Depressed jobseeker? Pick up your perk!

edit: This looks WEIRD on my work computer; if it’s messed up for you too as you read it, fear not. I will fix it when I get home.

Fatigued or downright depressed in your job search? It’s a small comfort to know that you have plenty of company. I struggled, myself, with intense depression and anxiety last year. In recent days, I have apparently joined the ranks of the happily employed, but the fatigue associated with going from a second-shift job to first-shift has been worse than expected. I wanted to get right back in high-gear as soon as I got back to Indianapolis and started my new job Monday. My body clearly had other plans. Anyway, it should be clear that I speak from plenty of experience when it comes to fighting depression and fatigue.

Obviously, if the “blues” stay persistent, or if the depression becomes severe, you shouldn’t just suffer through it like I did. There IS help to fit your income, or lack thereof. The tips below, and some St. John’s Wort, were enough to get me functional most of the time at my worst. But if you need further intervention, don’t hold yourself back from it. You deserve better.

Even at the worst times, I had tried-and-true ways to give myself a shot of perk. Mostly, it’s just about taking a few minutes to pamper yourself. Society says this is a luxury and requires tons of money. I disagree. Here are a quick few tricks; feel more than free to add your own!

- Listen to your body’s call for more sleep. Make sure you’re actually tired and it’s not just the depression.

- Better-sleep tips: Have some chamomile tea if you have anxiety that’s making sleep difficult. Brew your own teas for pennies a cup, and scoff at people who routinely pay upwards of $3 for the stuff. You can flavor it up with a slice of lemon (or some of that cheapie RealLemon juice). Or add a shot of apple juice, at less than a buck for a can of concentrate. I take some valerian root capsules with my evening chamomile. You can find cheapie-brands at Walgreens, Target, Wal-mart, etc. Be warned, it tastes GROSS, so you’re going to need that budget-gourmet tea afterward. Still can’t sleep? Run by the local headshop/stoner store and pick up some Morningstar brand Japanese incense in lavender. It’s aromatherapy you can practically afford with couch-change. You’ll be more awake and productive in the morning.

- Trade backrubs with a friend. Or your significant other/spouse, if you have one. I still have tension and pain issues from all the stress knotting up my neck, shoulders, and back. It would surely have been worse if I hadn’t volunteered as a guinea pig for a friend who wanted practice while in massage-therapy school. (But even the most untrained layperson can be helpful.) There are about a million ways to get absolutely free massages.

- LAY OFF the energy drinks. They’re super expensive and will actually only make you feel worse. I say this even though I’m an energy-drink addict. But I really do feel better on days, like today, when I abstain from drinking them. Try tea. Even coffee is better, if you use moderation. If you have as fierce a habit as I’m weaning myself from, you’ll probably need some ibuprofen for the caffeine-withdrawal headaches.

- If you really feel that you must have an energy drink, go sugar-free at least. But Red Bull is the only brand I’ve found that does sugar-free that doesn’t taste awful, and it’s the most expensive brand. (I’d also suggest avoiding Rockstar. Here’s why.)

- Get a bicycle. Craigslist, thrift, or get one at a yard sale for $40 or less. Use it whenever you can. Biking to the store doesn’t just save you lots of gas money, it feels REALLY good. Get a nice-size bike basket and wear a backpack, so you’ll have room. I’ve also seen people use those little behind-the-bike trailers that are advertised for letting toddlers ride in. That makes more sense to me. I’d rather break an egg than a kid if I hit a bad bump. These little trailers get costly, though, even on Craigslist.

- Finally, my favorite: Jam out. Everyone can come up with at least 3 to 5 songs that ALWAYS put them in a good mood. Capitalize on this. Here are some that do the trick for me:

“Glad to Be Alive” by Cowboy Mouth (WEIRD slide show, sorry, it was the only video I could find for this song.)

“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World (video probably NSFW–underwear)

“Robots” by Flight of the Conchords

“Hook” by Blues Traveler

“This Much Fun” by Cowboy Mouth

Go forth, rock out, feel better, and re-gain your edge.