1. Keeping yourself constructively busy
It might sound as easy as it looks, especially considering that we live in a society where the constant demands of life make it impossible to not be busy, but many of us might find that we have moments where we are idle and we might use this time to do things that end up being very destructive to our mental health. We scroll for hours on Instagram comparing ourselves to others, we vent to others on Facebook, we overeat, oversleep, and a whole bunch of other things that do not serve us.
When you find yourself in a funk that you cannot seem to shake, try turning your attention to something constructive, relaxing, or simply anything that keeps your mind off of the hard moments.
At the end of the day, you are already feeling mental anguish. Don’t add to it by engaging in activities that worsen this.
2. Getting off social media for a while
As someone who lives with depression, I have realized just how much social media seems to mess with my psyche at times and as a result, I have taken action. I don’t post on my Instagram page and whenever I am in a mood, I close all social tabs and take a mental break.
Social media never rests. It is always buzzing with activity.
Therefore, you are seeing who is engaged, who is ‘prettier’, ‘richer’, ‘better,’ etc, etc. In a negative mind state, you already see everything in life as horrible. It doesn’t help to now have the urge to lament and compare yourself to others. Do yourself a favor and log out.
3. Changing your diet
What you eat has an effect on how you feel. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “enriching your diet with more, whole foods can help you feel full longer and will lift your mood. Foods such as, fruits, vegetables, and fish, decreases your chances and your symptoms of depression.”
I know it is so tempting to go for donuts or pizza when you are in a state of loathing, I quite often do it, but I find the times that I do take the time to make a salad, take a multivitamin, or have a filling shake is when I have more energy.
We are what we eat.
4. Hearing someone else’s story or problems for a change
Having depression feels like you are stuck in a dark hole all by yourself. It’s as if time has stopped, you have fallen deep into this whole and some type of force has caused you to become invisible and hard to reach. You call out for help and people can reach you, but they can never pull you out. As a result, you sink further and further down in it.
Some people view those who have depression as selfish. When depressed, one seems to speak of nothing but their problems and how unfortunate their life seems to be.
The reality is, however, is that depression very much alters your way of thinking, to the point where you cannot see beyond your issues.
If you find that you can’t stop talking about what you are going through, find ways to take the focus off of yourself even if it is just for a few hours. Talk to someone who is older and wiser about how to cope, ask your friends and family how they are doing, go online and reach out to others and try to connect with them so they can offer you words of wisdom.
Taking the focus off of yourself for a while will not only offer you relief but you will realize that you truly are not the only one in the world struggling, especially with depression.
I mentioned not oversleeping, but there is a difference between sleeping so much you are wallowing and sleeping to simply rest.
I remember when going through my own depression, and I was constantly exhausted.
You never feel rested because you are always in a state of mental anguish. You are tired from crying, tired from talking about your anguish, tired from explaining your distress over and over again.
You are just tired.
I encourage you to use your free time to sleep and get a good night’s rest. It will truly make a difference in how you feel. People who have depression actually need more rest because of the toll the illness takes on our brains. Log off your computer and call it a night for a couple of days. You deserve it.
6. Accepting the treatment that comes along with your condition
Unfortunately, there is a stigma when it comes to medication and therapy. Particularly regarding medication, people who aren’t taking them or who know nothing about them, will regard it a being harmful and as drugs that basically make you ‘crazy.’ This isn’t true, as there are millions of people, myself included, who take medication and find it to be helpful and even lifesaving.
I know it can be daunting to accept that depression or sadness is a part of your life, but true healing comes from acceptance.
Therapy and medication is nothing to be ashamed of.
7. Making a list of everything you accomplished in the day
When I was going through one of the worst depressive episodes in my life last year, I wrote down everything I accomplished in the day, no matter how small. Getting up, brushing my teeth, making breakfast, calling a friend, taking a bath, etc. Whatever I did for that day I recorded in a diary.
To someone who has never had depression, this may seem strange but anyone who has struggled knows that getting out of bed every day and other simple tasks are extremely difficult or sometimes almost impossible to do. Making a list and seeing everything that you have accomplished in the day can really give you a boost of confidence during a time where you believe you are incapable of doing anything.
8. Getting outside
Scenery helps a lot when you are depressed, even if it means just taking a walk outside for an hour. Being outside will expose you to the sun (which you need), the scenery of plants, and it will expose you to fresh air. Being cooped up in the house all day just makes you feel more isolated than ever.
Try getting outside and choose a particularly scenic route, where there are lots of trees and maybe even flowers. Just focus on your breath, the fresh air and look at what you see.
It’s a great distraction from your problems.
9. Decreasing recreational habits
Holidays are fast approaching and I know with all the parties happening, the temptation to overindulge in booze and other recreational activities is tempting, but depression and drugs/ alcohol can often make for a dangerous mixture.
A drink here and there is OK, but if you are really going through a rough time, maybe sticking to non-alcoholic beverages is an option or just make sure you are monitoring your consumption.
Alcohol is a depressant already, meaning that when consumed, it slows down your body, your thinking and your perception of things around you.
You might not want to add to how you are already feeling by messing with outside substances.
10. Knowing that no matter the situation, you are destined to get through
This sounds extremely cliche and I know you have heard it over and over again. You might roll your eyes at this and say, “She has no fucking idea what I deal with every day. She has no clue that a few days ago, I wanted to die.”
I have struggled with depression since I was 18 years old and have been very close to ending it all many times.
Depression is real and at its worst it can get that bad.
I know exactly what you are feeling, what you are facing and what you are going through, but you can survive it with treatment and the assurance that life may throw you curveballs every now and then, but as long as you are here, you will survive it.
Today may have been horrendous, but tomorrow will be better.
Life wasn’t meant to be easy. I wish it was, I really do, but this is the reality.
You are a human being, of flesh and blood, encountering situations that has no handbook of how to prepare, but nevertheless, you will survive.
You are still here aren’t you?
You may not be able to beat this thing all at once but you can little by little.
Baby steps to your recovery, to your happiness, and baby steps to life.
Don’t you dare give up on yourself today, but use these little steps to get there bit by bit.
Because guess what?
You will eventually make it.