Mental illness and Depression are often overlooked and thought of as “taboo” to speak of, but I have never been able to understand why. Mental Illness is a common issue that we must deal with, but I’ve compiled a list of what I like to do to get through depression because we shouldn’t have to suffer through it, and we certainly shouldn’t have to suffer through it alone.
If you do suffer from Depression, please know that I am sorry you must endure this awful illness, you are not alone, you can get through it – this is not the end-all-be-all, and you are loved.
I’ve battled Depression my entire life, but after surviving an abusive, violent relationship, my depression worsened, and it has become much easier for me to slip into a Depression than before the abuse. I’m lucky that I’ve found a wonderful partner whom helps me through Depression, but sometimes, I just cannot solely rely on my husband to get me out of my Depression; it’s simply not fair to him to put that much pressure/responsibility on him.
Here is what I like to do to get through a Depression:
- I know, this is one of the LAST things you want to do when you’re depressed, but it helps to get through it, but man it really sucks to have to do. I have to MAKE myself do things when I’m depressed – it’s so easy to stay deep in that depression and just not do anything, because that feels good, it feels comfortable in depression, because when I’m depressed, I’ve already basically lost myself so my mind and body get very comfortable in that void of emotion and activity during a depression so it’s super easy to just stay there, but when I’m depressed, I try really hard (because I HAVE to try hard; it’s not easy to do) to just make myself do things so I don’t get so stuck in that empty depression because I know in the deepest part of my heart that if I don’t make myself do anything, it will just prolong the depression.
- One thing that is often recommended to do during a depression is to connect with people. If you’re an introvert like me, that’s not something you typically do whether you’re depressed or not, so this one is a bit difficult for me. I’m very much an introvert, and I always have been, so the only people that I truly enjoy connecting with are my husband and my parents, basically; they’re the only ones that truly understand me, I feel. If, in your non-depressed state, you are a social person and value human connection, this may be the best tip for you as it may help to get you back to your natural, daily self, so you can somewhat feel like yourself again. For us introverts, I can tell you from experience, this tip is one of the hardest for me and I don’t use it very often because in general, I’m not a social being.
- Something that usually helps me, as an avid animal lover, is to simply love/care for a pet. I have two dogs that are basically my babies, and they bring me such joy and comfort because they have no agenda, they only know how to love unconditionally, no matter what your mental state. If you have pets, well, you already know how easily they bring comfort just when you need it, but it doesn’t hurt to love and care for them even more whilst you’re depressed. If you do not have any pets, try visiting someone who does have pets or possibly a shelter or pet store, so you can enjoy their unconditional love to help get you through depression.
- This is another difficult one to do, but I can tell you with confidence that it does work; participate in activities that you enjoy when you’re not depressed – think hobby, sports, crafts, etc. This somewhat goes back to Number 1, both in that it is challenging and it does require some “manual” motivating. I have to MAKE myself get up and get back to doing the things I truly enjoy/love doing. For me, I love to bake, so when I’m depressed, I find it really helps me to make myself bake something whether it’s just a small portion, for my husband and I, or a bit bigger of a serving that I could possibly bring in to work to share with my co-workers; that sort of kills two birds with one stone, I get to bake, which I love to do, and I get to share my baking with others, which is really a side bonus that helps me to feel better during a depression. Participating in an enjoyable activity also starts to make me feel like myself again.
- Great quick tip – get enough sleep! Surely, depression makes it very easy to over sleep, which is not good, but you also don’t want to avoid sleeping; you should be getting a healthy amount of sleep during depression – I would say the typical recommendation of 8 hours per night is great. Sleep is a great way to refresh your brain overnight to try to get back into a regular, healthy, routine/lifestyle.
- Avoid “sad” quotes. Plain and simple, that’s just not a healthy thing to do. Don’t google/Pinterest depression quotes, those will only intensity your depressive thoughts, which push you further into depression, they don’t pull you out of it. If you’re a person that appreciates the written word, try looking up more positive quotes, like strength, positivity, love, inspiration, empowerment, etc. During a depression, I often feel like my happiness/strength/light/interest button is turned off and instead, the only emotions I feel are sadness/weakness/darkness/and dislike, so what I really want is to look at or read something that is going to awaken or turn on that positivity button again so I can get back to myself.
- Get at least 15 minutes of sunlight per day. Vitamin D is so good for depression, which is why depression often hits during the Winter because we’re not typically outside during the Winter as much as we are during the warmer months, so we’re missing out on that healthy Vitamin D that we get from the sun. This may tie into Number 4 if going for a walk is something you enjoy doing – a daily short, 15-minute [minimum] walk will help revive the missing Vitamin D that you need to get through a depression. You could even tie Number 3 into this by bringing your pet on your walk!
- Do some daily relaxation/affirmation. Sometimes during a depression, I feel somewhat numb and it partly feels like my body is shut off to any type of feeling so I find doing something that is relaxing or positive affirmation, helps to awaken my brain and my senses a little better. Yoga is a popular choice for those that enjoy yoga because it centers your body, your mind, and your soul. I also enjoy writing down some positive affirmations to read aloud to myself to let myself know that I am worthy, loved, lovable, capable, strong, etc. Your mind is very powerful, use it to your advantage. There’s also some deep breathing exercises that you can do to awaken your senses, but remain calm; I learned a great technique during therapy where you inhale like you’re smelling a flower, and exhale like your blowing out a single candle; it’s controlled deep breathing and it helps me to remain centered. I find that these techniques awaken your body and mind while keeping you calm so as to not over-stimulate your senses.
- Exercising is a great treatment for depression, but it’s difficult to do during depression because again, it’s one of the LAST things you want to do during depression. Any type of exercise releases endorphins and awakens your body and mind. I’ve found that just 30 minutes of exercise, even low-impact exercise, helps me during a depression. I don’t enjoy exercising unless it’s dance cardio or running, so that’s what I stick to during a depression – dance exercise, because I know it makes me happy, which is what I need to remind myself of during depression.
- This may be the hardest of all for me to do, but eating a healthy diet during a depression is key. When I’m depressed, I LOVE junk food – it soothes my sadness for whatever reason, but that’s not healthy, that’s why it’s called “junk” food. Your body requires certain nutrients that are most important to consume during depression. There have been many studies done about Turmeric for depression, which may be a good addition to your diet to help aide your depression. I don’t love the taste of Turmeric because I find that whenever I use it, no matter what I’m adding it to, the dish just ends up tasting only like Turmeric, BUT I try to remember the benefits of Turmeric to help outweigh the blanket taste of it. I like to add it to my apple and cinnamon breakfast smoothies – yum!
I also have a list in Bullet Journal (and in my iPhone) of the specific, small things that I like to do during a depression to help me feel like myself again, that way it’s always on hand and at the ready. Some of those include:
- Making a list (I’m a hardcore organizer so making lists calms me)
- Ask for a hug
- Light some candles
- Turmeric smoothie
- Snuggle with my pups
- Do my makeup (full-glam)
- Online “window” shopping
- Go to Starbucks
- Look at family pictures
- Make an upbeat playlist
- Buy myself fresh flowers
- Watch “Friends” TV show
- Drink tea
- Do my nails
- Bake something
- Go for a walk
- Listen to Kesha’s “Rainbow” album
I hope this video helps you if you are also suffering with Depression. I also posted a video about getting through Depression:
Leave a comment with any tips you may have to get through a depression.