Updated: Apr 2, 2021
20 Things to Do When Depression Gets the Best of You!
Depression. Ughhh! If there is one thing most people have experienced at least once it’s depression. If you are one of these people, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Depression affects more than 17.4 million American adults yearly, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. That eerie feeling of sadness we cannot shake. But who wants to stay depressed forever?
Not Me! Depression does not have to take over your life. You DO have a CHOICE!
Depression drains your energy, hope, and purpose. When depression is near, it makes it difficult to take the steps necessary to feel better. Sometimes just the thought of doing things to make yourself feel better can seem impossibly exhausting! “The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do”
There are many healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with depression. Engaging in negative coping tactics may feel good for the time being. But most of these negative coping strategies come with negative consequences, and an increase in depression symptoms. These include, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, overeating, or engaging in activities causing self-harm. It is important to participate in activities that encourage happiness, self-love and relaxation. If you make an effort to change some of your lifestyle habits, you can take back your mental health, and live a more well balanced life. Below I have highlighted 20 of my favorite coping strategies:
Reach Out and Stay Connected
Sometimes when you are feeling depressed you may also feel the need to retreat. You may feel like the world is against us. Or you may feel like no one can relate to what you are going through, feeling ashamed of your situation. Depression increases the feeling of fatigue, which can cause you to feel too exhausted to talk. Getting support is one of the most important things you can do! Being on your own can make maintaining a healthy perspective much easier. Being social also helps one sustain the effort required to beat depression.
Get up and get that body moving. Exercise is one of the best things we can do when feeling sad. It encourages our body to produce more positive endorphins. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Physical activity relieves stress and can make you look and feel great. Boosting your self-image! Encouraging yourself to stick with a regular exercise routine will really help you feel better emotionally, mentally and physically.
Do things that make you Feel Good
Make a list of things that make you feel good. Refer to this list every time you feel your depressive symptoms kicking in. Feeling good will relax and energize the body. Make time for something fun this week.
Get a Good Nights Sleep
It is a well known fact that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to you mental, emotional and physical health. According to Healthline.com getting enough sleep is just as important as eating a healthy meal and getting regular exercise. But currently people are now sleeping less than they did in the past, even our quality of sleep has decreased as well. So try to get that sleep Mental Health Warriors. Good sleep helps to maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain functioning. Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders, like insomnia, and hypersomnia. It’s been estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about their quality of sleep.
Tip #1: Plug your phone in on the other side of the room before you go to bed. Turn it on do not disturb. If you have a smart watch plug that in on the other side as well. Once you’ve gotten at least 6 hours of sleep, its ok to check it, but aim for 8 hours!
Tip #2: Before bed is a great time to read a book, do some goal planning, or reflection of the days events; try going over how you are feeling, write down 3 good things that happened today!
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation, is not a practice that is encouraged enough. We have become a society focused on the hustle, the education, or our next personal advancement. Relax, sometimes. Vacationing is good for the soul. Relaxation is essential to coping with negative feelings. To take a mental health vacation take a hot shower, a bath, watch a Tv show. Do some meditation; you can find guided meditations on Youtube!
Set Healthy Boundaries
Learn to say no! Be honest with yourself about what you are okay with. Make a list, of the do’s and don'ts of you and honor this list.
Write down the things that make you happy, and the things that you have accomplished.
Give yourself a pat on the back for the things you have done so far! Celebrate these accomplishments, and know that there is better days ahead
It has been said, that Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. Read some jokes online, watch some funny videos, call your funniest friend. Attend a live comedy show. What ever you do get those laughs in. Laughing helps to release more dopamine into the brain, causing instant stress relief, resulting in happiness.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Pay attention to your thoughts and challenge negative ones.
When you hear your brain thinking negative thoughts over and over again, its time to tell it to stop. Write these thoughts down and write down 2 reasons for why your negative thought is wrong. This will also help you make better decisions
Click the link above to request an appointment for a therapy session with me today. I specialize in CBT, DBT and Client-centered therapy, helping my clients work on symptoms of depression, anxiety and many other mental struggles! I currently work with Individuals who have health insurance in the State of OHIO. But you can now use many of the search engines online to find a licensed therapist in your area.
Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
What you eat can make a big difference on your emotional state. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular are known for increasing serotonin levels in your body, ultimately reducing depression symptoms. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
Get on a Healthy Meal Plan
Research suggests that when people are depressed, they also crave sugar and carbohydrates, You're better off consuming a healthy, balanced diet, she says. Research suggest that consuming omega-3 fatty acids might be helpful in reducing depression. the Pinterest app has great free ideas for healthy meal plans, fitting anyones' food preferences.
Try to Drink your Gallon of Water Every Day
the adult body is 60% water, and the brain and heart are 73% water. How can you be happy and healthy if you’re not watering your brain?
Meditation is another skill that can help you learn how to cope with tough situations. Meditation can help you clear your mind of the negative thoughts and press reset.Practicing yoga and meditation can help you cope with depression, research suggests. Meditation is an important part of yoga, though there are other meditation approaches that don't involve yoga. Yoga Methods can train your mind to slow down and staying the moment can be very effective in managing both depression and anxiety. We often get depressed and anxious when we start thinking too far ahead about what we are sure is going to happen. Learning how to slow down those thoughts, focus on where you are right now and understanding that your feelings don't dictate what is going to happen in the future can be extremely helpful
Journaling is a great way to free your mind from over thinking, from over analyzing and from, anxiety. Allow yourself time to meditate on your journey. Mentally or in writing, note the things you’ve discovered on this climb. Note how your emotions change. Consider what problems you might have encountered and what efforts you’ve made to continue. Enjoy the journey. Let yourself laugh and be in the moment. A journal is a great way to monitor moods, symptoms and triggers. Write a song, a to-do list.
Do things that Boost Your Self-Esteem
those with depression often have low self-esteem, so do your makeup, get a new hairdo, take a fun picture, or write down things you like about yourself. Self-care is a huge part of building self-esteem. People with depression often experience low self-esteem, so finding ways to feel better about yourself is an important aspect of treatment. Practice positive thinking by focusing your thoughts on your best qualities. You can also make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are.
Make a Schedule and Stick To It!
If you’re experiencing depression, you may feel like you want to withdraw socially and keep to yourself, either because of low self-esteem or a lack of interest. Social life is important! Push yourself to stay involved with your friends. Social connections can help keep you from spiraling downward into deeper depression and from becoming isolated and alone with your thoughts. Go to the movies, share a brisk walk, or just catch up with a close friend — it might lift your spirits.
especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you move—such as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pet and/or Play with an animal
While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed—both powerful antidotes to depression.
Throw Yourself a Celebration Day
Pick one of your accomplishments you are proud of, but never celebrated! Throw yourself a party! Reward yourself for good behavior.
If you or anyone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s never too late to get help. Check out my article:
Depression is more common than you think. An estimated 17.4 million Americans have had at least one depressive episode, and it is more common than people like to admit. In fact this number would be significantly higher if more people took mental health more seriously. Currently 35% of depressed individuals do not seek help for their condition. Having depression is not embarrassing and there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Mental Health is serious, and taking care of it will change your life for the better.