We’ve all been there, everything is just hunky dory and suddenly, it happens. You start to feel an impending sense of dread, of anxiety, or a giant wave of depression that makes you want to turn around and go back to bed. Maybe something triggered this, but maybe it just appeared out of nowhere, like a monster in an unfortunate magic show.
What do you do now? Here are some options to avoid spiraling into a full blown depressive episode or panic attack:
1. Take a quick inventory of yourself
Have you eaten today? Taken a shower? Are you dehydrated? Are there any basic personal care tasks that you’ve neglected that could be dragging down your mood? Taking care of your body is essential to avoiding depressive and anxious episodes.
2. Get a change of scenery
Ideally, go for a short walk if possible, or even a drive. If the weather won’t allow, or if you are at work and can’t leave, or stuck at home with a napping baby, then switch rooms or go sit outside. At the very least, open your curtains and let some natural light in. Maybe open a window and let in some fresh air. Ahhhh. Breathe it in. That’s nice.
3. Change your clothes
This isn’t always possible, (such as if you are at work or simply away from home) but maybe you need to get out of your yoga pants and into something nicer? Or maybe out of your uncomfortable clothes into something a little more cozy? A fresh outfit can change your perspective.
4. Take a spiritual inventory of yourself
Have you been neglecting your spiritual needs? Consider some prayer, meditation, or scripture study to help improve your mood and prevent a panic attack/depressive episode.
5. Call a friend/family member
If possible, meet in person. There is something about mental illness that causes us to isolate ourselves, but this is the complete opposite of what we need to do when it rears its ugly head. Call your significant other, your mom, your best friend, your sister…anyone who has your trust.
6. Change tasks or take a break
Are you working on a task that is exacerbating your negative emotions? Step away for a minute, and approach it with a fresh perspective later.
7. Find a distraction
We need to process our emotions and they can’t be ignored, but there is a big difference between processing and wallowing. Sometimes we just need to pull ourselves out of a pit of despair. A funny video, a book, or anything that will take you somewhere else for a few minutes. Personally, I don’t like social media as a distraction in this context because I feel it could do more harm than help in this situation.
How do you stop from falling over the edge? Let me know in the comments below!