6 Things I Do on 'Days of Rest' With Depression

Some days I simply don’t have the energy to do much at all. I used to feel guilty about this. I often apologized repeatedly for taking it easy. I thought I was being lazy and irresponsible. I’ve now come to realize I need these “break” days sometimes. I need to recognize depression as the illness it is, and I must remember to take care of myself.

So, what do I do on these days of rest? I choose from a list of several different things. The activities I choose depend on my energy level and my mood. Other factors include my current interests and available resources. The options range from simple to more elaborate.

Here’s what I like to do:

1. Read a book.

One of the easiest things to do is to read a book. Simply curl up in your favorite chair with a blanket and a hot cup of coffee or tea and escape into the world of fiction. If you find it too hard to concentrate on reading, watch a favorite television show or movie instead. You could even pop some popcorn to enjoy as a snack while you’re resting.

2. Listen to calming music.

Classical music works best for this. Some suggested compositions are “Fur Elise” by Beethoven, “Canon” by Pachelbel, “Clair De Lune” by Debussy, “Greensleeves” by Vaughn Williams, “Prelude in C” by Bach, “Adagio” for Strings by Barber, and “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven.

3. Take a relaxing bath.

Add in calming scents, such as lavender or jasmine. Make it even more peaceful by turning off the lights and lighting candles.

4. Light exercise is also an option.

I enjoy yoga. It calms me, and it strengthens my body. It also allows me to focus on my breathing. I find that by placing my focus on my movements and breathing technique, I can often shift my focus off the negative thoughts depression puts into my mind. I feel much more at peace after I finish a yoga session.

5. Take a short walk.

On a day of rest, a short walk outdoors is also helpful. It provides the benefit of both exercise and time spent in nature. If, however, I find I am lacking the energy to take a walk, I will simply sit outside and enjoy the warm sunshine and the cool breeze.

6. Keep your meals simple and healthy.

You don’t need to overload yourself with lots of cooking prep and cleanup when you’re in need of a rest day. Ask your spouse, partner, family member or a friend to cook and clean for you — also, you could opt for takeout that day. Just try to make wise food choices, as we all know that what we eat has a tremendous effect on how we feel.

So, now you know what I choose to do on the days in which I take it easy. I won’t apologize for any of it. And neither should you.

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Thinkstock photo via Avosb.

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