We all know those blogs where writers show off some products and tips on living a happier life. I am going to let you in on a secret that I have come to realize. None of these methods or products will ever cure you of depression, anxiety, or other severe mental health problems.
Most of these articles are written by people who already experience some sort of happiness, and are looking to get more. If there are products that, in small ways, bring extra joy and spice up your life, then why not try them? These products, tips, and life hacks are great to top up your joy bucket.
I just want to tell you right here and now that these things will do nothing when you are stuck in a full-blown depression. I had tried to write into my gratitude journal when I was suicidal, and believe me, that shit made it worse. Reading those entries back is pretty horrible and depressing. This went on for weeks, together with running outside while crying. I had no happiness left in me, so there was no way I could top this up with some grateful mantras or exercises. And who was I kidding really? I was not thankful for the sun, my child, or even my bike.
If you are depressed or have suicidal thoughts, I recommend you call your doctor right now, or if you are a danger to yourself or others, call an ambulance. I don’t care if there is a fucking pandemic; there’s no need for extra death. Then, after you ride through all that shit and have found some sort of happiness in your life that you would like to top up, go ahead and come back to this article and read about the things and products that helped me top up on joy.
My Vitamin D light
They also call it a therapy light or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light. Now, why would I need light if I can go sit in the sun? Well for one,Great Britain does not have too much sun. I don’t have time to go sit in the sun, and I know we are in the middle of a pandemic lockdown, but I still have things to do. My patience to sit around in the sun is very thin. I remember the first time I went to the beach with my husband and asked him, “What do we do now?” He told me, “Nothing we sit.” You should have seen my face. Now I wake up and turn this light on for 30 minutes while I read my self-help book. Look at me now.
My anxiety blanket
Now, here is a product I can’t live without anymore, this blanket weighs seven kilos and adds just such a peaceful pressure on me. It’s insane that it took me so long to buy one. I have always slept under many blankets, not for heat, but for pressure. This birthday, I asked my husband for this blanket, you have to make some calculations of your body weight and the weight of the blanket you need for the perfect pressure. I have been sleeping great, and yes it’s a bitch to make your bed as it’s heavy, but it’s worth it. I have since informed my husband that we now need to also take this blanket with us when we travel—together with my full wardrobe, special pillow, and the kitchen sink. Bet you he is happy we won’t be traveling anytime soon.
Vitamins and Water
I take an array of vitamin gummies each day. I know they have tons of sugar, but I hate taking pills. These vitamin gummies are like little candies, thus making me happy. I had a stomach surgery, so I need vitamins for the rest of my life to stay healthy. Many times when I feel tired, it’s because of a lack of iron so I keep snacking on my little candies. You don’t need to take gummy vitamins like achild to be healthy, but it’s a good idea to have a look at what kind of vitamins are missing from your diet and top them up. Also, drink water! I know it’s easier said than done, but I know for a fact that I don’t drink enough and this hurts my body and also my mind. Yes, I can actually feel my brain shrinking from the lack of water. When in doubt, drink water.
My husband started to research the effects of gluten and cow milk products on mental health and funny (or not funny) enough, there is a considerable correlation between mental health problems and diet. I cut out gluten a few months ago in a desperate way to make my depression go away. Now, cutting gluten out of my diet did not cure me of depression, but it helped and made a dent somehow. Now, don’t go out and buy a shit load of gluten-free products or you will go broke. But try to cut the gluten out for a week and see how you feel inside your mind. I tried to cut out cow milk, but this is something I struggle with. I might not be British, but my cuppa with a splash of milk in the morning is a source of happiness. I can go without cheese and butter, but using oat milk in my cuppa? You must be mad. But think about for a second:cows are on a constant hormonal high to produce milk for us, so we are receiving all these hormones as well. Remember what it was like when you were breastfeeding? Like a hormonal beast, that’s right.
Read and Listen
When I take time in my day to read a motivating book I feel better. I like to do this while hanging out in front of my light like some kind of old lady. Listening to music and podcasts is an activity that lifts up my joy bucket. When I am stuck in a full-blown depression, I do not even listen to music as I have no energy for that. My favorite podcast to listen to now is Unlocking Us by Brene Brown and Happy Place with Fearn Cotton. My latest favorite book is Untamed by Glennon Goyle and it’s an absolute must-read for many women in this world today.
I am not adding links to these products; you are old and wise enough to do your own research. Do some thinking and try to find small independent shops where they sell these things, so you help your neighbor instead of a big company. Also, there must be some evidence online that these products might work on a science-based level. I don’t care as I believe that they work for me and therefore they do, the mind is strong.