6 Ways to Cope with Depression in Recession: Take Breaks, Ability, Simplicity

Merely Me Health Guide
  • In case you haven't noticed, we are living in some bad economic times.  You turn on the radio or television and the news isn't good. Headlines tell us that there is a record Federal deficit of 1.42 trillion dollars.  Bank of America racks up a 2.24 billion dollar loss.  In September the jobless rate hit 9.8 percent.  (source:  National Public Radio).  In addition, the health care crisis rages on as people wonder if they can afford to ever be ill.


    Some of you have no job, no health care, and feel little hope for the future.  Is it any wonder that so many people are feeling depressed during these times.  And for the folk who already were depressed, the economy sure doesn't help things.

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    My life experiences have led me in and out of poverty, through the good times and the lean times.  There were times I was powerless over the situation and other times I chose financial simplicity.  In this post I want to give you some resources as well as offer my suggestions of how to emotionally survive these difficult economic times.



    Take a break from watching the news

    Sometimes worry causes us to obsess over every little trend in the news.  With our marvelous technology it is possible to receive a 24/7 influx of "information" about the state of the world.  It can feel emotionally overwhelming to hear both the rumors and realities of how bad things are with the economy.  I think one needs to take a break from this constant barrage of bad news in order to find some peace.  Shut off the TV, turn off the computer and get outside and focus on something else.  Worry and obsession will not cure the world's troubles or your own.



    Focus on what you can do

    One thing which helps me with my depression is to turn my focus upon actions which make a difference even in a small way.  If there was ever a time for volunteerism this is it.  There are so many people who are in need right now.  And I am not just talking about financial need.  There are many who are in need of emotional support as well.  There are so many things you can do which don't involve money but simply your time.  If you like animals, volunteer at an animal shelter.  I used to volunteer in the cat room of my local animal shelter and I can honestly say that these homeless cats helped me more than I helped them.  It gave me a distraction from my own worries.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or at a program for the disabled.  Check on an elderly neighbor.  Call a friend who has an illness or who suffers from depression.  Here is a list of organizations which provide ideas for volunteering.  



    Embrace Simplicity

    There have been times in my life where I basically chose to live on less money.  One time was when I quit my good paying job to stay home with my two boys.  On paper, it did not seem possible.  But we were able to do it and even save some money in the process.  I turned to books to guide me through this process. 

    Here is a short list of books which helped to guide me both philosophically and also gave me hands on practical tips.

    • "Your Money or Your Life: Transforming your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence" by Joe Dominquez and Vicki Robin
    • "The Tightwad Gazette" all editions by Amy Dacyczyn
    • "The Good Life" by the original homesteaders Scott and Helen Nearing

    There are plenty of books now out there to help you to maintain a happy but simple lifestyle on a small budget.  I know it can be done because I have lived through it myself. 



    Focus on Survival

    When you are faced with dire financial woes, it is time to focus your energy on survival.  It does no good to mourn losses at this point.  You start your life wherever you are presently.  Think of yourself as a gypsy almost.  You pick up and move forward.  Make a list.  What do you absolutely need to survive right now?  I know there are many things you want but what do you actually need?  Now brainstorm about how you can get these needs met.  I have found that during bad financial times, I have been forced to get very creative.  You can sell your old junk on E-Bay.  You can deliver newspapers.  You can create a website with advertising.  You can babysit or tutor.  Maybe you can go back to school.  It is never too late to try again and make a big change in your life.  This could be the very opportunity you didn't have time for in the past to think about what you really want to do with your life. 

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    Spend more time with family and friends

    I can tell you that some of the best times in my life were during times when I was poor.  I am having a hard time saying that out loud but it is true.  Maybe you can't eat out or travel or go to movies.  But you can do many fun and life enhancing things which are totally free.  Play a board game with your kids.  Go to a friend's house and make some tea and talk.  Go for a walk with your dog.  You don't need a complex life to be happy.  Some of the richest people in the world are also some of the unhappiest people.  They are too busy making money to have time to spend with loved ones.  Take this opportunity to make new friends or strengthen the bonds you already have with the people you care about.



    Resources for dealing with your depression

    So you are depressed and you no money or health insurance.  I want to leave you with some information and ideas of what you can do to treat your depression if you are in this circumstance.

    • Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness: The InformationHelpLine is an information and referral service which can be reached by calling 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 am- 6 pm, Eastern time.

    • Join a support group. Here is a list for you to look at for on-line support groups for depression.



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    How are you coping with your depression during these hard economic times?  Do you have any tips to share for survival?  We want to hear your story.  Your thoughts and insights are very valuable to us.




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Published On: October 19, 2009