Helping You Help Yourself #27

Tips for exercising when you’re depressed, a difficult proposition for many — while exercising can make you less depressed, many of us are too depressed to exercise for our depression. This article gets it!

Wikihow has some thoughts on being the best you can be.

I read this interview with artist and musician Shira Erlichman which is mostly about her and her work, but I thought you might get something out of it, especially this part where she’s talking about how she felt for a long time like she should be able to live without medication and accepting that there was nothing wrong with needing it.

I had a part of stigma whispering in my ear, not shouting, but whispering, “There is another way to do this. Maybe if you change your diet completely,” which I did. “Maybe if you exercise every day.” So I changed my diet. I exercised every day. I went down on my Lithium. And I was still on it, a teeny bit, when I had my break. It just shows. It’s like, “Girl, why are you beating yourself?” That’s the main thing I want sometimes to give people. You don’t have to take a chisel and stone and chisel hard at your being. You can rest. You can find what works for you and feel a lack of judgment there.

Women on how to make friends.

On remembering names of people you meet.

A truly impressive list of ways to get rid of household bugs.

What to do if you have fish bones in your throat.

On cleaning sources of lingering smells in your kitchen: your trash can, recycling and garbage disposal.

This sounds fake but ok: seven ways to wake up in the morning without coffee.

Summer’s not here yet, but it will be soon: how to get your home ready.

An app that analyzes your spending not just on budgeting, but on credit card rewards, letting you see how much you’ve earned and how much you could earn with a different card.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I quit coffee and switched to green tea about 2 months ago. It’s great! The one huge benefit is that I feel like green tea helps me re-hydrate a lot more than coffee in the morning. Oh also maybe the fact that I used to have extra heartbeats all the time, and even though I was only drinking one cup of coffee a day, quitting altogether completely erased the heart thing !

    The thing I was most scared about actually wasn’t waking up but pooping. As someone with a history of serious constipation, I used to rely on morning coffee to ahem… wake up my bowels. I thought quitting coffee would mean I would get constipated more but I didn’t!

    As for waking up… well it’s true that sunlight helps (I was woken up at 5:30 this morning by daylight). But it’s bullshit to assume that that would work for everybody. It works for *me* because i’m a morning person, and in fact I quit coffee when I realised that I actually don’t need it to wake up in the morning at all. I also have the luxury of being in a job where I can get an extra 30 minutes (to an hour) of sleep in the morning if I really need it most days.

    So. keep on drinking your coffee if you really need it to wake up guys <3.

  2. Patrick Allen is an alien and if he gets between me and my morning coffee (or any coffee I’m drinking, for that matter), that will be the end of the aliens.

    • if the X-Files had starred you and Patrick Allen the show could have ended after one season!

  3. Excellent, now I’m also prepared to reap my fish bone rewards and deal with a credit card stuck in my throat!

  4. The exercising while depressed piece was super interesting. It made me realize just how different exercising while depressed is for athletes and for non-athletes, because the tips in the article were sooo different than the tricks I’ve learned as a depressed athlete (where it’s less of a “how can you move your body in a healthy way and remember that there’s no ‘perfect’ body” thing and more of a “you’ve got to get your sprints and lifts in – let’s figure out a way to do that when showering feels like a monumental task.”)

    • Yeah I mean my strategy as a depressed varsity athlete in college was to quick track and switch to club rugby and it did WONDERs for my mental health. “Just quit!” is not the advice anyone wants to hear (and obvi isn’t good advice for some) but I’m a big supporter of quitting your varsity sport if it’s making you depressed.

      This is what I’ve learned this past year as a post-college athlete which really isn’t all that applicable for college athletes since you do basically all your workouts in college with your teammates and may not be applicable to anyone but me haha BUT maybe it’ll help someone to put it out here-

      (sorry for the awkward second person – idk why I chose to do that)

      1. Do not go home after work and then try to work out. You will be sucked on your couch and never leave. Go straight to the gym after work and/or only workout in the morning.
      2. If you’re feeling yucky, you can tell yourself that you can go home as soon as you step foot in the gym but usually at that point it’s easier to just workout.
      3. Take advantage of as much sunlight as you can. Workout outside when it is sunny. Even if it’s freezing, if it’s sunny you should be outside and not on a treadmill even if you could run a lot faster and/or do intervals on the treadmill rather than a slow jog outside. Sunlight > a superior workout.
      4. Exercise in the morning. Helps make work bearable. Helps you get out of bed because working out is the only thing that makes you feel ok and if you stay in bed you’ll have less time for that. (The transition sucks but once your body gets used to it, it’s a lot easier.)
      5. Invest in dry shampoo.
      6. Super angry and misogynistic hip hop and rock makes for the best depressed workout music. Low risk of having feelings (unless it gets TOO celebratory of sexual violence and then you might start having those kind of feelings but that only happened once after the workout was over.) Sad + blah => anger a lot easier than sad + blah => joy. Feeling angry during a workout leads to a good one and makes it so much less likely you’ll end up hiding in the stairwell and crying between sets. (And don’t try to workout without music – too likely you’ll get lost in your thoughts and start crying.)
      7. If you start crying, take a long break. And consider ending the workout entirely.
      8. Tell your teammates what’s going on (I never did this but it’s probably good advice.)
      9. Tell your coach what’s going on (I also never did this but it’s probably good advice.)
      10. Never skip practice.
      11. (Totally contradictory advice to the Establishment piece) Implement as much structure as you can. I tried having a floating “day off” but that just threw me off. Instead, having a set day where I just stretched was really helpful. I also followed a lifting plan rather than just going to a gym and making it up as I went along. (Some months I had a set sprinting plan but in the winter it was really just based on the weather but it was helpful to have that as a constraint.)

      Bonus food advice: Make sure you get at least a little protein and veggies in but after that just make sure you get enough calories in. (At least for me, being hungry just makes me feel worse.) The winter before last I think half of my calories came from Lindt chocolate truffles because that’s the only thing I actually wanted to eat. Microwaved sweet potato stuffed with cheese + a bag of chocolate was my go-to dinner and it got me through the winter.

  5. That Shira Erlichman interview is incredible. I had no idea how badly I needed to read those words today. THANK YOU. I’d never heard of her or her work before, but I’m a fan now!

  6. So happy to see Shira here! She is a wonder/goddess/hero who adds so much light to the world.

  7. I will have to focus really hard on not just giving you hugs off the blue when I see you at camp, Rachel

    • Did you have a fish bone stuck in your throat?? Regardless I am excited for these hugs!

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