Playing video games - a way that I cope.

As we have previously discussed on this blog, playing video games is a good way to deal with/distract yourself from depression.  I've been playing the Sims 4 and since I don't have any place else to share this, I am going to share some Sims 4 challenges that I have come up with.   I don't know if any of my readers play the Sims or follow the Sims, but if you do, you probably know that it's a very open ended game and it's fun, for a while, but then if you don't have something to make your Sims do or cope with, it's not any kind of a challenge.   The 100 baby challenge is very popular right now, where you make your Sim have as many babies as you can and then when she gets too old, you choose her youngest daughter and she has as many babies as she can.  I like this one, but I've never made it very far.  I get bored before I get anywhere near 100.   So, on my own, I came up with the 26 baby challenge.  Have 1 baby for each letter of the alphabet and name them that way, Archer, Becca, Caleb … etc.   This would have the same rules as the 100 baby challenge otherwise. 

Here are a few of my other ideas, not completely fleshed out as all the rules go, but the community can come up with those, I'm sure. 

1.  Homeless challenge.  This one has already been done, but the way I do it may be a little different.  I get the Sim a lot, but no home.  He or she has an aspiration of having a mansion.  They can work or earn money by freelancing, gathering produce, fishing or whatever.   They can invite themselves to picnics that other sims are having in the park and go to the gym to take a shower.  As they earn money, they can build a home.  The first home I usually build for them is just a little room with a toilet in it, because that seems like the most important thing.  Then we progress to a toilet, a bed and a fridge.  Before the bed, they have to sleep on park benches.  When they get the mansion baron aspiration completed, you win. 

Variation one:  After they get a decent sized home, they can (if you want) have them run a homeless shelter, by taking in town Sims and giving them makeovers, getting them skills, maybe a 5 in 3 different skills and moving them out.  It's a lot of fun giving these people makeovers.  :-) 

Variation two:  They can start out as a homeless single parent, with a baby or toddler, child or teenager or they can have a partner and be an entire homeless family.  You will need to have baby and toddler essentials. 

Variation three:  They inherit a mansion but no furniture or furnishings of any kind.  They are penniless at the beginning but they can fish, work, garden, gather, freelance or anything to earn the furnishings of the home.  Mansion baron aspiration. 

Variation four:   You do a 10 or 5 or 3  minute challenge build for them (depending on how good you are).  All the house you can build in your limited minutes is what they get to live in.   Then, take away all their remaining money and they have to figure out how to get by until they can get their house finished. 

Gardener Challenge:  Get one of every kind of plant that exists in the Sims 4 game version that you own (except the cowplant - you don' t have to go there).  There's a list here.   You could also just gather, say, 15 different types of plants and have them growing in your yard.  Harvestable plants are growing all over the place. They sparkle so they're easy to find.  You can eat them or plant them. 

Dicey Decisions:  Get a set of D&D dice and roll them to make ALL of your decisions.  What hairstyle, what aspirations, what d├ęcor, etc.   It's very fun and you may enjoy some of the choices you would have ordinarily made on your own. 

Of course, exercise.

There are millions of studies that show that exercise is great for you in every way, but here's another one, specifically targeting depression symptoms. Harvard Study

I recommend doing a few of these videos.  Just get up and do it, even if you don't feel like it and don't want to.  If you, like me, can't do all the exercises because of bad knees, just keep moving. 

There's a good collection of depression hotline numbers here.   Depression hotlines.

You can also call and speak to a pastor at (800) 525-LOVE (5683).

Give yourself a hug!

It sounds weird, but as we have found on this blog, weird things work.  Our bodies react to the act of crossing your arms and hugging yourself with a reduction in sensations of pain and a sense of safety.  It helps you feel loved and care for.

Another good article on AT.

Apartment therapy did an article about how to feel like a new person in 15 minutes.  It is a 3 step process to help you get out of a funk or a bad mood.   It includes some things we haven't discussed on this blog.  The most surprising thing to me was the benefit (to your mood) of washing your hands.   I'll let you go over there and read the other 2.  I did it today.  I think maybe it helped.

Apartment Therapy - How to Feel Like a New Person in 15 minutes.

As we go into the holidays.

Take care of yourself and do a good deed for someone else.  The holidays is the perfect time.  Here's one I saw this morning, World Vision has some gifts that multiply 8x because they have people who will match other's giving.  So if you give 10 dollars, it does 80 dollars worth of good.  It feels good too.  

An unexpected help for depression.

Okay, this is a weird one.   Apparently eating red meat halves the incidence of depression?   Who would have thought red meat was good for you?

Here's the article. 

Have a burger while you are reading it.

Self Talk in the Third Person.

Apparently, talking about yourself in the third person, acting as a narrator for your own life, helps you deal with stress.  It is well demonstrated in this video from Good Mythical Morning.   Here's a link to the study and to another article about it.   I wonder what other parts of my psyche this could help.  Could it help dieting?  Should I get up in the morning and say something like "D. is in control of her diet" "D. is looking forward to exercising today."  ?  Hmm.  It's funny how many of these little tricks there are.   This one is definitely worth a

Tah- Dah!

This is a link to a satisfying way to end the day, by writing down the things that you did accomplish and I think we should add also, things that went well.  One of the commenters, Jean, says that she does this every day and calls it her Tah-Dah list.  How clever is that?  Write down everything that you accomplished and everything that went well every day. 

More, More, More on Writing.

Turning Trauma into Story

Turn your hard time into a story and transform your life.

Trauma and the benefits of writing about it.

