O.K. It’s Saturday morning. You wake up the sun is shining or not, it’s raining or not, but you’re warm, safe, and there isn’t anything you have to do in the next two hours so you don’t have to jump up and start hustling toward a work day like most of you do during the week.
One would think it would be a time of relaxation, contemplation, or to make plans to do something enjoyable, and it is for some of you. For others, it’s the time when depression, despair and confusion reign.
To those people:
If you’re in a relationship, you wonder why you stay and if you’re not, you’re wondering if you ever will find that special person.
If you work forty or more hours a week, you wonder if there’s an end to this toiling away just to pay the rent, or maybe you don’t have a job and haven’t been able to find one. Maybe you have a job but your partner doesn’t and you’re tired of carrying the load, maybe it’s reversed and your partner is tired of carrying the load.
Maybe you’re old and facing the unbearably sad truth that this culture doesn’t value old people so, unless you have a family that values you, you’re pretty much on your own.
And the list goes on. You get the drift. You wake up and you have a roof over your head and a blanket over your body and some food in the kitchen but there are those other things that weigh your heart down and make it difficult to feel anything but frustration and sometimes outright despair. Even people who have enough money to have fluffy beds and no work schedule can feel despair and emotional pain. Money can make life easier but it doesn’t always make it seem bearable.
So? You’re thinking right now, so what? Well, the so what is that very often you don’t feel those negative emotions when you are busy, when you have to get things done. That’s why you function and feel O.K. during the work week. It’s when there’s a lull, like being in the eye of the storm, that one can be confronted by a terrifyingly negative picture that allows depression and anxiety to rule your psychic house. And that’s why it’s very important to role out of that bed.
Roll out of that bed even if you don’t want to roll. Force yourself. Think of one thing, one person, even if it’s a plant that needs watering, to get you up and busy. Put on some sweats, open your door, and start walking in any direction and for no particular reason except that it will help.
Yes, it will. Study after study has shown that exercise helps people who are depressed. Exercise is regularly prescribed by doctors and therapists but most people, when they’re feeling really down, don’t believe it, don’t want to believe it, and don’t do it.
Do it or as Nike says, “Just do it.” Do it for the plant that will die if it doesn’t get some water, the mother who is alone and would love to hear from you, the child somewhere whose day would be a little bit nicer if you came around or called, the animal who needs you to care for it, or the animal in the shelter who needs you to come and get it.
A good, fast walk, O.K., start out crawling and build up to a brisk pace, will release endorphins in your brain that are natural “feel good” chemicals. They won’t solve your problems but they will make you feel better, and you will find out that just doing nothing, except taking care of yourself, brings another day, another way to think about things, another avenue to pursue, or just another day that you’ve put in and haven’t taken out from this sea of humanity we’re all swimming in.
Really, roll out and walk or crawl or lay on the floor and lift your legs ten times and inhale and exhale ten times until you can find your sweats, your shoes, and the front door, and then walk. Suffering is a part of the human condition but not the sum total of human existence. Sometimes just smiling at someone who needs a smile will make their day better and when they smile back at you, you’ll feel better too.