Living with depression can feel like a consistent drain of your energy, motivation and hope. Just thinking about the things you should do can seem impossible. It feels much easier to stay in bed or to watch TV than to get up and do the daily activities that most people seem to do each day.
Although it may seem difficult, the best way to overcome depression is to break this cycle. The cycle of ruminating on negative thoughts, keeping yourself isolated and avoiding activities altogether.
When we experience depression, we might feel too exhausted to do anything or too ashamed to speak to a friend. Keep in mind this is your depression talking. Reaching out and taking the first step is not a sign of weakness. It takes strength to make the first move to recovery and it is possible.
When we think about the things we need to do, such as household chores, going to the gym or making dinner, it can seem overwhelming and we can give up before we even try one of these tasks. The key is to start small and build from there. You can start by going out into the backyard for 5 minutes of sun, or calling a friend. Taking the first step is the hardest but it does get easier! It can help to boost your mood and get you on your feet even in the hardest of times.
Here are some tips to start small and break the cycle of ongoing depression.
- Self Care
Practicing self care can take many forms and is a great way to boost your confidence. Doing something that makes you feel good such as listening to music, painting or playing with your pets can be just the thing to help you get back on your feet. Remember that you can push yourself to do something, even if you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised by how the activity will boost your mood. Try to think of one or two things that you enjoy and by starting off by doing this once daily.
- Don’t push yourself too much
Living with depression can make daily tasks seem overwhelming. The more we think about the things we should be doing, the more the list can pile up and we can feel like it will be impossible to achieve. It is important to start with small goals. You could try to break up tasks by each day. Monday’s could include washing the dishes. On Tuesday’s you could try going for a walk around the block and so on. Taking one step at a time can slowly increase your motivation to build on these goals as time goes on.
- Spend some time in the sun
Studies suggest that being outside in nature, or in the sun can boost our mood significantly. It can reduce levels of depression, anxiety and stress. By going for a walk we can be more present in the moment, relieving us from negative thought patterns of the past and future. Practice listening our for birds chirping, people walking by, watching leaves falling down or even smelling some flowers along your walk. This can help with feelings of fatigue and increase your serotonin levels.
- Talk to someone
Although it may feel like the best option to isolate and withdraw yourself from social interaction, this will only exacerbate your depression. When we are alone, we are forced to be with our thoughts which can spiral into a negative circuit. Reaching out to friends or family can help to break this cycle. Calling a friend can help reduce feelings of loneliness and emptiness. Remember that you are not a burden, it is okay to get a helping hand from your loved ones. Trying this can make your day much better.
If you are struggling with depression and would like to seek professional help, speak to your GP for a referral to either a counsellor or psychologist who can help you work through this challenging time.