Saturday 20th January 2018
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What helps?


A Facebook friend of mine posed this simple two-word question and the thread that followed was epic, so I thought I’d try it here. My answer? Yoga and psychopharmaceuticals.

Posted on December 8th, 2017 94 Comments

94 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Hiking and yoga. And by hiking I mean 15+ miles with at least 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Or, as I did in 32 days this summer, 486 miles with 89,000 feet elevation gain. It… helped.

    • themis says:

      I was going to say ‘yoga and wine,’ but I will second your answer instead. I have mountain trails right out back, and getting up over the ridgeline fixes my brain more than anything. I read an article recently about the soft stimulus that nature provides is the antithesis of the hard, choice-laden stimulus that we get from screens or signs or shelves in the grocery store.

  2. Julie Weinberger says:

    A good cry while watching a tearjerker movie.
    And wine, but in moderation. Too much makes it worse
    A day with no interaction with the world (no phone, no computer, no human contact of any kind. A bit reclusive, but once a year it’s a game changer

  3. Shawna says:

    Ambien and not having to cook tonight.

  4. kiki says:

    Time outside (long walks, yoga in the park, hiking, or just sitting on my patio with a glass of wine), An excellent meal shared with good company (and someone you love so you can dish and reminisce later), and shopping (even if i don’t buy a single thing, just getting out there and seeing all the options fills me with joy)

  5. Maggie says:

    Walking outside 30 min every day, psychopharmaceuticals, pushing myself to socialize with others even when I would rather sit on the couch by myself.

  6. Daphne says:

    Exercise and booze – but not together.

  7. Julie Lee says:

    Putting on my headphones, shutting my bedroom door, and listening to hours of music like a teenager (I only get to do it a couple times a year)…… and daily meditation.

  8. JSL says:

    Dogs, particularly cuddling them and walking them. I have TERRIBLE insomnia and holding a warm pup in my arms helps so much.
    Yoga, specifically Vinyasa.
    Really good food and wine. Cooked and drunk at home in front of the fire.

  9. Bex says:

    Exercise. Reading. Knitting. Spending time with people I love. I tend to brood if I’m alone too much.

  10. c.w. says:

    pilates (for my body and brain) and walking Betty (I NEED to be outside every day for my brain and attitude)

    And being off all electronics (phone, tv. iPad ALL of it by 9 p.m. for my insomnia)

  11. Christine says:

    Birkam yoga and the Sunday Bach Vespers at the Church of the Holy Trinity in NYC.

  12. DeDe says:

    Anything that will make me laugh. High on my list are animal videos (yes, I know, WHAT OF IT) and Scott Lenhart’s 24 Hour Woman calendar ( You can also see some cute animations he did of her here: Protip: waaaaaaait for it).

    Limiting my news intake has been major. I read it second thing in the morning, after this blog, actually (aaaaaaaaaaw), and unless something epic happens, that’s it for the rest of the day. I don’t read any news on the weekend at all (again, unless there’s been something truly massive). I also rarely read opinion pieces and never anything speculative or clickbait-y; I can get worked up on my own just fine, thanks.

    Good self-care: enough sleep, healthy food, as much excercise as I can manage, ample time away from screens of all kinds.

    Music! We just worked our way though a whole lot of 70’s hits via our fave station, WFMU – some of them big ones, some of them forgotten gems, some just plain awful in a good way – and, well, here you go: (Though now I have an important question maybe you can help me with: am I a bad person for not liking Steely Dan? BE HONEST.)

    My husband and I have date nights on Tuesdays each week. We always go to the same place, because he has celiac disease and his options are limited. The food isn’t Instagramable, but the vibe is very chill – it’s a neighborhood pub kinda thing – and we know all the staff. They tell us about their kids and give us free drinks. There used to be a guy who came by with his elderly beagle, who would beg for pickles. Little things like that are major sanity protectors for me.

    And last but not least…GOACA. Seriously. This place and everyone associated with it freekin’ ROCKS.


    • Dana D says:


      Yes to the all caps.

      Yoga, running, cycling, wine, friendship, reading.

    • Debra says:

      Yes, DeDe, you are a bad person for not liking Steely Dan. But I forgive you. 😉 Give Black Cow a listen and get back to me.

