When you are going through depression it’s common to feel stuck and negative thoughts can often take over. If left untreated depression can make you feel as though there is very little to feel good about in your life. I was in a depressive state for many years and I genuinely thought this was going to be my life forever. Not one part of me believed I could ever get through it. Over the years, I have tried several different types of medication which I didn’t find to be that effective. It propelled me to starting look for ways I could help myself. Through a lot of trial and error, I have found the things that work for me. This brings me to share in today’s post my tips for Getting Through A Period of Depression. I hope you find these tips useful!
Take Each Day As It Comes
[Insert eye-roll here] This might sound like the most cliche advice, but when you are feeling depressed it’s such a crucial time to be kind to yourself. I always set myself ridiculous goals that aren’t always achievable, especially if I’m not feeling my best. If there are days where all you manage to do is have a shower that is perfectly okay. Going through a depressive phase it feels like it’s going to last forever, but the feeling is only temporary. Unfortunately, the society we live in makes us feel like if we are not doing the most we are not worthy or successful which only worsens the feelings of depression. If you are able to, try taking things at a slower pace and celebrate all of your successes as much as possible.
Have Your Own Space
The truth is you can only really learn to process your thoughts and feelings when you spend time alone. If you are always surrounded by other people you are constantly being influenced by their words and actions. This can cloud your mind from having your own unique perspective and outlook on life. If you can dedicate some time each day to having your own space you will become more in tune with yourself. By taking time for reflection you are training your mind to realise what you like and what you don’t. As a result, you can make more conscious decisions in the future of what you want to do and who you want to be around, and know if something in particular, is having a negative impact on your mental health.
Writing down your thoughts is a great way to process what’s going on in your mind. It may feel uncomfortable to start but as you deepen your practice the concept will start to feel a lot more natural. Having a journal allows you to reflect on your day without the need to divulge all of your feelings to others. If you are stuck on where to start, you can take inspiration from some journal prompts to help get the ball rolling. Now when I write I have days where I write pages and pages of my feelings in detail and others where just a few sentences will suffice. At the end of the day, it’s your practice so you really can make it what you want, there’s no wrong way to go about it.
For me, this has been a relatively new addition to my daily routine and probably the one I fought against the most. If you are new to meditation it can be uncomfortable to sit with your thoughts at first. Many people give up when they find themselves getting distracted. But meditation is all about letting your mind wander and then bringing yourself back to the present moment. There are so many different routes you can take with meditation so it’s worth trying out different practices to find what works for you. You can find so many great sessions on youtube or through the insight timer app. It doesn’t have to be 30+ minutes every day to provide results. But just a few minutes daily can help raise your self-awareness and stop you from dwelling on moments from the past which is all too common with depression.
Podcasts, Books & Music
When you are going through depression it’s hard to see that life exists beyond our own minds and imagination. Being open to learning provides a great foundation for changing your mindset. As when you are learning something new it gives your life purpose which you might otherwise have been missing. The thing I find great about podcasts and books is that you can obtain information from experts that have spent their lives dedicated to a field of study which is then made available to us to consume in a short matter of time. When there are ways to improve your mental health that have been backed up by facts/science it provides us with a sense of hope that the same is possible for us too.
Music can also help to lift your spirits and remind you to enjoy the small moments in life. All of these things help us to remember that depression does not define who we are, nor does it mean we can’t have everything we want from life.
Further reading: Books That Have Picked Up In Hard Times
Listen To Your Body
When you feel depressed it can feel like a lot of effort to do just about anything. We often lean towards consuming large amounts of junk food in search of a quick pick-me-up. This coupled with little movement only adds fuel to the fire. Personally, I find a long walk or morning workout is almost guaranteed to boost my mood and set me up with good intentions for the day ahead.
In addition, I also try to eat as clean as possible as I know this is something my body will thank me for and allow it to function at its best. If you currently don’t partake in any exercise, you could start small with a walk or short workout and pay attention to how it makes you feel. I recently went through a stage of no exercise for health reasons, which mentally I really struggled with. I am now looking forward to resuming my routine as I know it is a fundamental part of what makes me feel good.
Reach Out To Others
Reaching out to connect with a loved one can lift your mood immensely. When you are feeling low it’s so important to share that with someone and not keep your feelings bottled up inside. Depression can make you feel like there is a barrier between you and the outside world. Our own minds are good at telling us to keep things in and not to bother others with our troubles. But this just causes us to feel further removed from the world around us. Conversations around mental health can be difficult but there is support out there for everyone. Just to have your voice heard can make it feel less overwhelming and remind us that we are not alone in the problems we are facing.
Do A Good Deed
Going through depression you can lose touch with the people around you. I have found doing something for someone else really helps to get out of your own head. Where you can, I encourage you to take a moment in the day to think of how you can help someone else. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but simply doing someone a favour, giving compliments and showing appreciation for someone can be really powerful. Not only will it help lift your mood but do the same for the receiver also!
A big part of getting through depression is the ability to train your mind to focus more on what’s positive about your life. Most of the time it’s not your situation that changes but how you view it. This is certainly not an easy task, especially if this is something you have been dealing with for a long time. It takes a lot of strength and determination to move away from depression and into a happier life.