Don't just read these, actually do it.  Get whatever scrap of paper you can find, write out what happened to you and how it made you feel, as if you were writing a story, then throw it away.  Do it again tomorrow.  Then after that, start writing down things that you are thankful for every day, no matter how small and ridiculous they might be.  Write it down. 

It may save your life.

Write it down!

There are so many things that are good about writing.   It helps with grief and trauma and general sadness.  It helps in the short term and in the long term.

Trauma and the benefits of writing about it.



It actually helps with physical pain symptoms and causes a rise in immune system functioning.  It's amazing.

Narrative   Apparently it helps much more if you try to write your experiences as a story, as if you were telling someone else, rather than just listing things or writing randomly.  Something about trying to put your thoughts in order to make it understandable as if to another person, helps in the process.

Find a private space and write.  It will be hard, but it will help, both now and in the future and bring about that elusive posttraumatic growth.


This is a great article about how giving to charity actually makes you wealthier.  It's very interesting and I believe it's a God thing. 

Why Giving Matters

If you keep reading down to the bottom it says this. 

"People who give to charity are 43 percent more likely than people who don’t give to say they’re very happy people. People who give blood are twice as likely to say they’re very happy people as people who don’t give blood. People who volunteer are happier. The list goes on. You simply can’t find any kind of service that won’t make you happier."

So, find a place to volunteer.  Look at Volunteer Match on line or call a local hospital or Head Start Center and ask to volunteer.  If you are not up to that, give money to a charity, even if it's just a little bit.  Put a quarter in a gumball machine as you walk by and don't get the gumball - let some kid get a great surprise later today.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive through.  Put a note that says "Treat yourself" and a 5 dollar bill in a library book.  (Maybe one about depression?)  Send an anonymous gift to someone.  Send a card to someone you appreciate and thank them.  The list goes on and on and on.  Reach out and make someone else's day brighter and brighten your outlook as well. 

Video Games Can Help.

Interesting article about video games by Jane McGonigal. Go read it.   It seems that video games cause a completely opposite reaction in the brain than depression does.  It seems that some people who play a lot of video games may be self medicating and it also says in this article that video game playing can be addictive. It does mention some good constructive games you might try.  I personally am going to play Beatles Rock Band with my kids.  Singing is good for you.  :-) 

Trying to get back to it.

I came back today to my own blog to look up some of the resources that I've listed before to help myself get back into a better frame of mind.  I've been doing okay, working on dieting and exercising and job hunting (still haven't found one!) and then suddenly this weekend, my husband said something that put me right back into the depression zone.  First I burned with anger for a couple of days then lapsed into despair.  If you're reading this kind of blog, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.  I have spent the last 3 or 4 days trying to work up any kind of enthusiasm for life at all.  Really, it's not that bad, but I over-react.  I go from 0 to panic mode or despair mode or whatever, in less than a second.  I'm fine and then I'm not.  If you were here with me, you might not know because I keep it inside but wow, it's been a rough week.  Today, I got up and filled out 3 or 4 job applications online and I'm sticking to my diet goals for now but I thought - Hey, I need to look at those inspiring Ted Talks again and read some of those articles that I've linked to from my blog. So here I am, looking at my blog and realizing that I haven't written anything in a long, long time and maybe that's why I'm so quick to get off track right now. 

So, why don't you join me?   Let's go back and watch the videos that will help us as we try to cope with whatever it is that we're trying to cope with.

Here are some of my favorites.

The Game that Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life

Reverse Bucket List

Fake Smiling Benefits

Looking at Baby Animals

Power Poses.

Now I'm off to watch the video, make a reverse bucket list, practice my power poses and fake smiles and look at some baby animals.

Join me. 
Okay, he's not a baby animal, but he's comical.  This is my dog, unretouched, I promise, after he went out in the mud.  :-)  His eyes really look like that. 

A dozen helpful thoughts

This is from Proverbs 31 Woman which is from a Christian viewpoint.  A Dozen Helpful Thoughts For When You Feel Depressed. 

I think it would be a good exercise to take each of the questions and write them out in your journal and think about why you might be feeling this way.  Of course I understand if you're tired of everything and don't want to do that.  I know how it feels when everything is exhausting and you don't want to do anything. 

In that case, you might just want to color or write something.  Find a hopeful thought and write it over and over and over.  Use different colors of Sharpies.  I do this and then draw pictures on top of it to make art.  I find it relaxes me, centers me and helps with the depression.  I write Bible verses but if you are not a believer, you can write anything personally meaningful to you. 

Here's a link to some great quotes on hope.  Brainy Quote

Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.

Bradley Whitford

Turmeric as effective as Prozac.

That's what this study says.  I want to try it because I don't enjoy the side effects of Prozac and I do enjoy spicy food.  In our quest to fight depression naturally, this seems like it would be a good ingredient to have on our side.    Unsure how to put turmeric into your diet?  I am too.  I found a few resources though.  Here's an article from Kitchn about how to eat it. and it includes this important note:

"Black pepper improves the bioavailability of turmeric, making smaller doses more effective" 

Here's a chili recipe that includes turmeric.   I may try this one.  Crock Pot 365.    I would think you could put a little bit in most chilis or spicy soups. 

If you don't want to eat it, or if you just don't feel like cooking (I understand) you can take it as a supplement.  Amazon

Apparently it has other benefits too.  Check out this article.   Apparently it helps with artitis and inflammation.  I'd better get onto making this chili.  :-) 

Anything that helps our depression is a tool we can use to overcome it and get back into life.