    • Monique says:

      DeDe, I loved all of these and especially wanted to say, I too do not care for Steely Dan and suffer the disdain of those who think I am misguided. I simply put on Barry White on headphones and sing at the top of my lungs and know, really I (and you, DeDe) am right. Also, love WFMU in our house.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      DeDe, I just don’t know how I’ll respect you in the morning knowing that you don’t like Steely Dan. No to “Dirty Work”? Nay to “Pretzel Logic”?
      Ah, but I still love you. 😉

      All caps…😂

  13. Maggie says:

    A good book and my two insane kittens.

  14. Jessie says:

    Alone time. Hugs. Tara Brach’s guided meditations.

  15. Aaryn says:

    Walks on the beach with no specific end time.
    Loving harder.
    Laughing harder.
    Feeding my friends homemade meals.
    Helping those worse off than myself.

  16. Colette says:

    Long walks ALONE. Getting into bed even earlier. Getting up early enough to have a leisurely breakfast and browse the internet before going to work.

  17. Darcy says:

    Throwing in the towel and just going to bed early and starting again tomorrow.

    Also, cleaning the house or hiring someone to clean it. An organized space that looks pretty and smells fresh can usher in some true peace of mind.

    • moi says:


      Everything always looks better in the morning.

      As for a clean house, my girlfriends tease me about mine. I tell them: A. I grew up with a German mother, it’s in my genes, and B. It’s absolutely necessary to my mental health. It’s amazing what an hour scrubbing the kitchen can do for my outlook.

  18. Mary Alice says:

    Really good books, my nutcase puppy, and Dodgers baseball.

  19. Nora says:

    A walk and a cup of tea. In my experience, there is no situation which cannot be improved by these two things. (I’m not even British).

  20. Lisa says:

    Yoga and stillness.

  21. Robyn says:

    Yoga and a daily seated meditation practice make me a much more patient, grounded, and nicer person. Since I quit my job over a year ago and began working alone at home, finding community and regular time with good girlfriends has been key as well. My community is mostly my yoga community, and that’s working just fine for me.

  22. Betsy says:

    Exercise. Gratitude exercises. Volunteering. There is so much heartache and need in the world. Doing one or two things a week to assuage that has changed my life.

  23. Another Rebecca says:

    Sunshine, laughing, and any physical activity that makes me feel strong. Putting goodness into the world in any form: volunteering, donating, or even just offering a kind word to someone who could use it. I like to go on Twitter and say nice things to strangers.

  24. Susanna says:

    Farmer’s market and putting my hands on the bounty of the earth. And cooking, which has become my therapy. And yoga, definitely.

  25. mlinky says:

    Horses, pilates, and a darned good chiropractor.

  26. RebeccaNYC says:

    PureBarre followed by 24 hours completely alone in my own home. Listening to early choral music whilst drinking a really good bottle of wine.

  27. Hick from Styx says:

    Going to visit my dad. Today I saw a photo of him as a little boy. He’s lived through all the 20th century could conjure up. He is strong yet gentle, hopeful but not gullible, kind and not bitter, still independent and mobile. I love his perspective on life. It’s all about perspective. How many problems will matter decades from now?

    • Jana says:

      I love this, Hick from Styx–it made me tear up. Sounds like my own dear, dear father.

      I suspect he would rave about you, too.

    • jackie cohen says:

      wow, this made me tear up.
      My sweet father is gone 1 year …. He was 90 years old when he died but still too soon.
      Savor your time together.

  28. Erica says:

    A good cocktail
    Really good friends
    Getting out in the woods, just my dog and I.
    Reading thrillers

  29. Jess says:

    Being so consumed by work that I literally have no energy to think about anything else.

    Well, I suppose that doesn’t HELP. But it’s what i do.

  30. karen says:

    pretending i am getting a grammy/oscar/emmy (pick award of your choice)….imaging what i am wearing as i walk the red carpet….then accepting my award and giving my speach…talking those who have “helped me”..and keeping it nice but getting my real feelings in there…(ie thanks to all of have kept me on my toes and showed me that i can do more than i thought by forgeting to foward an email with a noon deadline until 11:oo)…

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Matcha. Wool socks. Pod Save America, especially when Erin Gloria Ryan is featured (can’t wait for Girls Just Wanna Have Pod). Emmylou Harris.

  32. Jill says:

    Boxing and meditation.

  33. Grian says:

    Bird feeder, viewable from kitchen window.

