overcoming depression - By Megan Kelly

5 Things I Did to Make Me Happier

In November, I started going through a downward spiral. For so long, I had a hold on my depression and almost knew what to look out for and ways to ease it but then November rolled around, and I felt like the breath had been kicked from my body. By January, I decided I needed to make some changes in hopes of living a happier life. So far, I have been doing better and while there are certainly things I wish to add, here are just a few things I started with.

  1. Limit and cut back on social media

Both my blog and work require me to be on social media, which means a lot of my day is spent mindlessly scrolling through tweets and feeds. I don’t know what exactly inspired the change, but I guess it could have been when I realized that I was trying to explain to my husband how a person I didn’t even know IRL had just taken a virtual shit on my day. He looked at me with a quizzical look, the sort that made me feel like he was wondering when he should gesture to my friends and family to walk in for my impending intervention. I realized that social media wasn’t adding any value to my life and that there was a life worth living free from the screen. So, I logged off. At first, it was just for a day – and then two – and before I knew it, it just didn’t matter anymore. Suddenly, I had free time to paint my nails, catch up on YouTube or play with the kids, free from the anxiety of everyone’s expectations.

  1. Reclaim my social media

It was unrealistic thinking that I could be completely free from social media, so I knew that I needed to reclaim my space by taking control of who I follow. Twitter is no longer my favourite platform as it has become so negative and seems that behind every tweet is a bitchy fight waiting to happen. So, I have focused more on Instagram and following accounts that inspire, motivate, and encourage me. I have also introduced #MyWeeklyWin, where I share a few highlights from my week – big or small – so that at the end of the year, I will have a bunch of positive things to look back on.

  1. I focused on my marriage

There is no one who makes me happier than my husband. Much of December and January we focused on us. We started saying no to the things that neither of us wanted to do or attend and said yes to doing more of what made us happy. We took walks around the neighbourhood, made smores on the braai, drove around searching for Christmas lights, and sipped on a beer while we watched the sunset. We worked through the holiday season but made time for us and the boys and it remains a highlight!

On the eve of our wedding, my dad gave my husband one piece of advice; put your marriage first. At first D thought it was bizarre. Surely, you should put your kids first? But the older we get, the more we realize how right my dad is. Our marriage is the foundation of our family and what holds us all together, so it’s important to nurture it.

  1. I created a schedule

I run our business, work full-time and blog when I get the chance so it’s easy to see why life can feel overwhelming. In the middle of January business started getting busy – the sort of busy that I could no longer keep up – so I decided to start scheduling my time. I suck at keeping a diary of things and always rely on my memory to remember what needs to be done, but it soon became impossible to keep track of so many moving balls and giving in to a formal diary brought me a great deal of peace, by feeling in control of my days.

  1. I became my own hero

One of the things that broke me down the hardest over the December period was being let down. I always find one or two people who I hold up on a pedestal. The problem is that the higher you put them up, the higher they fall down from, and you’re bound to get hurt along the way. I am so tired of being disappointed and decided that I can’t count on anyone but me, so it’s time I became my own hero. I realized that I sort of am a badass in my own right and that I deserve the recognition I give to so many others. It’s ok to be proud and confident of just how much I have accomplished and am yet to achieve.

So that’s how I changed the ending of my year around – what do you do to make yourself feel better?

I am the creator behind By Megan Kelly, mom of two boys, named Axl (4-years old) and Eli (1-year old), and local business owner of Dr. Design. I live on copious amounts of coffee, spend my free time listening to podcasts while I garden or journal, and really enjoy baking fresh treats for my family. On the weekends, you’ll likely find me exploring our local city, looking for new family-friendly places for our kids, but that’s only if I am not already shouting at the soccer on TV. I support Tottenham and enjoy pretending to know what  I am doing in the Fantasy League, but really I am just in it for the laughs. I can be bribed with chocolate and will never admit to having too much makeup – although, I probably do.

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  • Janel Sunderlall
    Posted at 05:52h, 23 February

    We all go through this Megan. I am glad that you are feeling better and inspired. Dont let people and circumstances that dont matter rent a space in your head. I am totally guilty of that and i am working on it. I love the honesty in this post and i especially love #MyWeeklyWin. When i read about your week it inspires me to make more time for myself👍 much love to you😘😘

  • An Ordinary Gal
    Posted at 08:43h, 21 February

    I love this post…and love the steps you’ve taken to ‘reclaim your life’.

    So with you about Twitter. I actually am trying to limit my interaction. It’s so easy to be a bitch on social media….but our words have consequences. I’m always mindful of my tone, because I’ve been left feeling snubbed many a days.

    The thing with marriage….I always tell my husband…in 20yrs the kids will have their own lives and we are then stuck with each other. We still need to be in love and have something in common, besides our obsession with our kids. It’s something I firmly believe in…the marriage has to come first. And in the end it’s something our kids would one day aspire to have <3

    Going to really make an effort to stop the mindless social media scrolling and focus on my kids more (and my husband)…thanks for this post.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 16:08h, 22 February

      Ahhh, what a wonderful comment. So glad you enjoyed this post and really love what you say about marriage.

  • Anusha Naidoo
    Posted at 23:35h, 20 February

    Thank you for a inspiring article I suffer with severe bouts of depression, it started when my hubby passed away and I was left a young widow with a little daughter to raise. I have been for counseling , been on meds ….nothing really helped I am doing it my way now I started my own form of therapy arts and crafts being creative keeps me happy and occupied , also great self satisfaction. But the loss of him will never go away.
    You are a amazing and incredible inspiration to me . Lots of love and blessings

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 16:10h, 22 February

      Hey Anusha, thanks so much for sharing your story. I do agree! Everyone has to find what works for them. For my husband, that means meds but for me, it means finding coping mechanisms. I am so glad that you have found that crafts help but you’re right, the sadness is always there and we just learn to handle it better. You’re incredibly strong!

  • biancaerasmus
    Posted at 16:13h, 20 February

    I started tutoring this year. Some days I wonder: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! So many learners, so much driving, so much prepping, but then I realise that I actually love it. I love “my” kids. Now I need to use a diary to plan my day or else I get anxiety. I hope you feel better!

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 17:07h, 20 February

      That’s wonderful B. Glad you have found something you enjoy – what are you tutoring?

  • _eatwithaspoon
    Posted at 16:10h, 20 February

    You ARE a badass! These are all amazing ways to feel in control and push that depression demon away, well done! If it helps, your ambition, drive and obvious love and loyalty towards your family and friends is hugely motivating to people like me. I just thought I’d share that 😉

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 17:06h, 20 February

      Awh thanks so much! This comment has brightened my day on so many levels – really appreciate it!

  • Dee
    Posted at 15:53h, 20 February

    Do u take med? I recently started and find that i have more anxiety while driving (but only in certain situations like mountains and between traffic cones) i have no idea its totally weird

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 17:04h, 20 February

      Hey Dee, I don’t take meds. My husband does – he has bi-polar depression and uses meds to manage but I have decided not to medicate. Have you chatted to your doc? There is usually an adjustment period where you might experience increased anxiety. I hope it passes soon!