OTHER COPING TIPS
This is a ‘Feel-good’ resource list of which we hope at least some will prove useful for anyone experiencing low moods. Maybe you will find something here that will help to positively distract you while your recovery unfolds.There is nothing more therapeutic than sharing your feelings with someone who will listen actively without judgement. If you are isolated at this time and have no one to talk things over with, you could speak to a helpline worker (UK, US, worldwide); you will be anonymous and can express freely.
If your symptoms are not very intense and you can tolerate a little stimulation, try to do some form of low-impact or gentle exercise. Exercise is recognised as being effective in overcoming depression. We know this can be difficult if experiencing muscle/joint pain and other benzo withdrawal symptoms, but even a short leisurely walk is better than nothing. If you are housebound maybe you could do even 5 minutes of on-the-spot walking or simple stretches. Ideally, 20 or 30 minutes will trigger the release of endorphins and elevate your mood. If you haven’t been exercising, resist implementing a rigorous exercise programme at this time as the over-stimulation may exacerbate your symptoms.
Making a “sunshine” box to keep you going on the more challenging days is something that works for a lot of people. Find an attractive box and fill it with uplifting items: You could print off your favourite benzo or A/D success stories, get or make a book of inspirational quotations, add a cute stuffed toy and make a gratitude list or write affirmations using cheerful markers; what about a DVD of your favourite funny movie, photos and cards that bring happy memories and/or make you feel good, maybe a pressed flower from someone special, other memorabilia of happy times, one or two of your favourite books, loving letters you’ve received, clippings of jokes and funny stories that you’ve found either online, in a magazine or in the newspaper; you can write notes to yourself telling yourself that you’re strong, you’ll make it, everything is going to be okay, etc… maybe add a hanky or something with your favourite smell, an amethyst, rose quartz or other crystal and a packet of almonds or your best healthy snack.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just curl up on the sofa with all your favourite things that will help you to forget your troubles, indulge the senses and nurture yourself? If this is too “girlie” for the men, what about printing off your favourite success stories, jokes and funny stories? Then keep them in one place, add your favourite funny movie, book and magazine. It can take time to complete the box as you will most likely put it together on the days when you feel well enough to do so, but at least you’ll have the things that uplift you handy for when you need them. Why not try it? We guarantee you’ll love it!
Some of the following activities should also help, especially after you’ve spoken to someone and are feeling lighter.
Rent a good collection of funny movies and watch them often.
Play a mentally stimulating word game such as Scrabble Zing or Bookworm to distract yourself and keep intellectually motivated.
Candlelight isn’t only romantic, it is a mood enhancer. Stock up on some good quality, mildly scented candles and enjoy the ambience.
Yoga – Even a simple yoga routine can enhance well-being and increase fitness. Doing yoga is like having an internal massage – it tones the organs and helps to relax you in the process.
Only you will know what makes a good read for you. If you like romance novels, mysteries, glossy magazines, whatever your taste… keep a few close to hand for when you’re in the mood.
Soothing and uplifting music can work wonders. Keep a compilation of your favourite pick-me-up music handy.
A good, gentle massage can be soothing if you are not sensitive to touch. If you can’t afford to pay for one and there is no one around to practise on you, you can do a gentle self-massage. You will feel the difference. Caution: Like rigorous exercise, deep tissue, very stimulating massages can exacerbate symptoms if you are experiencing an intense withdrawal. If you are having deep-tissue pain or notice that you are sensitive to touch, then it is best not to have massages at this time.
Links to the other pages in this ‘Resources’ section: