Find Your Happy

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about depression. We know what depression looks like: loss of interest, depressed moods, low energy, no motivation, feelings of hopelessness. But, do we know what we can do about it?

“A variety of professional treatments are available, but there are also many things people can do to improve their own overall mood,” said Jeanette Hoelzer, LCPC, at Memorial Physician Services. “The first step includes taking on small, new tasks and integrating positive activities into your daily routine.”

Examples of Positive Replacement Activities

  • Go for a short walk instead of watching a TV show
  • Eat dinner outside on the deck instead of inside
  • Substitute a bubble bath for a shower
  • Meet a friend for lunch instead of eating at your desk

People struggling with depression often complain of low energy and little pleasure in doing activities they once loved. There’s no doubt it’s difficult to engage in new activities, especially social activities, when one doesn’t feel well.

Three Steps to Incorporate and Sustain New Activities

First, it always helps to try something new with someone else. Go for a stroll at the farmers market, or attend a free community activity through the park district.

Second, start with small changes. Often when we decide we are ready to change, we want to change everything right away. Sustainable change happens slowly. For example, completely cutting out junk food may be an ideal goal, but it will be difficult to maintain. Instead, focus on skipping dessert every other night, or include a half plate of vegetables for one meal.

Finally, start paying attention to what brings you joy. What do you like to do, and what do you wish you could do with more time, energy, or motivation? There are local and affordable cooking classes, art classes and clubs for almost every interest.

Help is Available

If you try these suggestions and still are struggling to find joy, take the Memorial Behavioral Health free, online screening or call 217-788-4065.

Jeanette Hoelzer is a licensed clinical professional counselor at Memorial Physician Services– Chatham. She provides a full range of mental health services and specializes in treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and trauma. Jeanette has worked in the behavioral health field since 2009 and has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has focused much of her work on serving the LGBTQ community and on training related to sexual and gender identity.