Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.
Depression is a battle, perhaps the most difficult and tiring you will ever face. But plenty of different activities and lifestyle changes can help you with combatting depression. They vary from dietary to emotional. Whatever activity you find works best for you, use it and use it to the best of your ability. There’s nothing to gain from allowing depression to defeat you, but there’s plenty to lose. So try some of these techniques and if any of them help then do them and do them often, incorporate them into your daily life and hopefully you’ll feel the benefit over the long term.
- Healthy diet: Whilst this may seem pretty obvious, it’s surprising how many people eat junk food when they’re feeling down, and it certainly doesn’t help you in feeling better. I personally battle with binge eating disorder, and when I’m depressed is when I’m most prone to binging on junk food. Changing that chocolate bar for an apple for instance could change your mood and make you feel better about yourself – whilst also maintaining your health at the same time. A balanced diet will help assist your mind and body in working as they should and can help with restoring healthy thought patterns. Aim for 3 balanced meals a day and make sure you’re getting your 5 a day!
- Don’t sleep too often: Again, this may not be a surprise to many but sleeping too much doesn’t help with low moods. Staying in bed all day can worsen your mood and depression, so it’s best to avoid that. Try to wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep at the same time each night. It’s all about getting yourself into a routine, even when you have nothing planned for the day stick to that routine and find something to do that can busy you. I learnt from Recovery Skills Therapy that routine is one of the best ways to combat depression, partially down to keeping yourself optimistic and doing things you’ve planned. Sticking to a set routine can help lift your spirit and it helps you in giving your life purpose.
- Self-acceptance and self-validation: This is probably amongst the hardest of the activities you can do that can help you feel better. When battling with depression, the last thing in your thought process is accepting yourself for who you are and validating yourself with positive mantras, am I right? Well, practice makes perfect and there’s even a handy little app that I’ve personally found useful. ThinkUp allows you to record your voice saying positive messages and inspirational words of wisdom and it plays those recordings back to you over soothing music. I found during recovery that listening to these back for just 5-10 minutes each night lifted my spirits a lot and it made self-validation a whole lot easier. Self-validation is the art of telling yourself that you’re doing your best. It’s the skill of telling yourself that you are who you are and that who you are is wonderful. Fill yourself with positivity and reap the benefits of positive thinking.
- Treat yourself: Treat yourself to lift your mood. Treat yourself to your favourite movie whilst your favourite scented candles are burning in the background. Treat yourself to that chocolate bar (only as an occasional treat though) and treat yourself to a meal out with friends. Treating yourself can help lift your spirits and make you feel rewarded for positive steps in your life and in battling your mental illess. Don’t break the bank and go crazy (as I so often do), but an occasional treat can help improve your mood significantly and I’m beginning to do this more and more and I do find it helpful. I also find it helpful to watch funny TV shows, movies or YouTube videos to lift my spirits to something a little more jolly.
I could talk about all of the things you can do for days, and perhaps I will write more posts in the future with further tips of things you can do to improve your mood. I believe this is a good start however, and using these things on their own or even all of them can seriously help you to achieving your recovery goals. I guess it’s all about pushing yourself that little bit further to do these things and feel the benefits of them.
If you have any suggestions of your own of things that can help with alleviating depression then do share them in the comment section below – you could be helping many people with finding something that works for them.