filtration systems and they sound ideal for personal use. I will get pure water with no residue taste. I will get rid of sodas and drink more water if I am going to go to all this trouble and expense. My unit will be NSF certified as suggested by the descriptions and testimonials. It will be a good motivator for me to comply with the doctor’s wishes. I know that he can nag if I don’t follow up with his program. He is the guardian of my health, he says, and responsible for what I do. He looked at the whole house water filter reviews that I’d printed and thought that investing in one was a great idea and suggested either the carbon kind or reverse osmosis. No one wants to ingest or bathe in corrosion. Any expense is worth getting rid of contaminants. He was proud of my quick turnaround on the sodas.

There is one hidden drawback that you all should know. You have to replace the filters and clean the tanks. Pure water comes at a price in dollars and labor.

Out of my Comfort Zone

When you feel off, you get help. It’s as simple as that. Why tough it out on your own. Advice might be just what you need. Who you choose to consult with depends on the situation. Sometimes it is a mental problem and other times it is purely physical. If it is both, take stock and figure out what’s wrong. I like to figure it out and then add another opinion to the mix. Recently, I was being anti-social and my doctor found out about it. I must have revealed something during therapy. I am not always forthcoming with information.

To address the problem, she recommended that I immediately become more social. Statistics show that this is a universal remedy. You can text or email people on social media, hence the name. But being with others in person is far more effective. You can join a dance class, a sewing circle or a book club. To each his own I say. None of this appeals to me or I would have done it by now. Showing a somewhat apathetic response, the doctor mentioned sports. It affords exercise, fun, and camaraderie. Okay, I’m there. Who cares if it is out of my comfort zone.

I found a woman’s basketball team within a short drive from where I live. I have no excuse not to go. I do agree that it will help me meet new people. As we are doing a common activity, it will be easy to relate. I won’t have to dig up obscure subjects. The topic of interest is clear. Coming up with interesting information can be stressful. Once you get to know people, it becomes easier. Thus, I am ready, willing, and able to get going.

I had one problem in the beginning, but it was not something I couldn’t overcome. I have a few injuries from previous activities like skiing. I once turned my ankle when I fell on a steep slope. I must baby it a bit by wearing an ankle brace, so I found a top rated one from Baller’s Guide. An ankle support will be of great use in basketball, especially given all the jumping. I don’t want to land in an odd way, injuring it more.

We train a few days a week at night and optionally on weekends. We need a lot of practice until we get in sync as a team. If we succeed in coordinating our plays and controlling the ball, we might enter a few local tournaments. That will be something really new for me. I want to pump my energy up and this could do it. Plus, I can invite family and friends. It will be a whole new side of my personality. Those close to me will be surprised, not to mention my doctor. Sports is known to be at the top of the list of best therapies. If you are depressed, anxious, stressed, sad, or a Gloomy Gus, this could also be for you.

Easing Anxiety by Understanding

I can get frustrated about something I don’t understand and the situation begs for a resolution. It isn’t as bad as it sounds because I often learn new things when I am perplexed. It provokes a kind of inquisitive response in me automatically. I feel anxiety until I get an answer. This can cause me to ask repeated questions which can drive you nuts if you don’t know me. Take the plumber, for example. I called him over because my hot water heater didn’t work for some reason. I guess it was getting old. I had one to many cold showers before I capitulated and cried for help. I know how expensive these professionals are, but I was in a real bind. I am not about to repair a tank myself. I saw YouTube videos on line, but it made the process that much more intimidating. It says in most do it yourself articles and on review sites that a tankless unit is far easier (source). Since I still had the old-fashioned kind, I made a quick phone call. What other choice did I have?

When the plumber arrived, I started in as I usually do with a barrage of queries about how water heaters work and why they fail. He gave me a blank look and stammered, “why do you need to know.” “Take my word for it,” I said. “Okay,” he conceded and went on for an hour about the entire system, the pilot light, the electrical connection, and how many gallons the tank contains. He elaborated on the length of time it takes to heat a tank and produce maximum output when starting from scratch (cold water). He added information about average utility bills and how a newer model would save me money on repairs and usage. I was getting a lesson in economy.

