When reading about how people manage their mental health or how to cope with the general stresses of life I began to contemplate my own methods. When adopting these coping mechanisms I seemingly chose them subconsciously without neccassarily pondering why I did so; which I suppose is a good aspect a it means I didn’t have to overthink the situation and was able to distract myself from negative thoughts. A few months ago when I opened up about my depression I mentioned how I had decided to restrain from antidepressants: overall that hasn’t worked out too badly for me and I know I can progress further into self-management.
To recap, for those who weren’t reading my blog in October/November of last year, I weaned myself from Citalopram which I had only been taking for 4 or 5 months. Reason being I didn’t feel myself. I just felt numb and dumb. My short-term memory was affected because I wasn’t in full awareness of what I had been up too during my days at work so I couldn’t even recall having certain conversations with people. The serotonin inhibitors did their job as most days I was less often depressed which I was thankful for, but I would rather be less dependant on medication if I would discover other ways of relief.
In sharing my experiences without disclosing too much personal information, I aim to help others who may be experiencing similar mental discomfort. Before I proceed to the main topic of this post, I want to highlight that some food items are a recurring theme in my ‘calm kit’. I know that comfort eating is suggestively a bad habit, but I think as long as you are healthy, have a balanced diet and your food portions are reasonable then there is nothing wrong with using food and non-alcoholic drinks to your advantage.
What is in my ‘calm kit’?
- Tea – I live on herbal and fruit infused tea. Living in two countries with big tea cultures, UK and Korea, has promoted this habit well with all it variations. I drink green tea like an elephant draining and guzzling water from a river: I drink it all day long in replacement of flavourless water and overly stimulating coffee. Aside from Green tea being most recognisable for it’s detoxing qualities it also helps with stress relief. Other calming Teas that I like to keep at hand are peppermint tea, chamomile tea, passion flower tea and lemon balm tea. My favourite is peach iced tea although that’s not a relaxant; I consider it to be an occasional sweet treat. If my depression or random anxiety (which I am experiencing rarely as I have aged) inflicts insomnia or a headache, I drink lavender tea one hour before sleeping. The best ‘sleep tea’ I have come across is Clipper Snore & Peace.
- Hot Chocolate – Literally any warmed chocolate drink will do wonders. When I can I tend to buy Options Salted Caramel, Cadbury Wispa, Options Mint Madness, Bournville or Aero.
- A funny book – I find that reading a book by a comedian is best reserved for when you are feeling blue. I keep returning to the biographies of British comedians David Walliams and Miranda Hart. I’m sure purchasing one of Alan Carr’s paperbacks will send me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
- Books from my childhood – I saved some of my Jacqueline Wilson books for teenagers, as well as some earlier story books incase I ever have a child. I want them to have the pleasure of engaging in entertaining books just as I did when growing up. Reading helped me alot through the social issues I had in both primary and secondary school. Due to the emotional connection with the books I just simply couldn’t donate all of them to charity when moving out of my parent’s house; because of this I sometimes like to flick through my childhood story books to feel like that happy innocent child again captivated in my imagination. It may seem pathetic and unadult to do such as thing, just don’t knock it until you try it. Reading children’s books has the same positive effects as colouring books. Did anyone else read Angelina Ballerina and the Brambly Hedge series?
- Colouring books and pencils – I haven’t added this to my kit yet, and infact the female relatives in my family have inspired me to take up colouring for relaxation rather than this current acceptable half ‘trend’ to colour designs. I remember preferring the scenic colouring books for adults to colouring pages aimed at children when I was younger. I would like to buy Cat Therapy, Secret Garden, Classic colouring: Jane Austen and Secret Japan.
- Snacks – I like to keep a mixture of healthy and full on ‘treat yourself’ snacks. My favourites being: Crazy hot Popchips, Banana cream chocopies, Whitworth’s fruit and seed shots, dried apricots, Ocean Spray Craisins, Innocent smoothies, Seasame snaps, Cool Doritos, Lindt 80% dark chocolate, Nougat and Haribo, peanut brittle, grapes and lychees.
- Photographs – Even if you aren’t having a good day in that moment it’s important to reflect on the good times, that not everyday is riddled with negativity. Regardless if people featured in the photographs are no longer with you it’s nice to remember those occasions.
Please share in the comments what things help you cope or manage in times of being blue. Sharing suggestions can help anyone who reads this.