  34. Joanne says:

    Magnesium powder, amazing for night sweats and a deep sleep.
    Dark chocolate
    Service to others
    Accepting compliments
    Gardening and houseplants
    My crazy cats

  35. suz says:

    Re-reading old childhood favourites, not nesc children’s books, that are open and optimistic, fanciful. They wipe the slate.

    Walks/hikes. Any sort of walk helps, urban or nature.


    Quite a lot of tea

  36. CG says:

    Quitting Facebook, sage tea, working out.

  37. Martina says:

    Zumba and volunteering at Nutcracker. Especially when I get to be the greeter Bear, like today.

  38. Lori says:

    Romance novels

  39. Karla says:

    Seeing a friend
    More cooking
    Gyrotonics (sort of like Pilates but different)
    Deciding to do one thing on the list and not think about the next thing until I’ve finished the first thing
    Giving up, going to bed, and starting fresh tomorrow
    A bath
    Spending the day in bed

  40. Sxydocma1 says:

    Reading to my 10 year old daughter and running.

  41. Cedar says:

    Walking everywhere
    Singing in church
    reading mystery novels in the bath
    tea and popcorn
    making soup
    snuggling with my husband

  42. Liz says:

    Running and dark chocolate

  43. Emma says:

    dogs, baked goods, a nap, a hot shower, a spritz of perfume.

  44. Sheila says:

    Dogs, dogs, dogs
    Psychopharmaceuticals (I’m an enthusiast)
    Chocolate or carbs
    Teaching. I swear the endorphins from doing a good lecture and having a genuine discussion with students are what take me through most days.
    Writing, when it flows.

  45. y.k. says:

    pilates. yoga. walking in the cold. a good movie!
    books used to help, but not lately..

  46. AmyM says:

    Dogs. Listening to random podcasts and learning things I never knew I wanted to know. Marveling at my ability to cook myself a delicious meal (it’s a recent development).

  47. Sally says:

    Walking with dogs early in the morning when it is still quiet, time alone, music, dancing, having time to be with friends, exploring a new place, HUMOR and a lot of laughing. Hearing good news.

  48. Caroline says:

    Definitely the simple stuff.
    Everyone out the door with out fighting (I have a 13 year old,but a girl can dream!)
    Lock myself in my little studio with a nice cup of tea.
    Having a good productive day lets me hold my head a little higher.
    Be a little calmer.
    A lovely dinner with friends/ love ones. Never enough time for that these days!
    And yes, laughing til I’m crying.
    Sometimes just an attitude adjustment. Try to find the joy.

  49. Bethany A Ball says:

    Definitely meditation and mantra first and foremost, the occasional xanax, CBD oil. Pouring angst and anxiety into my work and the attempt to turn everything awful into something at least somewhat humorous.

    My friends.

    Smart websites like this one.

  50. joannawnyc says:

    1. Self-care (which, at times, has encompassed nearly All of the Above)
    2. A schedule



    3. Scheduled self-care.

  51. Shannon says:

    Reading, adventure planning, wine, meditation and listening to my inner voice. She’s usually right.

  52. Debra says:

    Walking, music, classic movies, journaling, reading. Wish I had a dog but life isn’t set up for that now.

  53. Virginia says:

    Volunteer and sponsor work…lots of it
    Yoga, teaching in a studio and taking it into rehabs and jail
    Meditation and Pranayama…lots of it
    Books, rereading children’s classics and modern literature
    Listening to others when they talk…sometimes it’s very difficult
    Finding the right gift for someone
    Checking in with my grown sons every day…or week
    Traveling to places I’ve never been every year
    Laughing, but not at someone’s expense…trying not to anyway
    Essential Oils have been a beautiful distraction…check out blue spruce
    and Definitely, cute animal videos have kept me sane since last November…just barely

  54. Nicole says:

    Running, my kittens, lipstick, music, looking at my own travel photos, a new magazine, a clean house, freshly washed sheets, Mary Oliver, meditation, the F word, my girlfriends, and my husband (always).

  55. Clare says:

    Riding my horse – there is just something about being outside, with an animal that is so large but so gentle, it takes all your focus and concentration and everything else just melts away.

  56. Mae says:

    Exercise, weed and good books.