It seemed like a lot of useless information, but it put my mind to rest. I now knew exactly how many showers or baths I could take per day and for how long. He walked me through the repair, which a simple matter of a loose nut or bolt. “Yes, you could have done it,” he uttered. He told me that when it gets to the gas pilot, I should steer clear lest there be an explosion. That convinced me and I didn’t mind paying his hefty bill. Plumbers charge by the hour even if they spend only ten minutes. So, his rambling for an hour didn’t cost me any extra money.

I realized that I was way out of date with this old water heater, but the plumber assured me that the time for replacement had not come. When it does, he will recommend a modern system that will experience few breakdowns. “Meanwhile, you can save up for that eventual day,” he counseled. And that is just what I am going to do. No doubt, I will have to ask a million new questions about the tankless style to satisfy my anxiety about making a decision.

Talking to a Therapist

Opening up to a stranger can seem scary but when you have things that you really need to work through, it is absolutely the best option. While your friends and family might be easy to talk to, there are some distinct disadvantages to talking to people in your life who don’t have counseling experience. Here are my two big problems with using your friends or family as counselors:

First, sometimes people aren’t really listening to you. They might be simply waiting for their turn to speak. They hear what you say and then want to reassure you that you’re OK by relating a similar situation that they went through. And maybe that’s helpful to you and maybe it isn’t, but regardless—they have suddenly made it about them instead of you. You want to talk about something that is bothering you and instead you have to sit and listento how it happened to your grandfatheror what great thing your friend’s boyfriend did last week. What you wanted to talk about gets forgotten or lost in the shuffle, and you are too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up again.

Second, because they aren’t trained professionals, they are not necessarily equipped to deal with what you’re telling them. They want to help and they feel like they have to say something to be supportive, but they may say the wrong thing. Sure, they say it with good intentions and in the right spirit, but when you are reaching out for help, the last thing you want is a pat on the back and a simple, “there, there, it’ll get better.” You may feel like your feelings are invalid, that you are being trivialized, or that you are overreacting. It might discourage you from getting more help. And sometimes choosing the wrong person to confide in can do more harm than good. I know that once or twice, I have talked about the trauma I have experienced and it was very upsetting to the person I told. I ended up consoling them instead of the other way around. People can get a sort of secondary PTSD from hearing the stories of those who suffer from it. I know that experience made me never want to talk about my trauma again, and that is the absolute last thing you want.

Talking to a professional alleviates these concerns. They set aside a time for you and then that time is devoted to listen to what YOU have to say. Maybe they steer the conversation a certain way but they may not. They can guide you toward insights you would not have gotten talking to someone who hasn’t been trained in the mental health field. They may be able to teach you techniques or strategies to help you minimize your reactions to triggers. And, because the relationship between you and your therapist is a professional one, they are better equipped to handle any trauma you want to discuss. They don’t have a personal investment in you the way your family or friends do. They can be objective in a way those who know you outside of therapy cannot.

It can be hard to find someone that you are comfortable enough with to talk to. You may have to try more than one person. But don’t get discouraged. The important thing is that you keep going and continue working toward getting well. Have faith that you will find the right therapist and you will. Just keep going!

Just a Normal Day Around Here (No, Really!)

I woke up this morning and my first instinct was to hit the snooze button and stay in bed. I remember when I was so depressed that it was nearly impossible to summon the energy to face the day, or when I was in so much pain that it hurt to put my feet on the floor and start moving. But once I started treatment, I only struggle to get out of bed when I’ve done something like stay up too late the night before binge-watching Netflix. Much better reason, if you ask me.

I got ready for work and headed out the door. It used to be so much harder to muster up the energy to get myself dressed and prepared enough to face the world outside of my safe and comfortable little house. Today, though, I was honestly excited to get to work. I’m taking on a bigger role there now and I was recently assigned a new project. It’s been really great to have something to look forward to and put some of my energy into. It turns out that keeping things buried inside was taking up much more effort than I realized. Now that I talk about things more readily and deal with most conflicts as they arise, I have more mental energy to devote to things that matter to me: like getting a promotion!

