To be honest, I don’t even think you need me to tell you this week’s tip. You know this! However, sometimes we do need a gentle reminder to be proactive about even the simple, obvious things, especially when we aren’t in the mood for it. Consider this your reminder!
I have struggled with depression on and off for about nine years now, and although most of the time my mood is stable and I function very normally in my everyday life, when I start to feel down I tend to have a hard time not letting myself continue spiraling. When I was in the thick of my depression in 2009, I was also having anxiety attacks. Because each day was a legitimate struggle and I often felt like I simply couldn’t bear the emotional pain of depression’s dark cloud, I looked to the tiny, almost insignificant joys in life to carry me through. I don’t think I did this consciously. Rather, it was more of a desperate attempt to cling to some scrap of normalcy in a reality that was crumbling.
One of those things was laughter.
I have always loved to laugh! My cousin and childhood best friend, Kimberly, and I would literally laugh until we cried or peed, gasping for air and then bursting into giggles again each time we’d calm down. MadLibs were a favorite of ours, as were drawing funny pictures at Grandma’s house and transcribing the weird-ass conversations our classmates had in high school. No matter where we went, there was always something to laugh at! Then, in 2009 when it was a struggle just to find the light in each day, I had to be more proactive. I remember one day coming back to my dorm room after a day of college classes and sitting down in front of my laptop, pulling up YouTube, and searching for funny videos. Just being able to laugh at people falling on ice (don’t judge me!) or babies giggling was a wonderful release!
Since then, I’ve kept this up. I play MadLibs over Kakao Talk voice message with my best friend in Korea, I relax with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon when I have time in the evenings, and just this past week I shared a bottle of wine with some girlfriends and we laughed until we cried. It’s a saying for a reason: laughter really is the best medicine! If you’re going through a time in your life (or even just the odd hour) where you’re having trouble seeing the good in each day, I encourage you to seek out laughter. It’s a wonderful self-care tool that is always easily accessible, and better still, it’s contagious.
Happy laughing, happy weekend, and Shabbat Shalom!