Practical Tips for Dealing With Depression On Your Own
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We get given advice like:
“Go to the gym! The endorphins will make you feel great!”
“Get dolled up and go somewhere fun, you’ll feel so much better when you’re out!”
“You should change your diet! Cut out all artificial sugars, alcohol and do a full re-haul. You’ll feel amazing for it.”
But how are we supposed to do any of those things when even lifting your legs off the side of the bed and making a cup of tea seem like the hardest things in the world?
So here are some practical tips for fighting depression from someone who’s been there.
Someone who knows the day to day struggles of living with depression and someone who has come out the other side with a boat load of proper advice and help that I hope will resonate with some of you.
They may seem silly if you haven’t suffered before, frustrating almost. But baby steps are so important when building our mental health back up and every step is a huge achievement.
Practical Tips for Managing Depression
Baby steps to get your mind and yourself back on track when those grey clouds form
Pour a Glass of Water
Even if all your glasses are a little dirty.
Rinse it. Sip it slowly. Don’t think about getting your daily quota, adding fresh lemon or anything else. Just sip, feel the liquid running down your throat and the effects of the hydration gently clearing your mind.
Surround Yourself with Familiar Scents
I found a lot of the time that smelling something mundane and familiar really helped bring me back into the here and now. For example, your favourite perfume – spray it on and take a deep breathe. A teabag! Your favourite coffee pod. Painting your nails – obviously don’t sniff the bottle kids! – but the scent of the polish is a strong one that may trigger a sense of normality and calmness.
Find your own scent and use it on a dark day to help ground you.
Change Your Pjs For Some Clothes
Even shit baggy ones that don’t match.
Even if you haven’t showered.
Putting on some clothes triggers something in your mind to say you’ve made a step forward. Even if you look like an old bag lady grabbing whatever you find first!
Whatever you fancy.
Screw your diet or what you think you should have. Eat something, anything you want. Let it fill your stomach and fuel your mind in order to give yourself the strength to fight.
Even if you just stand under the water for a while and get out.
Showering will seriously help your mental state and make everything else a little easier. If you find showering is often a big obstacle, think about buying some wipes to use on those days where a shower just isn’t possible.
Put Your Palms on a Wall and Lean onto Them
Take three long breaths.
Feel the pressure of your body weight on your wrists and hands.
Feel yourself being grounded through your legs and the strength of the wall pushing back against you.
Bring yourself back into the present from the depths of your thoughts. You are here now and there is a whole world around you.
Wash Your Hair
Even if you don’t have the energy to dry it.
Let the water rush over it. Lather up loads of shampoo. Take some deep breaths in the shower with the warm water hitting your skin and enjoy the clean feeling afterwards.
Sometimes the process of washing and drying your hair when you’re depressed is too much, but simply washing it – even if you leave it wet – will help.
Do Something For Your Skin
A layer of moisturiser, a wipe with a damp wash cloth, a bit of foundation. Even if it’s paired with greasy hair and crappy clothes and you’re not actually leaving the house do something.
You don’t have to go full hog with a whole face of makeup or an in depth cleansing routine, just one thing will lift your mood slightly when you look in the mirror or touch your face if you’re feeling tired, worn down and worthless.
It sounds like a superficial tip, but if that urge to go outside strikes, then having done this step will stop the ‘oh but I look a mess’ thoughts from stopping you seizing that moment of motivation.
Open a Window and Look Out of It
I don’t know about you, but when I’m down I want to lock myself away from the outside world. Shut myself in a little bubble and never look back. But by opening a window you let in some fresh air and a little of the outside noise which helps improve your health and mental state. But it also reminds you that there is a world out there, even if you don’t want there to be.
It’s subconscious but it helps.
Open a Door and Lean Out of It
Put your shoes on first.
Breathe in the fresh air.
Listen to the sound of the outside, and if the urge to walk for a while hits you – grab your keys and just go.
Talk To Someone
Now this last tip is probably the hardest of them all but I’m going to include it because I think it’s important.
All the other tips we’ve gone through above are a great way to help yourself, but the best way to deal with depression (and the hardest) is to reach out to someone else.
Whether it’s the Samaritans over the phone, a close friend, or your GP. Getting help by sharing your thoughts and feelings with another human, is the best way to help yourself. It’s terrifying, but trust me, I’ve been there, done that AND got the t-shirt. Talking to someone helps, even if you don’t want to or can’t go into the full details right now. Saying the words ‘I’m not ok’ to someone goes a long way.
And if you seriously can’t face talking to another human (even on the phone or via an app), talk to a piece of paper:
Sit down, take a breath and write down your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it can even just be words scribbled in no particular order. But try to get those thoughts and feelings out somewhere – you never know, you might even be your own best therapist.
Do you have any practical tips to help cope with depression?
Leave me a comment or tweet me @xameliax
And if you found this article useful or think someone else could, please pin it, tweet it or share it on Facebook – you never know who you might reach.
You are never alone – there is always another day left in you.
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