by Sarah JF Braley | August 07, 2020

In the Aug. 5 episode of "The Michelle Obama Podcast," with journalist Michele Norris as her guest, the former First Lady said she is suffering from low-grade depression -- and I felt myself nodding my head. Are you feeling it, too? Pandemic, racial unrest, economic woes -- all can drag us down daily.

According to CNN, a Census Bureau survey found that one in three Americans are reporting symptoms of depression or anxiety, more than three times the rate from a similar survey conducted in the first half of 2019. Considering we're asking ourselves every day, "When will this end?," it's really not a surprise. 

Self-care coping suggestions, from the Very Well Mind, include:

  • Eat a varied and nutritious diet.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Find things to do that you enjoy.
  • Get enough sleep and ensure you have a restful sleeping environment.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week, and add vigorous exercise if you are able to do so.
  • Seek out friends who are positive, supportive and show that they care about you.
  • Be sure that you are taking your medications correctly. Tell your doctor about any supplements or herbal remedies you take.

And if this doesn't work, talk to your doctor to get help. 

How does self-care look in the Obama household? During the Spotify podcast she said, "For the most part, staying in a routine, getting a workout in, trying to get outside. But schedule has been key, in having a regular dinnertime. And I'm finding that in quarantine we look forward to that. In our house, what we all do is go off into our little workspaces, right? Barack's in his office, making calls, working on his book. I'm in my room, the girls are on their computers, and sometimes we're outside if the weather permits. But we've developed this routine; we don't really worry about seeing each other in the day, but right around 5 o'clock, everybody comes out of their nooks and we do an activity... And then we sit down for dinner and we talk some more. And then afterwards the girls and Barack and another friend, they've got a spades tournament. Barack has taught the girls spades and there's this vicious competition. They wouldn't have sat down but for this quarantine to learn a card game with their dad.

"My spirit is lifted when I am feeling healthy, when I am surrounded by good people," Obama added. "So I reach out. I reach out to my family, and to my friends. Even in this time of quarantine, I fought to continue to find a way to stay connected to the people in my life who bring me joy. It's the small things."