Depression is an energy-draining condition that can make it difficult for you to do anything – even the things that can help you to feel better. And although overcoming depression isn’t easy, it’s far from impossible.
You can’t really ‘snap out of it’ but there is so much you don’t realize you can do even if your depression is stubbornly persistent.
It’s a fact that even thinking of the things that you could do to feel better can be debilitating, but that doesn’t make them impossible. There is a difference between difficult and impossible, and it’s one that you can use to your advantage when it comes to coping with depression.
While taking the first step is always the hardest (regardless of whether you’re in a depression or not), it is also a thing you can do right now. And any one of these things below will substantially boost your mood and energy for several hours, which is more than enough to set a second recovery step into motion.
Here’s what you can do to help yourself.
1. Talk to one person about your feelings
Call them on the phone or, even better, meet them face to face. Open up about your feelings and don’t judge yourself in the process. Letting them out is essential if you want to achieve emotional peace.
2. Help someone else by volunteering
As much as receiving help is appreciated, especially when it comes to depression, we often forget that we also have the ability to help someone else. This act is always easier to do than to face your depression head on, and it will help you gain insights that might remove the fog from your mind and make you see things in a more fulfilled and optimistic way.
3. Spend some time in nature
Nature is an amazing antidepressant. It’s like you’re entering a place which breathes and lives – and gives protection. If you haven’t tried taking a walk in nature so far, now is the best time. You’ll enjoy every second of it.
4. Do something spontaneous
Spontaneity triggers adrenaline and allows you to be creative and engaged in whatever you’re doing. In fact, it’s very smart to avoid dull and predictable tasks while dealing with depression. Instead, think of something you like to do, and don’t too much about how you’re going to do it. Be spontaneous.
5. Do exercise
Any kind of exercise – even walking – will do tons of good for you in this state. And there is always something which you will find yourself able to do. Why not try yoga instead of the gym? Or perhaps combine running with nature! It’s an amazing experience.
6. Take a dog for a walk.
If you don’t own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
7. Minimize sugar and refined carbs
Comfort foods, baked goods, or those sugary snacks may feel good at the moment, but the ultimate result from all those sugars and refined carbs is a crash in mood and energy. And you don’t want that when you’re dealing with depression.
8. Boost your B vitamins
It has been shown that Vitamin B deficiencies can trigger depression – especially in cases when folic acid and B12 are low in your body. So, introduce more citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans, eggs, and chicken and take a B-complex vitamin supplement.
9. Get a daily dose of sunlight
Sunlight is one of the most powerful serotonin boosters, and it can improve your mood by a lot. That’s why exposing yourself to the sun at any given chance is very important. Open the curtains at home and get out in the sun for at least 15 minutes a day.
10. Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
As you can see, the purpose of these activities is to get you out of your sedentary lifestyle which contributes even more to your depression. It’s a toxic combination which works by both elements constantly reinforcing each other. So, get out and do something you’d enjoy.
11. Challenge negative, unrealistic ways of thinking that fuel depression
Avoid looking at things in black-or-white categories, because there’s always middle ground to everything; Don’t generalize things on the basis of a single negative experience, because one experience never defined anything; Focus more on the positive and stop putting labels on yourself. The world is not that simple to interpret and it’s much more beautiful if you allow it to be.
12. Put your thoughts on the witness stand
Try to identify the destructive thought patterns that make your depression worse and start to challenge them with questions such as:
-Is there any evidence that this thought is true/not true?
-If a friend had this thought, what would I tell them?
-Is there an alternative explanation for this, or another way of looking at the situation?
-If I didn’t have depression, how might I look at this situation?
You will be surprised at how quickly negative thoughts crumble when they’re cross-examined.
And finally, never be afraid to ask for help – both from your close ones and professional one. We’re all in this together, you have no idea how much we are.