depression tip

More Spirit Fillers, Less Time Killers

Very often, the cycle of depression feeds on itself. We feel depressed, so it’s really hard to find the motivation and energy to do the uplifting things that have the potential to feed our spirits. Then we feel even more depressed. And so it goes. This tip is about raising your awareness of how you fill the hours in your day. It’s far too easy to spend our days doing things that fill our time, but don’t necessarily fill our spirits. I know it can be hard to break out of our usual routines and do something that’s new or different or that might bring up emotions. But in the end, finding activities to fill our spirits helps so much with decreasing depression and increasing peace. Of course, everyone needs to find what feeds their spirits. One person might love gardening and another person might find it to be a chore. One person might enjoy cooking and someone else doesn’t like cooking at all. It’s such an individual exploration, but the bottom line is, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting. If you have been spending a lot of time in negativity, inactivity, or isolation, in order to lift your spirits, you’ll need to make some changes. Think about the ways that you spend your time. Not just the usual things you do each day like work, school, childcare or meal preparation, but the things you do in between the things you do: How do you spend your discretionary time? What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? What is your mental state when you shower or bathe? What do you do while you eat your meals? What do you do when you prepare for your day or drive to work, school or errands? What do you do if you have an unexpected 15-minute break in between scheduled events? What do you do when you first get home from work or school or transition from day to night? What do you do when you prepare your dinner or wind down in the evening? What do you do right before you fall asleep at night? How do you spend your weekends or days off? This is not about beating yourself up. This is about increasing your awareness of how you spend your time. Are you spending the majority of your moments in time killers or are you doing things that you would consider spirit fillers? One of the best ways to decrease depression is to make sure you are sufficiently feeding your spirit. You may not have a choice about being someone who has been struggling with depression, but you do have a choice about how you choose to fill many of the moments in your day. It might be much easier to numb out on social media than to close your eyes and meditate and actually have to be with yourself or your emotions. It might be way more tempting to zone out on TV all day, but getting a walk and some fresh air or reaching out to a friend could potentially feed your spirit much more than yet another hour of TV. Read more: Andrea Wachter describes two scenarios of how to deal with morning anxiety. Which scenario do you choose for yourself? It’s also important to look at how you think something will leave you feeling afterwards, not just how it feels to do it. Some things give us a short term feeling of aah, but leave us with a longterm ouch. Other activities might be more challenging to do at first, but leave us with a longer-term feeling of relief. Try to keep your awareness up and consider making a list of activities that you would consider time killers and a list of the things you would call spirit fillers. Some things might clearly be spirit fillers or time killers for you, but not necessarily every single time. In one instance, a nap might feel like a spirit filler and in another, it feels like checking out since you’ve already been in bed most of the day. Having a favorite cookie might feel like a lovely treat one day and another time it doesn’t feel loving if you’re already full from the meal and dessert you just had. Playing a game on your smartphone might feel like a spirit filler one evening and yet the next day it might be a time killer if you’ve already been on the computer for a few hours. So see if you can increase your conscious awareness by regularly asking yourself “Is this a time killer or a spirit filler?” Meditation has been shown to decrease ruminative thinking and help ease or even overcome depression. Discover our free library of meditation for depression. The practices offer a source of compassion, support, and understanding: