When you’re depressed, it can feel like you’re trapped. It’s tough to do the simplest things, whether it’s taking a shower, going to work, or even just getting out of bed in the morning. During those moments when little things feel like a struggle, the idea of making big changes to overcome your depression can feel impossible.
However, when you take it one step at a time, you’ll find that you can start feeling better bit by bit until you’re back to your old self again. If you’re ready to break free from your depression, use these five tips to get back on your feet.
- Be Kind to Yourself
It’s normal to have critical thoughts about yourself while dealing with depression. When those harsh thoughts do creep in, take a moment to show some compassion for yourself. Imagine how you would show kindness to a loved one who had depression, and apply those same thoughts to yourself. Remind yourself that you have value and you are loved. Give yourself permission to feel sad, but remember that there are many moments of happiness ahead once you are free from your depression.
Your depression is a medical condition, not a moral failing. Instead of beating yourself up, try to make peace with the fact that you’re going through a difficult time. Treat yourself with care and remember that it will take time to heal.
- Avoid Isolation
Being around other people can be difficult when you’re experiencing depression. You may feel inclined to stay at home more since socializing feels more exhausting and you don’t want to bother anyone with your problems.
However, isolating yourself is not healthy, especially when you’re at such a low place emotionally. Talk to a family member or a friend about what you’re going through to lighten the burden you’re carrying. If that step seems too difficult at first, start by just going to a public place with lots of people, like a park or a mall. Avoid hiding at home and dwelling on your depression.
When you spend time around others, it helps you to remember that you’re not alone and that everyone goes through difficult periods from time to time. Rather than withdrawing, reach out and stay connected to others.
- Move Your Body
Feelings of exhaustion are common among people with depression, which often leads to extreme inactivity. But lying in bed or on the couch all day will only worsen your mood and sap your energy. Make an effort to move your body to experience mood-lifting and energy-boosting effects that can sometimes last for hours afterward.
You don’t need to go for a long run or attend an intense exercise class to get these benefits. If your depression is making it hard to just get out of bed, you’re not likely to feel up to strenuous forms of exercise just yet. Instead, try going for a short walk. Do some yoga in your living room. Clean your kitchen. You can even just turn on your favorite song and dance for a few minutes. It only takes some minor activity to feel more energized, relaxed, and positive.
- Stick to a Routine
Was your depression brought on by a big change, like losing a job, the death of a loved one, or a divorce? The adjustment in your daily life can make you a little unmoored, and depression only makes it harder to figure out what to do next.
One way to overcome this challenge is to create a new routine. This doesn’t need to be anything elaborate; in fact, it’s best to start out with small tasks and goals that can help you experience a sense of achievement and progress.
If you’re dealing with unemployment, for example, your routine might be to get out of bed by 8:00 am, take a shower, eat a healthy breakfast, and spend two hours job hunting. This keeps you on a regular schedule and gives you small, actionable steps to complete each day without overwhelming you with a long to-do list.
Successfully sticking to a simple routine helps to keep your depression from taking over your life to the point where you feel too trapped to do anything. Try to complete a few small tasks each day to slowly move toward a more positive and hopeful mindset.
- Explore Treatment Options
Making some adjustments to your lifestyle and mindset can help with depression, but it may not be enough to get you back on your feet. That’s nothing to be ashamed of—after all, depression can be caused by changes to your brain chemistry that are out of your control. However, it’s still a serious disorder that can affect your life and those you love most, so you should seek treatment if your depression persists.
Fortunately, there are a number of options available. Psychotherapy and antidepressants are the most common treatments for depression, but it’s important to remember that these options may take weeks or months to have an effect. At-home options like light therapy can help, especially if you struggle with seasonal depression. You can also consider options like IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy which usually provides substantial relief from depression in a matter of days.
Depression feels like it defines you and makes you less valuable, but that’s not true. Even when you’re going through tough times and it feels like your world is falling apart, you are still worthy of compassion and care. Use these tips to take steps toward overcoming your depression so you can feel like yourself again.