Once I was at work, I checked over my calendar to see what events were coming up this week. Then I made a to-do list based on what I needed to be prepared for those events. With my therapist, I have learned to prioritize these lists. I then am able to tackle the list in order of importance, and the stuff that doesn’t get done can be shifted to the next day. It has really helped me ease my anxiety—I no longer feel like I have to be doing all the things, all the time. I am even able to eat my lunch away from my desk now! It also turns out that I’m more productive when I’m not worrying about all the stuff I have to do, so I don’t often have to stay late to get things done anymore.

After work, I went with a friend to the gym. This was something else that I had been seriously neglecting—my own health. I didn’t have the energy for the gym and I didn’t really see a need to take care of myself. I didn’t believe I was worth it and had a million other excuses at the ready. I wouldn’t say I work out all that hard; today I just did some laps at the pool. But I feel so good afterwards that even if the scale doesn’t go down, I don’t care. I feel better and I’m making better choices, and that is the part that matters.

I knew I’d be hungry after all that and would be tempted to have a bunch of garbage food for dinner. It always winds up making me feel crummy about myself and sick to my stomach. So I planned ahead and put a few ingredients into my slow cooker before I left for work. When I came home, the house smelled delicious and dinner was waiting. I had a healthy meal of balsamic chicken and sweet potatoes. I even steamed some veggies in the microwave to round out the meal.

When I climb into bed tonight, I will be focused on all the things I did well today. I will take the time to be grateful for the things I have. I have a notebook on my nightstand where I can write down any thoughts I might have to help clear my mind before I fall asleep, whether they are positive or negative. I sleep much better at night when I do that.

That’s a typical day for me now. What are your days like?

The Stigma of Mental Health Issues

I used to be one of those people who thought that anything metally going wrong with me meant that I was weak. It made me feel abnormal. Other people were happy, why wasn’t I? I knew I didn’t have a terrible life, and it was beyond me as to why I felt the way I did. Everyone else seemed to be able to handle their lives and troubles. How were they able to let things roll off their backs while I was constantly wallowing? Why did I feel like such a fake, a phony? Why was I struggling all the time?

Well, I have learned a few things since I started treatment. And I want to share some of that with you, so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

The first is obvious: you never really know what other people are going through. They may look fine and as if they have their act together but secretly are in pieces. It apparently is really common to ignore or misunderstand mental health issues, or for people to hide them out of embarrassment. Many people don’t want to admit it if their lives are not perfect, and they put on a show for their Facebook friends and family. But inside, they are struggling and wondering why nobody actually sees what is going on. When I was open with my friends and family that I was receiving treatment, I found out that there were others who needed help or were in counselling themselves. I had no idea. I encouraged those who wanted help to get it, and if you are considering it–I’ll tell you the same. Give it a try. You’ll only know if it helps you if you seek out the help for yourself.

Another thing that I learned is that most mental health issues are out of our control. It would be like getting mad at yourself for getting the flu. You could wash your hands all the time, get the flu shot, and still get sick. Does that mean you did anything wrong? Of course not. The next time somebody tells you that you’re choosing to be unhappy, or something similar, think about it: are you? Does it feel like a choice to you? It probably doesn’t feel that way, and I’m here to tell you that it probably isn’t a conscious choice. I am also here to tell you that with some work, it does not have to be your default setting.Some mental health issues are genetic: you may know that bipolar and schizophrenia are hereditary, but did you know that scientists also believe that depression can be inherited as well?We may learn bad mental health habits like repressing our feelings from our families, and have no way to express anything other than anger when it all becomes too much because we’ve never seen any healthy alternatives. Other times, our issues areunhealthy coping mechanisms or survival techniques that we have learned from traumatic experiences, like codependence or PTSD. A significant group of us who need mental health services are victims of genetics, our environment, or an event that triggered us. We didn’t cause these things. We should feel no shame in getting help for them.

The thing about suffering from mental health issues is that we are generally just trying to survive. The way that we are is the only way that we know. It is hard to change but it is necessary if we want to get better and be able to stop surviving and start living. I know I was terrified to get help, but I’m really glad that I did. I feel better now. I may never be cured, but I can feel the difference in how I used to be and how I am now. Life does not seem so overwhelming to me anymore. Things that used to upset me are now easier to put into perspective. I needed that for myself, and I wish that so very much for you.

