Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.
- Schedule pleasant activities or events.
Don’t wait for yourself to be “in the mood.” For example, give yourself permission for a 30-minute “vacation” or schedule a healthy hobby every day. Just remember to do these activities with the right attitude (see Engagement). Also, practice gratitude — take time to notice what went well today, not just what went wrong. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Know that being grateful for your blessings doesn’t mean you have to discount your problems.
- Engagement: Stay in the present.
This practice is sometimes called mindfulness. As best you can, during activities try not to be in your head with self-judgment. You may not be able to turn off the self-judgment, but you can notice it and bring yourself gently back to the present. Research shows that people with higher self-compassion also have higher self-worth or self-confidence.
- Exercise: And, eat right too.
Doing moderate exercise about five times a week (30 minutes a pop) can dramatically help your mood. Moderate exercise is a level of activity where it is difficult to sing from your diaphragm while doing it. Also pay attention to how the type of food or drink you’re eating influences your mood. You don’t have to do fad diets, but anyone will be depressed if they frequently binge on carbs, junk food, and energy drinks. Remember the virtue of moderation.
- Relationships: Focus on people who lift you up.
Interact frequently with others that bring you up (not people that bring you down). While it’s OK to have some alone time, find a balance and don’t isolate yourself or the depression will linger.
- Sleep Regularly: Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
Keep a balance with not too little and not too much sleep. Staying up late one night and then sleeping in excessively the next day is a sure-fire way to feed depression. Also, don’t try to solve problems late at night when your brain is half-asleep.
- Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
- Get a Handle on Your Household Chores
Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills. But a pile of paperwork, the stack of dirty dishes, and a floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of worthlessness. Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better.
- Create a Wellness Toolbox
Cuddling your pet, listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, or reading a good book are just a few tools you might find helpful. Create a list of the activities you might try when you’re feeling bad. Then, choose an activity to try when you’re having a particularly rough time.
- Listen to Upbeat Music
An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.
- Distract Yourself
If possible, do your best to distract yourself from overthinking. Your thoughts are your enemy when depression sets in. Play with a pet or go for a walk, especially a walk in nature. Read a book if you are able to concentrate, or finish a puzzle. Do anything that takes your mind off your fears and worries. Keeping busy is an effective way to overcome depression.