Cool Tools for Battling the Blues

crazy good parent Oberweis turtle sundaeMy brother has an amazing toolbox. I swear he’s got every tool in there that anyone could ever need.

Those of us who are neurodivergent need a toolbox, too. Since it’s the black dog of depression that most often attacks me, mine is full of ways to cope with down times. Some are free; none will cost you more than $5. Here are a few:

Running—I started running after I earned my teacher certification but just couldn’t find a full-time position. Repeated rejections started feeding into my lying inner voice. Like many runners, I hated it at first. I felt ridiculous with my shuffling granny pace and frequent walk breaks. But I kept at it and even ran a 5k race last year, coming in second in my age group. Going for a run is virtually guaranteed to bump up my mood—if I can get out the door. But my family knows how much better I am when I’m running regularly. My son has even said, “Oh, my god, Mom! Go run!”

Ice cream—yes, I know it’s bad for me, but I don’t do it very often and, when I do, I go for the best.  A turtle sundae from Oberweis Dairy (a little bit of heaven in the Chicago area), complete with the best vanilla ice cream, warm fudge, caramel sauce and salted pecans, makes me feel loved.

Barnes and Noble, by myself—I grab a stack of books and magazines I can’t afford to buy, order a latte at the café and spend a blissful hour of browse. Not sure what I’ll do when brick and mortar bookstores are as scarce as independent donut shops, but ‘til then, you’ll find me at B&N. By the way, I have an independent donut shop nearby; a peanut butter donut with fudge frosting is better than Valium and tastes a whole lot better, too.

A big fat hug—from my husband, my son or my daughter, a hug almost always cheers me, even if just for a few minutes. Sometimes a few minutes are all it takes. Since I read that a hug has to last at least 20 seconds to get the endorphins flowing, I make my son hang on to the count of 20. If I didn’t, he’d duck out as quickly as possible; I think we both benefit from the 20-second rule.

Not all of my tools are effective all of the time. That’s why I have more than one. I’m lucky to have a family that knows what’s in my toolbox and when I need to open it.

What about you? How do you battle the blacks and blues?

Be sure to check out WordPress’ daily prompt posts for the prompt: singing the blues.


15 responses to “Cool Tools for Battling the Blues

  1. I’m making certain assumptions here – like the fact that you are actually able to get out of bed in the morning. But I’ve started cleaning the bathroom sink each night before I go to bed. No big deal – just wash out the bowl, dry it with the hand towel, and replace the hand towel with a new one. It starts the morning with something clean and fresh.


    • I have to get out of bed in the morning and do to the dulcet tones of my daughter whining to me that she will be late if I don’t get up. I absolutely love the idea of cleaning the bathroom sink. I used to do that with the kitchen sink, but fell out of the habit. Maybe I’ll get it going again.


  2. 1) Exercise, outside if at all possible 2) Eat something — my appetite goes out the window when I’m depressed — so really anything but for me it’s usually a mix of carbs and protein, usually cheese, turkey, slice of bread, and an apple 3) Human interaction — even if I have to fake happiness. I usually come away feeling better. If I’m severely depressed I can only interact with specific people who love me in spite of my issues. In other words, interacting with the wrong people can make me feel worse. If I’m being hit with the dreadful beast of anxiety, having a glass of wine helps. Lastly, something I call purge-writing helps whether I’m fighting depression or anxiety. I simply write (or type) everything that’s in my head and refuse to edit myself.


    • It helps me to push myself to interact. I always dread it but it almost always goes well. The purge writing is a great idea. I do it when I have writer’s block. I’m sensing a theme here: getting outdoors, exercise, interaction. and a little wine now and then.


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