How To… prepare a “downer” kit.

Everyone gets a little down from time to time. Maybe you had a bad day, maybe you’re hormonal, maybe something serious happened or maybe you’re just born that way. And when you feel like that, there are things you want and need to help you feel better. As someone who lives with these feelings every few weeks and depressive bouts every month or so, I have more of less perfected the art of the “downer” kit. So here is how I make it.

This is part II of my ongoing “housekeeper’s kits” series. For part I, the household first aid kit, click here.

1: The container.

This is more important than it seems. You will need a moderately sized container, about as big as a large makeup bag or tiny backpack.

But it also has to have at least five compartments, if not more, be soft to touch, easy to open and in a soft, engaging colour like a pastel pink, yellow or green, bright white or something metallic. The reason for the compartments is so that it doesn’t need sorting, because the last thing you need is to dig through piles of things you don’t want looking for the one single thing you do want. The reason for the softness and easy-open is because when you are depressed your hormones are everywhere, which can cause crying (blurred vision and headaches) and wobbly hands (not best combined with fiddly clasps or sharp edges). And the reason for the colour is because you want something you can look at without hurting your eyes if you have a headache and that inspires energy and joy when you look at it.

2: Diet.

Far more important than you would guess. When you’re down you obviously crave certain comfort foods, but you also need to boost your micronutrients. Try keeping a balance of healthy snacks (dark chocolate, mixed nuts, Nakd bars, etc), healthy comfort food recipe alternatives (mac and cheese, pizza, meatloaf, spagbol, etc) and supplements known to help with depression (omega 3, vitamin B complex, St John’s Wort, evening primrose oil) in your bag at all times.

3: Exercise.

Keeping active helps you elevate your mood and distract yourself from depression. But fighting the lethargy can be hard. Make sure to keep some light weights and hand grips for armchair exercise and a yoga video to watch, to help encourage you to do five or ten minutes here and there.

4: Soothing.

Sometimes you’re feeling very shaky and just need to calm down. No appetite, no energy, no drive at all. You’re not exactly miserable at this point. You just look it and feel very tired or anxious. For these times, you need a soothing set. Keep at least two CD mixes or mp3 playlists with the most calming and happy songs you can find or tolerate when depressed. Have some sunglasses in case you need to go outside and even a sleep mask for when you’re home. Keep a bath salt mix in case the urge to soak in the tub strikes you, but the idea of mixing one is overwhelming. An inflatable neck pillow and a small hot water bottle may also help relax you.

5: Mood elevation.

For when you’re on your way up and need something to help you along or when you’ve just got out of rock bottom and need some distraction, keep some entertaining, exciting things around. A short book of jokes, a comedy or action film or some more invigorating music will help.

6: Human contact.

When you’re depressed, depending on why you’re down and how you deal with it, at some point you may not want to be alone. Try and keep a phonebook with names, house, work and mobile numbers and good contact hours for everyone who could help you in your time of need. This is very useful if you ever feel alone, panicked or paranoid and aren’t sure who to call.

Also, if these bouts are regular, try and have someone as your designated “depression monitor”, to call when you’re scared of hitting rock bottom or finding it hard to get out of bed. This should be someone who can just be there for you, encourage you and perhaps drive you to a new and interesting place to help kick you out of the smaller slumps.

7: Pamper.

Finally, you want to have things to treat yourself with. Massage oils, makeup, a hair styling set, a manicure set and some of your favourite childhood sweets would all be good for this area. Anything small and hard to get your hands on when you don’t even want to leave the house.

And that is what to put into a kit to fight depression, whether you’re just feeling a little down because of the weather or so bad you can’t face the thought of leaving bed.

What would you put into your “downer” kit?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

FitFriday XXI, FatFriday VIII. Depression and Cheesy Nightmares.


Well, I spent the weekend away and between that and a dirty great greasy chicken and chips on our anniversary* my diet was, as predicted, thrown a little. Most of it was perfectly healthy other than the takeaway, but the extra carbs were felt a little. It does feel much better to be back on greens and protein.

Annoyingly depression has hit again and is lingering, so weights are out the window, mild yoga is in when the lethargy isn’t awful, work is unnaturally difficult and my appetite is dead. Probably eating around 1000 calories a day on a good day.

So my choices were:

1: Eat junkier foods, feel worse but have some more energy to do exercise.

2: Take it easy, not eat, lose weight in muscle and fat.

3: Add cheese to everything in an attempt to get my calories up.

Option 3 seemed the wisest. So here I am, getting a little bit sick of cheese, trying to vary it with some chevre (which helps a lot) and hoping my appetite comes back soon and it no longer takes me an hour and a half to eat a salad. Energy levels still low, but you can’t have it all I suppose. I have also added more omega oils and some Vitamin B complex to compensate for the fact I’m living off greens, pickles and eggs.

Next week I hope to be back to my usual self, lifting heavy weights, eating less cheese and more meat and enjoying life again.


The tastiest thing I ate all week was definitely that chevre. To die for, even if it is more cheese.

The naughtiest thing all week was definitely the chicken tikka and chips. Swimming in oil, overly salted and delicious.

I have definitely given in to the lethargy a bit, but I’m worried that the only other option is overwork and complete inability to leave the bedroom or possibly even the bed. I’d rather be part functional than non-functional.

Next week will be lifting weights and eating well and trying to get out of this. Wish me luck.

How did you week go, in fitness and diet terms?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

*Chicken, chips, “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”,  cuddles on the sofa and booze. Don’t go sayin’ romance is dead. :p