  57. Liz says:

    Celexa for the win. And…. Emerita progesterone natural balancing cream, chelated magnesium before bed, yoga, no alcohol, many, many podcasts, green drinks, Maria Bamford, raw dark chocolate, Tara brach, self help books- sometimes dumber the better: you feel you have your shit together, tatine candles- killer scent wafts around even unlit so pricey-frugal, pitching clutter and putting on street (in a box with a sign because, tidy) sweating on purpose, drunken elephant, staying off FB, GOCA!

  58. Ruth-Anne says:

    Music (especially with Keith Moon’s drumming)
    Hot Coffee

  59. Tamara says:

    Gratitude and movement

  60. Jennifer says:

    Psychopharmaceuticals (Celexa to be specific)
    My two cats

    I am in sincere danger of sounding like and/or becoming a crazy cat lady BUT the two cats are the most important of the three, I would be lost without them. I have more “all is right in the world” moments watching them play or sleep than doing anything else. I highly recommend pets to everyone, even if you are on the fence about getting one, there is something so grounding about having a pet to care for.

    • S. says:

      Yes! I swear sometimes when I’ve got a purring cat at each ear, or when they’re up to some silliness or completely zonked out on the sofa, I can actually feel the brain neutralizing, calming down. It’s the cone of the peace and happiness, and the effects last for hours.

    • jenny says:

      Plus, cats REALLY know how to live in the moment.

  61. Rae says:

    Exercise (preferably outdoors, hiking or rock climbing)
    Cleaning my house
    Making something with my hands
    Open-ended time with my family & friends

    Thank you Kim, I have so enjoyed reading these…

  62. Christiana says:

    Murder mysteries, punk rock, crafts and laughter (I keep a collection of funny articles, cartoons [Lynda Barry and Calvin and Hobbes mainly], essays in a folder for this very purpose … and I am a regular visitor to the CakeWrecks website which usually perks me up.)

  63. Francine says:

    Workout,Shopping,Coffee with friends.

  64. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    A good cry
    Getting lost in a good book
    A cup of Intelligentsia Hot Cocoa with whipped cream
    Binge-watching a Scandinavian crime thriller on Netflix
    Going to a movie and coffee with my husband
    Hanging out with my 19-yr old daughter on the couch, with a cup of tea & watching “The Great British Baking Show”

  65. S. says:

    The Michelle Wolf comedy special on HBO this weekend with a plate of spaghetti and a glass of really good wine. Just me and my cats, laughing our heads off.

  66. Cory says:

    Law & Order SVU
    French fries
    Crime novels

  67. Courtney Evans says:

    Agree with so much of this- excercise, reading, cooking, wine. Also I teach elementary art – talking and listening to kids is a huge “what works”. But tea or wine and a really good book are the best.

  68. Gables girl says:

    Prozac, Trazadone, sleep, Basset hound, husband, travel, my homemade food, not answering the phone.

  69. susan says:

    Psychopharmaceuticals is definitely first up for me.
    Getting totally absorbed in a book. (Just finished “the rules do not apply” by Ariel Levy — beautiful though dark.)
    Trying NOT to isolate. (Very hard for me to push through that.)
    Still trying to figure it out, though. Things that had worked for me stopped working after 11/9/16….

  70. Lame says:

    Hot Pilates
    Any British/Norweigan/Swedish shows to watch
    Having time alone to do above

  71. Kirstjen says:

    I was depressed & the doctor asked the right questions, which my then husband answered. I was evaluated for sleep disorders & found to have severe obstructive sleep apnea. I’d say that a CPAP saved my life. I was suicidal, apparently from “waking” every 52 seconds all night long. Who knew???

    good sleep
    time with friends
    doing something for others, particularly for those in need, without regard to getting ANYTHING, including acknowledgement, is just about the best high there is.

  72. jackie cohen says:

    It makes me feel better to read these and know that we are ALL struggling! Life can seem so overwhelming.
    For me it’s
    watching old seasons of Top Chef
    spending Sundays in my most comfortable clothes and not leaving the house
    baking bread

  73. jenny says:

    I’m a shrink and am interested how helpful many of you find psychotropics to be, if that’s what you mean by psychopharmaceuticals. I find therapy infinitely useful, now that I’ve found the right therapist (or am in the right emotional place.) It only took me 25 years. Cooking, cats/dogs, exercise, snuggling with 13 y.o. daughter and husband help me. Watching comedies with my daughter keeps me sane, as well.