This is a critical key to controlling your depression.
Before we get started, go ahead and click play on the youtube video below. This one is guaranteed to get your mood up. Also, a heartfelt apology goes out to you guys, I am sorry I haven’t posted, something has been going on with my internet. Even now I am at a friend’s house so I can connect to their internet and put this online.
Actually, before we dive into the main subject, I am going to throw this in, because I don’t think I can drag it out long enough to make an entire blog post about it:
Stop listening to sad music when you’re feeling depressed. This is one of my major pet peeves. I can’t fucking stand it. I mean, how does the thought process work? “I am going to put on depressing music so I can really sink into it, instead of trying to put myself in a better mood.” I mean, I am going to apologize for getting a tad harsh, but it drives me bonkers.
Listen to something happy! No, I don’t mean Pherrell. I mean if that’s your kinda genre, go for it. Just don’t tell me. Bah! Just kidding. Listen to anything that can actually have an impact on the way your feeling in a positive way. Here are some of my favorite genres/artists when I am putting myself in a better mood: A lot of what I like to call Chill Vibes. I don’t know the specific genres, but some artists include ODEZSA, Cherub, Glass Animals, and Broods.
I am a huge metal head. I’m an ex-lead vocalist, working with a few friends on some side projects, actually. Not to toot my own horn, but we’ve been putting out some pretty great shit. Anyway, if you’re sad and want to snap out of it, I will always recommend something within that genre/sub-genre. To name a few: Volumes, Dance Gavin Dance (check out their latest album, even those who cant get into metal will enjoy this), and Chunk! No, Captain, Chunk!
Last but not least, dance music. EDM, house music, dub-step, ect. Throwing in a pair of headphones and getting down to some good dance music is a sure-fire way to help you to dance right out of that shitty mood.
Now that I went on as long as I did about music, I definitely could’ve made a full post about it. But, fuck it. I hope this tid bit is enough to get the main point across. Stop listening to sad music whilst sad. It doesn’t make any sense.
So, why is managing a daily routine important?
If you think about it, you’re already living some form of routine, right? You wake up after you snooze the alarm as many times as possible, you brush your teeth (I hope) with a smug look on your face because you didn’t get enough sleep, you eat debating on several different excuses to tell your boss why you aren’t coming in, you walk into work or school already looking at the clock to see how much time is left before lunch. Even if don’t have a job or go to school, you still wake up to do the same general thing you did yesterday. While i’ve been unemployed, I’d wake up go through my morning routine, then play video games, or watch tv, or something of that nature. Unless my mom was nearby then I was on CareerBuilder. You’re getting the point though, we all have a routine of some nature.
“But if I already have a daily routine, what’s the problem?”
Think about it like this: If you’re feeling depressed on a daily basis, and you can’t pinpoint why, it could very well be negative aspects within your daily routine.
So lets break this down: Let’s talk about some things you can do to get your daily routine to a point where you don’t wake up knowing the day is going to be a bad one.
First things first, write it down. Be as brutal as possible. When you wake up, how do you feel? Do you want to go right back to bed, or are you up and ready to go? Try to get as detailed as possible. At the top or bottom, write down your current goals. Long and short-term. Don’t have any? Write “goals”, and leave it at that.
The way I did it was:
8:30- woke up after three snoozes feeling miserable.
8:35- brushed my teeth and cursed because I am too late and can’t eat breakfast
9:05- got to class five minutes late feeling self conscious because everyone stared at me.
and so on.
Now we’re going to edit it. Trashing it and writing down an entirely new routine is not the way to go. It’s like when someone goes on a diet and completely changes the way they eat the next day forward. How long do those typical last? Nuff said.
Alright, here is where the goals come in. Take as long as you need and think of some solid, achievable goals. I don’t want to see anyone write down: “Win the lottery!”
A few of mine are: Do 100 push ups and sit ups a day. Get a gym membership. Gain ten pounds of muscle mass. Get my certificate and become a nutritionist and dietician. Get my license in massage therapy. Take extended education in Ayurvedic medicine and massage. Travel the world and use my knowledge and skill to educate, heal, and treat people around the world.
I am starting small and working my way to my end goal.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” -Albert Einstein
Now all I had to do was fit those into my original daily routine. What steps are necessary to gain ten pounds of muscle mass? Well, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get a gym membership, go everyday, and actually stick to it. So I started doing push ups and sit ups. 10 of each before bed. Then I was doing 20. After a few weeks, 50 push ups was a thing of the past. Now that I am actually enjoying doing these work outs before bed, let’s take it to the next level. I started going to the gym a couple days a week. Nothing too strenuous or life altering, easily doable. At this point, I get upset when I don’t work out in some way shape or form.
You see where I am going with it? I’ve said it before. Damn straight, baby steps. This is key to adding something as big as going to the gym daily to a routine, whose original work outs consisted of curling a pop can to my mouth. Come up with your own play by play to achieve your long term goals.
Let me do another example:
Long-term goal- Sing and record an album.
Put singing into your daily routine. Even if it’s just in the car. Turn that into a solid practice everyday. Start writing a few lyrics everyday, even if they’re not the best. Continuing that everyday, before you know you it, you have full, crisp songs ready to record. And look at that, you’ve been practicing your singing voice for a couple weeks at this point, and you notice that you sound better than you ever have. Now you’re at the point where you put in some time to write, sing, and/or record every. single. day. Can you even remember a time when you didn’t?
Once you have your goals, edit your daily routine to fit those new additions in, as well as tweaking what you’ve already been doing. Now that you have it all written down, I am sure you can see some negative aspects right away. For example, if you’re waking up tired everyday, go to bed earlier. If you’re getting plenty of sleep, but are still tired, you’re probably not eating breakfast or drinking any water. If you notice you have written, “9:15- late to school, can’t wait to leave.” Now you know you have to make some little changes to get to school a bit earlier. Also, pin point why you hate being there. No friends? Talk to someone. I highly recommend my buddy Raymond’s blog: free-dating-service.com. Don’t be intimidated by the site name, he dives deep into communication techniques, and does a much better job than I would ever be able to do on the subject. If you’re bored, try to interact more. If you’re tired, reread this paragraph. If it’s none of those things, pin point what the problems are, and do what you can to fix them.
So you’ve tweaked your daily routine, you’ve made a goal, and you’ve added in the steps necessary to achieve your goals. Now what?
Stick to it.
If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, add in some simple workouts before your shower. Which you can eventually turn into a gym membership.
If your goal is to become a better singer/songwriter. Take the time to sing and write every single day.
The improvements this will make to your life as a whole are tremendous. Not only are you working towards something, you’re making a positive life change. Which will increase your overall mood, which will help on the road to beating depression.
It may have seemed daunting at first. Yet, I’ve spelled it out, and I made it doable. Here it is, here you go. Take it and do with it what you will.
I can’t believe how self-conscious I was at the beginning of this endeavor. The feedback I’ve gotten so far is fucking awesome. It just makes me even more excited and eager to continue writing for you guys. Thank you so much.
Let me ask you a question: What do you think/believe about energy? Now, this isn’t something I am passionate about, but it is definitely something that I take into account and think about occasionally. I won’t go into much detail, but I simply believe maintaining a daily routine helps keep your energys in check, which helps keep your depression from making an appearance.
I know that is a topic either a) not many people can get behind/believe, or b) not many people know about. So I added this at the bottom just incase any one of you wonderful readers is interested, I’d love to talk about it and go into more detail.
Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff