Throughout my early 20s, I struggled with depression.

Here are 10 simple habits that helped me achieve a better state of mind.

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0/ Disclaimer

I am not a licensed medical professional.

If you need help, please seek a counselor, therapist, or mental health treatment facility.

There are also plenty of free hotlines open 24/7 if you or someone you know needs to talk to someone.
1/ Journaling

Journaling is self-administered therapy.

You're having a conversation with yourself and sharing what's going well in life and what isn't.

It's free and available to anyone.

And just getting problems onto paper will help get them out of your mind.
1/ (continued)

How I journal:

I write out my anxieties, fears, etc.

I challenge those thoughts to see if they're justified or not.

I brainstorm ways to tackle any problems with action.

I record all the good stuff that has happened to me to remind myself life isn't all bad.
2/ Taking a hot shower

There's something incredibly relaxing and soothing about being in hot water.

Perhaps it's because the heat relaxes your muscles and thus relaxes your body and mind.

Also, being clean physically helps my mental state of mind.
3/ Working out daily

There are so many benefits to exercising that it's hard to make excuses not to do it.

I know you don't want to do anything when you're down, but the hardest part is starting.

Just by changing your physical state, you'll also change your mental state.
3/ (continued)

Try to go to a gym with a friend.

Or start small with some push-ups every morning.

Even if you had a bad day, you'll go to bed feeling a bit productive and proud of yourself for exercising, even if it's a short amount.

You'll never regret exercising.
4/ Walk in the sun & take Vitamin D

I learned this tip from my dog.

Even if it's 20 F outside, she'll tan in the sun for a few minutes each day.

I started doing the same thing and try to take a walk in the sun every day even if it's cold out.
4/ (continued)

Sometimes I'll go for a jog in the morning, walk my dog or run some errands during the day just to go outside and get some sunshine.

Studies have also shown that taking Vitamin D also helps with seasonal depression and, personally, it's helped with my mood.
5/ Clean your home

Your physical space is often as reflection of your mental state.

Personally, a messy and dirty living space gives me anxiety, stress, and makes me uncomfortable.

I can't control the world, but at least I can control my living situation and make it better.
6/ Stop sitting all day

Remember Newton's First Law of Motion:

• A body at rest will remain at rest while a body in motion will stay at motion.

Sitting all day will make you feel lethargic and demotivate you from moving for the rest of the day.

So, try move to more often.
6/ (continued)

Here are some helpful tips:

• Set an hourly timer to get up to stretch every hour or so.

• Invest in a standing desk.

• Take calls while walking.

• DON'T eat at your desk. Go out for lunch or eat your lunch and go for a walk.
7/ Put time limits on social media

With social media, you're constantly seeing other people's highlight's reels & unconsciously comparing your life to theirs.

It's a slow drip poison if you spend too much time on it.

Learn to use the platforms and not vice-versa.
7/ (continued)

Here's my advice for using social media properly:

• Turn off ALL social media notifications.

• Set a time limit for each app on screen time.

• Keep your phone in the other room while working.
8/ Call a friend or family member

This habit has been a game-changer for me.

Simply call a friend out of the blue and chat for 5-10 minutes about their life to catch up with them.

They will appreciate the call and you'll feel better for socializing and connecting with them.
9/ Get 8 hours of sleep

Whenever I feel depressed, I ask myself how much sleep I've gotten.

99% of the time, the answer is less than 8 hours.

Sleep is free and feels wonderful.

Take advantage of this amazing resource.
9/ (continued)

Here are some helpful sleep tips:

• Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

• Don't eat 2 hours before you go to sleep and avoid alcohol.

• Don't try to catch up on it on the weekend but instead aim to get 8 hours every night.
10/ Read a book

Books have saved my mental well-being more times than I could count.

When I was alone and had no one to talk to, books were there for me.

When life got too overwhelming and I needed an escape, books were there for me.
10/ (continued)

Their wisdom and advice guided me to a better place in life.

I owe everything I am and everything I've become to the books I've read.

I highly recommend:

• Man's Search for Meaning
• 12 Rules for Life
• Meditations

I'll be forever grateful for books.
You can follow @AlexAndBooks_.
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