Anyone who endures the physical and mental discomfort of living with depression — hopelessness, brain fog, never-ending boredom, etc. — deserves a gold medal. It really is a daily battle.
If you’re gripped with depression, taking action might be the last thing you want to do. But we’re here to remind you that the action doesn’t have to be monumental. One simple move, like doing something you love or picking up the clothes off your floor, can get the ball rolling.
This article is meant to give you ideas for the little actions you can take in your daily fight with depression. But we want to be clear that what works for one person might not work for another. And these are by no means cures or treatments, they’re strategies to help you cope and feel more in control.
Gratitude is a must
There is always something to be grateful for, and focusing on that, no matter how small, can shift our mindset from empty to plenty. Make it a habit morning and night to list five things you are grateful for. Write it down if it helps. Those who suffer from depression know how easy it is for our minds to conjure the worst. But the best can also come like that too.
Positives over negatives
A bit like the above. We are building mental strength like muscle. Train your body to reject pessimism, and for each negative thought to replace it with a positive – the opposite if you will. Like lifting weights, this does require persistence and practice. But you can take to it gradually.
Exercise the body too
Depression gets its name from the ‘repression’ of feelings. We find it hard to express ourselves and so our emotions turn inward. From negative self-talk to the extreme of self-harm, repressing our emotions builds up pressure.
However, you are no bust pipe. Think of exercise as letting out that pressure. Intense exercise has been found to curb self harm because endorphins send signals to your brain to increase production of serotonin, which is the “happy” chemical. 30 minutes a day has a massive impact on my mood.
Make self-care plan
I feel this is the ultimate for recovery, to realise you are worth looking after. For me, these include some of the above: exercise, journaling, eating healthy, going to bed on time, spending time with my little niece, relying on my intuition, and the list goes on.
Self-care is personal to you, it is looking at your day and thinking, “How can I show myself and my body love today?” Practicing honesty with myself in this way, and with others, was essential to learn my value, my identity, my boundaries and my emotions that I had kept hidden from others.
Therapy and medication
You may also find it helpful to speak to a professional about what you’re going through. A general practitioner may be able to refer you to a therapist or other specialist.
They can assess your symptoms and help develop a clinical treatment plan tailored to your needs. This may include traditional options, such as medication and therapy, or alternative measures, such as acupuncture.
Finding the right treatment for you may take some time, so be open with your provider about what is and isn’t working. Your provider will work with you to find the best option.
Most of all, if you’re going through depression, show yourself some compassion and kindness. When you’re going through a hard time, it helps to know you’re not alone. Be patient with yourself. Depression takes time to heal.