“I was very aggravated a few months ago,” says a football coach we’ll call Aaron. “I’d wake up feeling depressed and start comparing my own life to my brother’s laidback lifestyle,”
Aaron finally had a moment of eureka and deciphered he was “functioning like a robot,” writes The Tribune News Service.
He was so good at keeping a tight schedule, taking care of his home and family, and exercising like there’s no tomorrow. He figured he was like a cartoon character.
“Every day of my life was like the day before,” laughs Aaron.
“I was up at 5:30, putting on clothes I’d laid out the night before, checking my schedule, lining up my phone calls. But I had nothing new happening in my world.”
To spice up his life, Aaron started keeping a little journal on his desk to document changes.
To improve the dullness and inject some excitement into his life, he now does the following:
He reads a new book every fortnight. Aaron likes to read before bed, so he bought four new books to get started.
Initially, he bought only business books. But now, he’s exploring science fiction and gardening books.
He’s cooking one new exotic dish every week. Aaron told his wife he’ll cook dinner every Friday night all by himself. He invites his wife to choose new dishes she wants him to try.
He’s doing a Zoom meeting every weekend with old friends from high school. Aaron’s class had a reunion two years ago, but later, everybody lost contact. He decided to line up a Zoom meeting every Saturday afternoon. Typically, 15 or 20 people take part in the meeting.
He and his wife take a scenic drive every weekend. They live near the coast, so they load up their dog in their SUV and explore beaches. They take a snack and bottled water with them.
“Making some small changes is really easy,” says Aaron.
“Anyone can alter their schedule and activities just a little bit in several areas. Having something to look forward to is the key.”
A health care worker we’ll call Larry says his wife was getting very depressed.
“She stays indoors and never sees the sun,” says Larry. “So, I’ve encouraged her to walk with me every evening outdoors.”
Gloomy weather, lack of choices about where to go and whom to visit can make many of us feel low. It’s when we figure out new choices that we feel more in control.
“Stimulating our senses helps curtail boredom and depression,” says a psychologist we’ll call Dan.
Dan summarises: “Forcing yourself to do new things will stimulate the brain, body, hormones, and good feelings that are buried.
“Sitting in a chair feeling sorry for yourself never works. Taking some control over choices instantly reverses your depression. Your mental health is always boosted by doing a variety of things.”