Updated: Apr 3
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.