When Depression Isn’t Letting Up
I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember, and I know how difficult it is to get out of that depressive funk. Luckily, I’ve been doing really well, and people often ask me what they can do to help themselves feel happy.
Here are a few of my favorite things:
1. Go for a walk
Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air can really help your body feel better. This is great for your physical health because you’re getting exercise, and great for your mental health because the sunshine is fantastic.
2. Start journaling
This is one of my favorite suggestions to people. Journaling helps you get all of your thoughts and feelings down on paper. It helps you sort through them after you write. An alternative to this is writing a letter to someone who may have hurt you. Write everything, edit it, and if you want to, send it. If you choose not to send it, at least you have everything out of your system and it’s not being bottled up anymore.
3. Draw or color
There’s something really relaxing about sitting down to color or draw. It gives off a Zen vibe, and gives you something to do that you don’t have to be good at.
4. Listen to or play music
I love listening to music when I feel upset. Depending on my mood, I may play really sad songs that will make me cry. That helps me get all of my emotions out. I may play empowering music too, that makes me feel like I can get through anything. I also might just play songs that make me feel happy, something that will just put a smile on my face.
5. Take a nap
Sometimes, our feelings get to be too much to handle. When this happens, I try to take a nap. When I wake up, everything will still be there, but I feel more relaxed and ready to take things head on.
6. Spend time with your pet
Animals have a way of making us feel better. I love just hanging out with my dogs when I’m feeling upset.
7. Go shopping
Now, I’ve learned first hand that this can be dangerous. Set a limit of how much you’re going to spend, and stick to it. You don’t want to go broke, but buying yourself something nice can be a great pick-me-up.
8. Talk to someone
This is not one of my personal favorites because I don’t particularly enjoy opening up to people, but talking to someone can really help get a lot off of your chest
9. Eat something
There’s nothing better than indulging in a chocolate cake when you’re feeling upset. Or whatever your favorite food is. A comfort food can really help get you back to feeling better. With this being said, you don’t want to really overeat, because that can be dangerous for your health, but a nice comfort food now and then can do wonders for your mood.
10. Ground yourself
There are some great grounding exercises out there. My favorite is the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. You identify 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 you can taste. Some people switch out 1 thing you can taste with 1 thing you like about yourself, because it can be difficult to identify taste sometimes. The internet is full of wonderful grounding exercises if this one isn’t for you.
11. Support someone else
Something that has helped me the most throughout my journey with depression is helping others. Whether you do this through volunteering at a shelter, donating money, helping someone through a tough time, etc., it will lift your spirits knowing that you made someone else happy.
12. Watch a funny video
There’s not much else to say for this. My personal favorites are wisdom tooth after anesthesia videos and funny dog videos. I could watch them for hours.
13. Read a book
This one isn’t something I go to right away, but it does help some people. I have found that I get pretty bored if the book doesn’t grab my attention in the first few pages.
14. Practice some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is, in the most basic terms, rewording negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of “I can’t believe I did nothing today. I hate myself,” say, “Wow, I was able to get out of bed and take a shower today, that’s great.” I use this a lot when I am thinking negatively.
Sometimes, seeing your house go from a total disaster to a fairly decent living space is a fantastic way to cheer yourself up. Not only do you have a clean home, but you also can see the improvement that you helped create.
16. Seek professional help
I cannot stress this one enough. If you are struggling with depression, reach out. Whether you go see a therapist once a week, visit with a school counselor, or try a helpline, reaching out to a professional does wonders. Your friends may give great advice, but they’re probably not a therapist/counselor. They may seem annoying, but therapists really know what they’re talking about.
If you’re feeling helpless, reach out. Crisis Text Line is a great resource for those who are struggling with depression. Text hello to 741-741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.