The key words here are indulge yourself. Listen, you’re having enough trouble getting out of bed every day and going to work or school. You don’t need to push yourself. Think of yourself as an invalid recuperating from a very debilitating illness. You have to pamper yourself, body and spirit. This page is therefore all about “cocooning”, that is, wrapping yourself up in layers of comfort to protect yourself.
By the way, don’t let anyone convince you that you should be thinking happy thoughts or “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”. That will come later. Right now you could get happy about slugging anyone who tells you to be happy, right? (Or, possibly, someone who even has a sunny disposition.) Maybe you can point them here and here.
Okay, gather up whatever energy you have, and see what interests you below:
I find that classical music is good for what you’re feeling right now. These selections are some of my favorites for expressing the depths of depression:
- Bach – Concerto in D Minor for 2 violins and orchestra, Second Movement
- Albioni – Adagio in G
- Barber – Adagio for strings, op. 11
- Henryk Gorecki – Third Symphony (Symphony of Sorrows)
Here’s where some of the real pampering comes in. These suggestions all are good for men as well as women; men, don’t be afraid to try some things that you may have thought were just for women. Pampering is not gender-specific.
- If you can afford it, a visit to a day spa is in order. Spas and salons are soothing places set up for the sole purpose of pampering you. My favorite is a day with a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure and maybe an aromatherapy scalp massage.
- Get a professional massage. Really! Non-sexual touching is just what the doctor ordered. Make an appointment for a full-body massage. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about anyone seeing you nude (you will be covered by a sheet or towel), start off by having a neck and shoulder massage or foot reflexology.
- If you can’t afford a visit to a spa, re-create some of the elements of a spa at home. Play some soothing New Age music, light scented candles or get a potpourri burner. Treat yourself to a bath scented with fragrant oils. Kneipp bath oils are one of my favorites. You can find them in upscale pharmacies. You might want to read Water Magic: Healing Bath Recipes for the Body, Spirit and Soul, which has recipes for baths. Here are two recipes from The Scented Bath, a previous book written by Maribeth Riggs which is now out of print, although you might be able to find it on Amazon. The Royal Treatment is a great book that tells you how to create spa treatments at home. Lush is one of my favorite sources for bath products. Go here or here for tips on creating your own spa experience at home.
- Look into aromatherapy, an alternative way to treat the mind and body with essential oils. Clary sage is good for depression, fatigue, lavender is calming and soothing, neroli is a sedative and anti-depressant. Most essential oils can be found at your local health-food store or online. Note: None of the essential oil anti-depressants should be used as a replacement for your prescribed medication.
- Comfort food is what’s on the menu now. Calorie counting will come when you have a little more motivation and a little less depression. Two of my favorite comfort food dishes are welsh rarebit and red beans and rice. Tea is a wonderful emotional panacea. I don’t have any medical findings on this, but it’s a fact as far as I’m concerned, so while you brew up a pot, look at UK Tea & Infusions, David Rio or Tealuxe. Peet’s Tea is my favorite. It’s on the West Coast, for the most part, but you can buy it online. If you’ve been missing candy from the past such as Bit ‘O Honey, Skybars (one of my favorites) or Nik-L-Nip wax bottles, you can find them at HomeTown Favorites. Another yummy for your sweet tooth might be Tastykake.
- Don’t feel like leaving the house to do your grocery shopping? Shop online (for non-perishables) at NetGrocer or PeaPod and have your food delivered.
- You can get all your health and beauty stuff at Drugstore.com. Yes, I know it’s tempting to let those things go, but you’ll feel better if you take care of yourself.
- My suggestion is: stay away from large groups. I look back with horror on a wedding reception that I attended while in the throes of depression. Only because the bride was a dear friend did I manage to stay half an hour before fleeing. Limit your socializing to small groups of friends who at least will try to understand what you’re dealing with. To help them, have them read Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed and Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed.
Your own life is just too painful right now, so you need some entertaining diversions. However, they can’t be too demanding intellectually or too depressing. This is not the time to be watching Ingmar Bergman movies, for example. What you need right now is escapism.
- If you’re into computer games, don’t try to play any strategy or complex CRPGs (Computer Role-Playing Games). You’ll only end up getting frustrated instead of amusing yourself. An online game that’s light on statistics and is great escapism is World of Warcraft. Lord of the Rings Online has a bit more depth (and mature players).
- Text adventure games, or Interactive Fiction, are not as dead as you may think, despite the emphasis on flash and graphics in games today. The Lurking Horror and the Zork games are among the text adventures I would recommend. You can download them here or play them online here. You probably want to read my article about interactive fiction first. Here’s a list of recommended games.
- A fantastic computer adventure game that is a few years old is The Longest Journey. The storyline and characters are superior to what you normally find in games. If you get stuck, try using the Universal Hint System. Instead of outright answers, you are given hints, although if you persist, you can get the explicit answers. The hints can give your brain a nudge without spoiling the game.
- Big Fish Games has lots of casual games for a reasonable fee.
- The Company Therapist is a cyber-soap based on a fictitious therapist’s files. Or you could try to Survive Dickens’ London.
- If you want to lose yourself in a movie, first check out the Internet Movie Database.
- Read romance novels. Regency novels are my favorites; they transport you back to the time when the only thing a person had to worry about was finding an eligible person to marry, and being a success in society. Don’t miss the web page for the grande dame of Regencies, Jane Austen. Georgette Heyer is the best contemporary author of regency romances. Try The Romance Reader for ideas on what to read. Two good Regency videos are Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. My all-time favorite Regency video is A&E’s six-hour version of Pride and Prejudice.
- Retreat to another world in a good fantasy book. Urban Fantasy is a genre that’s exploded in the past few years. One excellent series is Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Another is Kim Harrison’s The Hollows Series, with titles inspired by Clint Eastwood movies, like Dead Witch Walking. Simon Green’s Nightside Series is original and creepy. Tad Williams, David Eddings, Robin Hobb and Carol Berg write more traditional fantasy. The Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy and Utopia page is a reference guide to works of such authors as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula K. Le Guin and Suzy McKee Charnas.
- If you’re into mysteries, MysteryNet.com should be right up your alley.
Warm and Fuzzy
- 32 Things That Will Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside
- Kittens! Kitten Academy and Keeping Up with the Kattarshians.