Depression, as is well-known is one of the common mental health disorders. And as much as seeking help when necessary is a part of the healing journey for many people, there is a lot you can do for yourself to manage the condition. Because part of recovery is in being proactive and shouldering responsibility for your emotions. And by doing this, at whatever scale you can manage to begin with, it can become a great source of strength that will help you navigate your depression and come out the other side much easier. However, do bear in mind, these techniques are part of a self-care routine for your depression, and are not intended to be a cure. They’re a supplementary aid and blueprint to help inspire you to create your own self-care routine.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Enforce Your Boundaries
Your boundaries are yours and yours alone to decide. And you’ve got every right to reject anything that makes you feel less than comfortable. So, if that means skipping out on plans – even those you’ve had for weeks and are of great importance to either the people attending or yourself… If you don’t feel safe and secure in yourself. Or, like you feel obligated to show up… Don’t. There’s nothing that says you have to do anything you don’t want. If the people involved trust care about you, they’ll either rearrange if possible or understand your position and respect the fact you need to do what’s best for your mental health.
- Ditch the Junk Food (Make Healthier Choices)
If you put crap in you get crap out… The effect diet has on our mental health is becoming more obvious with each passing year. There’s been a slew of studies all basically confirming this sentiment. And the general consensus is that diets high in processed meats, refined sugar, grains, industrialised seed oils, fried food and so on and so forth are actually a massive contributing factor to conditions such as depression. And sure, these foods may be comforting when you’re not feeling so good. But in the long-term, they’re poor choices for your mental health. The key to eating a more balanced healthy diet is to replace rather than eliminate. If you get rid of the and stuff but don’t have a satisfying replacement that doesn’t compromise on taste, then you’ll fall right back into those old habits.
- Find a Form of Exercise That You Can Stick to…
Many studies have shown exercise is undeniably good for our overall mental health. And actually, it can be an effective form of treatment for mild to moderate depression. A recent study by Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health found that running for minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of depression by 26%. So, based on those findings it’d be pretty easy to say, ‘just do that.’ But that’s not exactly person-centred. And I’d say, find a form of exercise that you actually enjoy. If it is running great, you’re all set. But if it’s yoga, palates, powerlifting, cycling, callisthenics or whatever it might be, do that instead. If it inspires you, do more of that. You can probably find all the tutorials you need on YouTube.
- Do One Something that Makes You Feel Good Daily
What this means is going that extra mile for yourself. It doesn’t mean every day needs to be an incredible celebration of yourself, because when you’re depressed that’s just an unrealistic expectation. Just pick one thing. One simple thing. It could be a nice meal you cook, watching something that makes you laugh on Netflix, listening to a song or album you like, reading a book or having a bath. The key is to be consistent in what you do for yourself to create a habit of loving-kindness and self-care. Record them in your journal and see how long you can go before breaking the chain. Make self-care and being good yourself a daily occurrence that becomes a habit.
- Create a Sanctuary Space
Putting the effort into making a nice space for yourself might be the furthest thing from your mind when you’re depressed. But it’s something that will provide you with a lot of grounding. Knowing you’ve got a safe space to come back to or a safe zone can be a real comfort. And it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. It could be basic as saying my bedroom is my sanctuary space. When I really need to recharge, that’s the place that’s I’m to make myself feel good. Or, if you have a more creative streak, you could decorate one of the rooms in your house to make a kind of den or something that symbolises a womb experience or container. What this looks like will be up to you. Be creative.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sorry if you’ve heard this before… But good quality really is important. And it has a bidirectional relationship with depression… Meaning, poor sleep can be contributing factor to depression and depression can also make you more likely to develop sleep issues. Some conditions that can affect people with depression include insomnia, hypersomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. But the big one of those three is insomnia with an estimated 75% of people with depression being affected by it at some point. In terms of self-care methods you can use to combat this… It’s going to take some experimenting. You might find success with apps like calm and headspace or some of the sleep talk down channels on YouTube. Melatonin supplements can also be very effective. Exercise can also be useful, also, as well getting a good grounding balanced meal of an evening with a decent portion of protein and fat.
- Create a Schedule of Mini-Goals (That is Actually Realistic)
No doubt you’ll have probably heard about having a routine and how much it can help to have a consistent structure in your life to help combat depression. And it’s true and it does help… But you need to make sure the schedule you’re creating for yourself is realistic. If you’re reaching too far and overextending yourself, committing to a schedule you’re never got to keep, it’ll only make you feel worse about yourself. You can start by simply doing one good thing a day, consistently. And increase the level of responsibility, gradually as when you’re able to… If you feel like you can handle more, then plan your day according. Choose things you know you can stick to at first if you’re struggling. Really bring it down to basics. Like, getting up, brushing your teeth, having breakfast, getting dressed. If you’re more high-functioning, incorporate going to work and social activities if that’s where you’re at. Choose the schedule that works best for you and make sure it’s something you can manage day-in-day-out. Once you see yourself being consistent, it gives you a platform to start building your life back up.