O, so where do I begin? I’ve dealt with depression for most of my teenage and young adult life. I know what it feels like to be hopeless and helpless.
Especially if you don’t want to take medication.
I’ve had many days sleeping in bed, isolating myself from the world and feeling generally sad for no real reason. I’ve gone to therapy and sometimes I’ve just ignored the problem.
Depression is so common but we really don’t talk about as much as we should.
I know how difficult it is and how trapped you may feel.
Here are 8 unique ways I’ve learned in managing my depression.
Know what your triggers are
This is probably the most important of all the points. Know what triggers a depressive cycle for you.
Be aware of what happens before you get depressed so you can respond accordingly.
For example, as silly as it sounds, I know if I spend an entire day in bed watching tv with no contact with anyone else, this is the beginning of my cycle.
I’m able to be more proactive and this awareness helps me not only understand, but deal with my depression better. Knowing this, as introverted as I am, I know that I need to at least call someone when I’m relaxing binge watching all day.
Awareness is the first step in understanding and finding solutions.
Make a plan for how you will respond
One of the best ways for not allowing depression to completely take over is to make a plan of what you will do when it comes.
It’s so easy to go down the cycle of depression and just let it continue.
One thing my counselor has recommended is not to resist it. Don’t wish things were different or beat yourself up about being depressed. Accept that you have a depression trait and make a plan of action.
What that looks like for me is, when I start to feel down I give myself sometime to wallow then I do one thing that I enjoy(more on that below).
I give myself time to lay in the bed, do nothing but watch tv and take no phone calls. Then no matter how I feel tomorrow I do one thing that is simple enough that I’ll actually do and I love so it lifts my spirits.
Things like practicing my guitar, taking a walk, reading a book or trying a new activity with a friend. It may be a struggle to get started but once I start I instantly start to feel better and that gets me out of my cycle.
Give yourself wallow days
I know it sounds weird but this has been one of the most effective ways I’ve learned to deal with my depression.
When you’re depressed it’s easy to get into a slump and drive yourself into an unmotivated, loathing tunnel. Staying in bed all day, avoiding all activities, avoiding family and friends.
Some advice that was given to me is allow yourself time to wallow.
Easier said than done, but give yourself a limit.
There are days when I feel down and it can easily turn into a week of not getting much done.
So when I feel myself getting in a funk I’ll tell myself before hand I’ll give myself 1 day to lay in the bed and do nothing. That way I’ve given myself time to feel what I’m feeling but know that after a day I have a goal to doing something productive.
If you can’t do a day try 4 days(or whatever works for you) and work yourself down from there. The point is to make a goal of reducing your wallow days while also giving yourself some time to yourself.
This feels like my solution to everything but when you’re depressed you can become stuck in your head. Like you’re trapped in this sea of thoughts that aren’t helping you and just digs you deeper into a hole.
One thing that I have found that helps with this unhelpful thinking is meditation. It helps keep my thoughts from spinning and really is the only thing I’ve found that helps me to be present.
I helps calm my mind and helps me from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. Give it a try for yourself.
You don’t have to deal with depression on your own.
It helps to talk to someone to make sense of all that is going on in your head and in your life in general.
Also for severe depression I always recommend speaking with a licensed professional. This helps to help you understand your depression while talking through your issues and finding solutions.
Just like meditation this has helped me to get out of my head and make sense of how I’m feeling.
Once I’ve got all my thoughts on paper it helps me feel less overwhelmed and empowered to take action .
Writing in general helps to make sense of it all and stops the cycle of going over events over and over in your head
I know, I know you’ve heard it before. Exercise releases endorphins that makes you happier plus it’s good for your health so it’s a win win.
Moving your body in any way helps to get you out the bed and gives a quick mood boost. It doesn’t have to be going to the gym it can be as simple as a walk around the block or a class that you enjoy.
Do things you love
Do things that make you happy or volunteer for a cause you care about. Movement helps you feel productive and helps to take your minds off things and your issues.
Schedule time in your day everyday to do things that you know energizes you. I know it’s hard to get motivated and do something sometimes(even things you enjoy) so just do something for 5 minutes a day to start. Something that feels doe-able for you.
Dealing with depression can feel like an uphill battle. Sometimes you don’t know what to do or how to make things better. I urge you to go easy on yourself, try one of these tips and figure out what works for you. If needed see a mental health professional. And through everything Know that you are loved and valued. If anyone, know that I love you.
I would love to hear your tips on how you are managing your depression and what’s worked and hasn’t worked for you.