While the terms “depression” and “sadness” are commonly substituted for one another, they have very different meanings. We’ve all been bummed out, upset or down in the dumps. As humans, we experience sadness in response to certain upsetting events. Sadness is a very real and raw emotion, but depression is a whole different ballpark.
Characterized by many as as a mental illness, depression is long lasting and impairs its’ victim’s daily functioning. It's scary in that it often creates the illusion that there’s no escaping it. With a black and blue filter over your life, depression can be difficult to overcome. These first 6 tips are what are frequently recommended, and may help take the edge off sadness and even depression. However, with the deep, dark fog of depression, these can feel undoable. There is effective, fast acting therapy that can clear up what is causing this. If you are really struggling, don't hesitate; call me today to learn more about what therapy can do for you. If you're up to trying some other strategies first, keep reading.
1. Don’t Isolate
If you’re struggling with depression, you can probably attest to the fact that isolation is tempting. Maybe you’re even isolating yourself right now. While it’s easier said than done, I encourage you to reach out instead.
Call up a friend or family member and do something fun. Depression steals everything you used to love. Fight to take those things back. Watch a funny movie, play your favorite sport or cook your favorite meal. Do so in the company of others so that you have an additional distraction.
2. Stay Active
It’s no secret that exercise boosts our endorphins (a natural “feel good hormone”). But often times, exercise can feel like a chore. Getting out of bed is hard enough when you have depression, so the last thing you want to do is tack on a chore.
When you do exercise, choose activities that you actually enjoy. Instead of heading to the gym, go for a walk, a hike, or try something new like surfing. Not an outdoorsy person? They have exercise classes for everything now. Fight depression by doing anything you can to get your body moving.
3. Change Your Negative Thought Processes
Those who struggle with depression are very familiar with the negative voice that lives somewhere inside our heads. Unfortunately, depression and this inner critic are big allies. In order to silence the negativity, we need to identify it.
As soon as the voice begins to make allegations such as: “you don’t fit in” “you’ll never be able to do that” “you aren’t good enough,” shut them down. After they’ve been shut down, you can begin countering them.
4. Create Routine
Depression is notorious for creating ruts and meshing all of your days together. To combat this, it’s helpful to create a routine. You don’t have to do anything big, just be sure to maintain the little things you do every day. For example, brush your teeth and wash your face first thing every morning or have a cup of tea before bed; make a to-do list for the day (even if it only has two items on it).
5. Treat Your Body Well
Treating your body the way it deserves is always important, but it’s especially crucial if you’re currently experiencing depression. Get enough sleep, eat enough nutritious food and get the proper amount of exercise so that your body will feel good. When your body feels good, it’s easier for your mind to feel good as well.
6. Find a Creative Outlet
For instance, don’t consume drugs or alcohol to fight depression. Instead of confronting your problems, these are substances that allow you to hide them. While this may feel good for a short period of time, your feelings and problems will resurface if not dealt with properly.
Dealing with difficult feelings is tough though, and a break feels needed. It can be helpful to find a creative form of self-expression. If you’re a writer, journal about how you’re feeling. If you’re an artist, draw, paint, or color. A dancer? Express yourself through movement. Remember, these pieces of work can remain private – this is all about tapping into your creativity that you may have lost sight of.
7. See a Therapist
Talking with friends and family members about what is going on for you can be helpful if you’re struggling with depression. On the other hand, they may not know what to say or do, and you might hear "just snap out of it" or “oh you’re feeling down, let’s go get drinks tonight!” These comments have no benefit at all, and can even make things worse. A skilled therapist knows how to fight depression productively and proactively. If you are interested in learning more about how depression can help you or a loved one, please call me at 954-951-8295 for a complementary consultation. Don't suffer any longer!