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Hello dear readers,

For the past week and a half, I’ve been in a kind of mental “funk” (ESL readers: this is American slang for “depression”). I’ve finally managed to shake the majority of my overwhelming feelings, and I’m going to share with you what I’ve been doing to get past the feelings of helplessness and anxiety, in the hopes that my sharing can help you, too.

  1. If at all possible, get outdoors and get some fresh air and sunshine. Mental health experts say that even doing something outdoors such as walking Fido can help relieve stress. Plus, sunshine helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. People who are in less-sunny places now (like my friends in Norway) have reported higher levels of depression and thoughts of suicide!
  2. Help a neighbor (while maintaining Social Distancing). When I learned that many of our new neighbors with small children were unable to find bread, I got busy in the kitchen and baked and delivered 14 loaves of homemade bread this week! It gave me something to do, but as I was working (and bakers say kneading dough is a kind of therapy), I thought about the young families I was helping. Again, mental health experts say that doing for others is a potent anti-depressive. By the end of the week, I was feeling a LOT more positive.
  3. Take charge of your immediate environment. Right now, that’s probably your home or apartment. Rather than feeling like a prisoner, do something you’ve been putting off (or didn’t have time to do before). Clean out that drawer where everything goes. Sort out your closet and give away what you haven’t worn in the past year. Take down those old, dated valences in the kitchen (like I did) and make and put up something new and fresh. Improve your living arrangement and you’ll likely improve your mood.
  4. Check on neighbors. Since my walks with my Boykin Spaniels have increased, I’ve met many neighbors who’ve lived near me for years, yet until now we didn’t even know each others’ names. Feeling connected will help you feel more in control and less isolated–while being isolated.
  5. Garden if possible. Digging in the dirt has also been said to be therapeutic. If you don’t have a yard, plant some seeds in pots and see what a green thumb you actually possess!
  6. Reach out to others. Write letters, and if possible, enclose a stamped, self-addressed return envelope so they can respond.
  7. Keep a journal. Writing about this experience will be something you can pass down to family members. And finally, please respond to me! I’d love to hear if any of my suggestions helped you! Best, Theresa (T.)