The First Steps

For a long time, I was in denial about what was going on in my life. I was scared of the thoughts in my head and the way that I behaved. I thought that it was just who I am and what my life was going to be forever. It was understandably hard to get out of bed every morning. I had no energy and no desire to do anything. If there was a rainbow outside, I couldn’t see it—I was too busy huddled in a dark room with the curtains drawn.

When I went to the doctors for the third time complaining about pain in my feet, I had a different doctor than I usually do. Instead of telling me that it was because I was overweight and sending me on my way like my regular practitioner, this new doctor asked me a bunch of questions about myself that seemed completely irrelevant—how was I sleeping? How did I feel otherwise? How was the pain affecting my daily life? She seemed so sincere and kind, and it was the first time in a long time I could remember anyone even asking me about what I was going through. I cried in her office for a long time, and once I was able to calm down, she gently told me that it was time to get some real help. She was guessing that the severe depression I had been suffering wasn’t just affecting my mental and emotional state. She had a theory that, because I wasn’t addressing my actual issues, my body was escalating the symptoms and my depression was now taking a physical toll on me as well.

She sent me to a psychiatrist.After a few sessions, he officially diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder and moderate depression. I was put on some medication to help manage the depression and I receive counselling for the PTSD. The day I was given the diagnosis, it made me feel bad. How could I have let this happen? There’s something wrong with me! I wasn’t normal, I was a crazy person!

But then I realized something. There was something wrong with me. Rather than going into a panic or feeling bad about it, I realized that what I had been experiencing had been real this whole time. What I initially did not understand was that my diagnosis was a gift. With it, I could start treatment. And that treatment meant that I could finally start feeling better. My life didn’t have to be so miserable and dark, and for the first time, I realized it was my choice—I could make it better if I wanted to. Taking those first steps was downright terrifying but so very worth it. It has been a lot of work to get where I am and I know I have a long way to go. I may never be “cured.” I am OK with all of that. Most of my todays are better than my yesterdays, and when they aren’t, I am learning how to cope.

I am a work in progress.

The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is something I’ve always struggled with. For awhile, I didn’t even know that I was supposed to do anything for myself. I had my job and my friends and I just worked, came home, ate whatever was easy, and crawled into bed. That was my life. While I wasn’t happy, I didn’t really see any way (or any reason) to change anything.

But then I was diagnosed with depression, and the therapist asked me what I do for myself. I just stared at him for a bit. I wasn’t sure how to answer at first, and then I realized it was even worse than that—I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t do anything for myself. I didn’t think I deserved it, and I didn’t have the energy for it.

At first, it felt like something that I had to check off on my to-do every single day. Like it was work. But it does not have to be that way. As time goes on, I am practicing self-care more and more. It is an important part of the recovery process. We all need to believe that we are worthwhile, and self-care is a very simple way to show yourself that you are.

Here are some of my favorite ways to show some self-care: reading a book in a bubble bath, getting my nails done (or even taking the time to paint them myself), wearing my pjs all day on a weekend and watching cheesy movies, calling a friend on the phone to talk about anything or nothing, writing in this blog or a notebook about my day or my feelings, talking to a counselor, getting a haircut, going out to a movie with my friends, dancing around my living room to a good song.

Not all of these things cost money and some take hardly any time to do at all. Self-care can be as big or as little as you make it. What it is doesn’t matter as long as it is something positive. For example, maybe a couple of cookies can be a real treat for me but if I eat the whole bag in one sitting, I’m not taking care of myself at all—just the opposite, actually. I also know lots of people who indulge in retail therapy. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a budget and stick to it, this might be an occasional treat for yourself. But buying things can quickly put you into debt—which can make you feel even worse and add to your stress—and purchases don’t usually make people feel good for very long.

Think about the things that you like to do and how you can incorporate even little aspects of them into your day. Giving yourself a few moments to meditate, write about how you feel, or something else that puts a smile on your face every day is going to be very worth it in the long run. You deserve it!