I wanted to focus in on the exercise aspect of this piece:
In my experience, exercise is vital to my mental well-being, just as the author of this piece found it to be for him, until he hit a slump.
We all hit slumps.
I hit a major slump when our child was born. Prior to that, I had been hitting the gym consistently (4 days per week), but my life changed and I had to re-prioritize.
However, where I failed myself is that I quit exercising entirely, because my “exercising world view”, if you will, was gym-centric; that is, I had programmed myself to need a gym to be successful in working out.
I realized that I needed to change. After some research, I found P90X . This is an exercise system (presented on DVD) that utilizes body-weight techniques (e.g., pull-ups, push-ups), yoga, plyometrics  and resistance exercises (you can use dumbbells or resistance bands – they demonstrate both techniques).
I also found a used Nordic Track ski machine  online for $100. This is not part of the P90X system, but I find it to be a fantastic cardio machine, and it allows me to change things up a bit… plus, the skiing action is fun.
The advantage here is that you can do all of this without going to a gym. Also, there is minimal equipment required; here is a picture of what is used in the system  (note the “Description” of the image that identifies all of the required pieces).