Depression isn’t something a person can just snap out of. Due to various underlying reasons, it may be something you have to learn to cope with. You can still have a good quality of life despite depression. Taking care of your daily needs and staying involved with activities you enjoy are the right places to start when coping with depression.
Don’t try to hide depression; it isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Find people you can trust to talk to about your feelings. This can be friends, family members, support groups, and professionals. Understand your triggers to do what you can to reduce symptoms of depression. For many individuals, taking daily medication can help.
15 ways to cope with depression
1. Take care of your daily needs
Try to stick with a schedule to help you cope with depression. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. You may be tempted to sleep all day to help avoid feeling anything at all. Get out of bed, take a shower, and eat something good for yourself. Don’t skip meals and don’t emotionally eat. Try to consume foods offering the right balance of vitamins and nutrients.
Don’t skip your hygiene habits when you suffer from depression. You will feel better getting dressed and combing your hair. For women, styling your hair and putting on some makeup can help to boost your mood. Never feel guilty about taking some time for yourself! You may need a break from a busy schedule. Soak in the bathtub, get a sitter for a few hours, or say no when you are already overextended and asked to do more.
2. Indulge a bit
There is nothing wrong with pampering yourself when you need it the most! Do your nails at home or enjoy your favorite dessert. Watch movies you have seen before but enjoy. Curl up on the porch with a good book and become wholly absorbed in it. Coping with depression doesn’t mean you need to wallow or suffer in it. Seek the indulgences. You can even indulge your emotions by listening to songs about depression.
3. Enjoy the sunlight
Being inside more in the colder months can increase depression. Staying home due to COVID-19 can do this too. Try to enjoy the sunlight more as it will help lift your mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Open curtains at home and let the sun come in. Bundle up and go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Go for a drive and listen to your favorite music. Find places close by where you can hike and get back to nature. Being outdoors and getting more sunlight will be refreshing.
4. Reduce stress
Everyone has to deal with stress now and then. If it is all the time due to work or other issues, it is time to nip that in the bud. Reduce stress where you can, even if you must make difficult decisions to do so. Ongoing stress takes a toll on the mind and body. It makes it hard to focus and hard to find pleasure in anything.
Practice relaxation techniques to help you manage stress. Meditation and yoga can be good options, and they can be done at home. Deep breathing can help you keep your cool in a stressful situation. Focusing on specific muscle groups and relaxing them one by one can help you unwind and sleep better.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise can help with coping with depression because it boosts the levels of various chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are responsible for mood, so increasing them can lower the symptoms of depression. Exercise can be anything you enjoy doing. You can go for walks, play sports outside with the kids, or go to the gym.
Strive to get at least 30 minutes per day of exercise. Mixing up the activities will prevent you from getting bored. It shouldn’t be seen as a punishment or something you dread. Instead, it should be something you look forward to doing for your physical and mental well-being. Depression can cause fatigue, and regular exercise will help you keep your energy levels up.
6. Positive mindset
Negative thoughts and feelings can spread through your mind and body fast. They can be toxic to your well-being and make you second guess decisions. Strive to change that around with a positive mindset. When you get up in the morning, think of good things to look forward to that day. Before you go to sleep, think of all the good things in your life and why you appreciate them.
Be aware of negative thoughts, and immediately change them around. Replace that thought with a positive one. It takes some time to train your brain to do this. Over time, you will encounter negative thoughts less frequently, and it is natural for you to have a positive mindset.
7. Talk with someone you trust
Don’t hide your depression from others; it is harder if you’re coping with depression. Society is getting better about reducing the stigma associated with depression. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel. Let your partner and family know you have depression so they can understand you better. Share your thoughts and feelings with a friend you can count on.
8. Take care of tasks
You may not feel like paying the bills or taking out the trash but stay on top of such tasks. Take care of your home and your responsibilities. If you slack with them, your depression is bound to get worse. Your home doesn’t have to be spotless, but make sure you pick up regularly and take care of routine cleaning needs. Make a list of items to complete for the day. It feels good to get them marked off!
9. Stay connected
You may not feel comfortable telling everyone you have depression, and you don’t have to. Take the time to stay connected to friends and family, though. Isolating yourself because of depression is common. It is harder to be connected right now due to COVID-19, but try to do what you can. Talk on the phone or send emails. Use Zoom or other platforms to have virtual interactions.
Volunteer your time to help stay connected to others and help your community. A few hours per week can help you feel better. Many food banks and shelters need all the assistance they can get. Check with local animal shelters, too, about coming in to assist with caring for pets. Schools and libraries often need volunteers, also because they have low budgets to work with.
10. Stay involved with activities you love
Find activities and hobbies you are passionate about and take part in them regularly. When you have depression, you may feel like you go through the motions sometimes. Continue to stay involved with the activities you love. Don’t be tempted to push them aside. When you feel like that, consider trying something new. This can spark a new passion for you to spend time with.
11. Limit the use of alcohol
Consuming alcohol regularly or in large amounts can make depression worse. Some individuals use this to cope with the problem, but they don’t realize they are compounding it. Limit the use of alcohol if you have depression. This will help you to feel your best. If you drink daily, seek help from professionals. It is likely making your depression worse and more challenging for you to cope with it.
12. Identify your triggers
Pay attention to triggers which influence your depression. This can be people around you, places you visit, or even your job. When you can identify triggers, you are in control of your depression. Make changes to help you reduce the opportunity for such triggers to affect you. This may mean ending relationships with toxic people, improving your communication skills, and changing jobs.
Get your thoughts and feelings on paper. Create a mindfulness journal and try to write in it every day. Document how you feel, triggers you experienced, and positive events too. This can be therapeutic and help your mindset.
14. Consider medications and counseling
Professional help is an excellent option to cope with depression. Consider finding a therapist to help. The counselor can complete an assessment to determine your level of depression. The sessions can be individual or in a group setting. They can help you reach out for support, evaluate options, and make positive changes. Medication can help with changing the chemicals in the brain.
It takes time to find the right medication, be patient and work closely with professionals. They will start you on a low dose to take each day. Don’t change the dose, and don’t skip taking it, even when you feel great! The dose may need to be increased, or the medicine changed depending on the results from it. Share information with the professionals to assist you with the best medication to help you cope with depression.
15. Use methods that work for you
A variety of the above methods may work for you to help control depression. Your own needs and other variables will influence the value they offer to you. Pay attention to your needs and how you feel. If you believe the depression is getting out of control or you have thoughts of hurting yourself, reach out for immediate help. It is possible to live a good quality of life despite depression. Developing coping skills, you can count on to help you through it will make a difference!