Hello everyone, I hope you enjoyed your Easter! Sorry I have been absent but I was off work for two weeks and wanted to try and spend the time relaxing.
So we can all agree that depression is the worst but I am always really interested to hear the things that people find helps them cope with it. As much as I find reading studies about the topic and what statistically has been found to help useful, I love hearing the different things the actual people suffering from depression do to help them feel better. Not only does it give me ideas for things to try but it also reminds me that there are things that help and that I will feel better.
So today I thought I would share 10 things that help me with my depression. Hopefully it will give you some things to try, though some of them I’m sure you have heard before and are sick of hearing about!
Ok, so I know you have probably heard this one a lot. I know when my doctors and therapists have said this in the past I was like ‘Yeah sure it does, you just want me to be healthy and blah blah blah‘ but it honestly does work. It helps you to feel a sense of achievement and releases those happy hormones we so desperately need. When your mood is very low it can be really hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed, never mind getting yourself to the gym or out for a walk. I have gone weeks, even months finding excuses not to exercise when my depression was bad. It helps to start small. Try going for a short walk in the fresh air and work your way up. The more you do the more you will find your motivation return and your mood improve.
2. Clean and Organized Surroundings
It can be hard to quiet your mind when your surroundings are messy and unorganized. I am a bit of a clean freak and I find that I feel better when my apartment (especially my bedroom) is clean and clutter free. I’m not saying you have to get a toothbrush and scrub every inch of your house, but simply making your bed can make your space feel more organized. The actual task of tidying up can also be a good distraction from negative thoughts and like the exercise, gives you a sense of achievement.
3. A Good Shower/Bath
If I picture myself when my depression is bad, the image I see is of me in bed, in my pajamas, surrounded by takeaway not moving until work forces me to. I feel sweaty and disgusting and hate myself for ordering pizza when I have good food in the fridge. I find a good shower not only re-energizes me, but helps me to “wash away” the depression. I clean myself up, brush my very tangled bed head hair, put on clean clothes and feel ready to try tackle the world again.
4. My Evening Routine
When I feel anxious or not very happy with myself I do two very simple things in the evening that help to calm me down. I light my lemon and lavender candle and drink chamomile (or any non-caffeinated) tea. I owe this to my Mum who gave me the idea and still tells me to ‘go light your candle and make yourself some sleepy tea (as she calls it)’ when she calls.
5. Calling My Mum
When I’m feeling down, sometimes just calling my Mum and hearing her voice makes me feel better. I don’t always tell her I’m feeling down as I don’t want to worry her, but just listening to her talk about her day and the news from where she lives in enough to take my mind off of things.
I’m not always in the mood for it but I do find taking 10 minutes out to breathe and relax can help refocus my mind. I do a weekly mindfulness session at work and have the head space app on my phone for when I need it. Any sort of guided meditation can be helpful when trying to quiet out all the negativity in my head.
So it is no secret that I am a big advocate for psychotherapy. I see my therapist every couple of weeks to talk through whatever I want to talk about in that session. I will say that sometimes, depending on the topic, my depression may worsen afterwards as issues rise to the surface. I believe that sometimes you have to get worse to get better.
This is one thing I wish I didn’t have to do but know that I need to do. I was very reluctant to go on medication as I always thought it would make me numb or turn me into a zombie. I was glad to learn it isn’t like that in the slightest. All it does is help me to level my mood so I can focus on working though my issues as best as I can. It isn’t for everyone but if you are struggling, I suggest talking about your options with your doctor.
9. Being Near Water
Whether it be the beach, a pond or a river, being next to water seems to help me for some reason. I like to listen to the waves, the water hitting the rocks or the movement of water flowing in a river. The sound really soothes me and I always find myself drawn to water when my mood is low. Try reconnecting with nature in some way like going to the beach, walking in the woods or just watching the neighborhood birds.
10. Asking Myself Why I’m Depressed and Accepting My Feelings.
When I say this I don’t mean saying something like ‘What have you got to be depressed about?‘ or ‘You are being stupid, you have nothing to be sad about‘. I’m talking about trying to find out what triggered your low mood. I gently ask myself ‘What is wrong?’ or ‘Do you know why you feel low right now?’. Sometimes I don’t have an answer and that is ok too. A lot of the time you can’t figure out what made you depressed that day so don’t beat yourself up if you cant work it out. Just accept what you are feeling and let yourself feel it. Even though you don’t want to feel this way, sometimes just accepting yourself and your feelings is enough. Cry if you feel like crying, scream if you feel like screaming. It takes a lot more energy to keep the feeling in than to let it out.
Those are some of the things I do to try and help me cope with my depression. I would be really interested in some of the things you do or someone you know does. It is always good to share ideas!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!