Low self-esteem, a lack of excitement and low energy are some of the symptoms of depression. It can be a very isolating disorder and can stop you from doing the things that you once enjoyed, or even prevent you from trying out new, enjoyable experiences. Depression can be a difficult disorder to deal with as you not want to do the very things that will help you achieve recovery. It is important to remember is that depression is treatable, and is a relatively common disorder. The key is to treat depression like any other illness and fight what is affecting your mental well-being. We have some recommendations below to help you manage depression.
Be as Active As Possible
With depression, your energy can slump, and you may not feel like being very physically active. That said, physical activity can help fight feelings of depression. Aim to increase your heart rate every day by doing twenty minutes of some form of exercise, even walking. Exercise is the key to releasing endorphins, the happy chemicals in our brains, which pick up our mood. You do not need to do anything too strenuous and you could start out with activities you once enjoyed, such as gardening, yoga, or if you are feeling up to it, a gym workout. All of these activities can help to improve your mood..
Overcome Your Self-Destructive Mentality
Depression can cause you to be very self-critical and this can affect and take over your everyday life. Someone who suffers from depression may accept that this negative way of viewing themselves is reflective of who they really are. This misrepresentation is, in fact, our critical inner voice. Our critical inner voice is something that we are be born with – it can be like an overbearing parent: it means well but can be very negative and destructive. The key is to recognize this inner voice and to then try and overcome it.
One way to do this is to view this inner voice as a virus that is stopping you from getting up and getting on with your day. Refrain from listing to this virus when it is trying to stop you from reaching your goals, telling you not to socialize with others and stopping you from taking part in those activities that you enjoyed doing in the past. If you do not fight this virus and instead give in to it, it can overpower you. If you feel like this virus is defeating you, then think about a friend or a family member: would you have these thoughts about them if they were feeling this way? How would you tell them to fight this? If you can start to feel compassion for yourself and see this inner voice as a hindrance or virus, you will soon be able to see yourself in a new, more realistic light.
Quit Beating Yourself Up
If you punish yourself for having depression, you will make your symptoms worse and this may prevent you from helping yourself. Self-critical thoughts prevent you from moving on and keep you feeling down. For this reason, it is vital to acknowledge where you are, feel compassion for yourself and stop punishing yourself for feeling low. Aim to have a more positive attitude and accept what is happening to you. Always remember that depression is treatable and you are not alone. You need to find the right course of treatment that willl suit you.
Avoid Isolating Yourself
It is common for the person with depression to isolate themselves and to ruminate on not bothering others with their issues. Once again, these thoughts need to be treated like an enemy which is preventing you from being your best self. Aim to ignore these thoughts and try to confide in a friend or family member. By talking to someone, you can help to ease your troubles, which will help move you towards recovery. Go somewhere where you will see and meet people who share the same interests as you. Everyone has difficulties sometimes and you need to remember that depression does not define you or make you different from anyone else.
Watch Something Funny
This may seem trivial but if you watch something that makes you smile or laugh, you will actually fool your brain into thinking that you are happy. Watch your favorite movie or some stand-up comedy. By doing this, you are not just distracting yourself, you are reminding your brain that it is possible to feel happy again.
Seek to Enjoy What You Used To
Depression can make you not feel like doing the things that you used to find pleasurable. You may feel lethargic but try as hard as you can to not give in to this feeling, as it will give your depression power. The best thing to do is to be active and do anything that is or was of interest to you. This is easier said than done. But whenever you feel like being home alone and doing nothing, encourage yourself to head out for a walk, catch up with a friend or even do some baking – whatever it takes, and as small as it may seem.
Although you may be missing out on things due to your depression, always try and focus on moving forward, and remember that this won’t be forever – you CAN fight depression and it will not beat you.