Do a Google search on “how to manage depression” and you’ll be flooded with results.
For the most part, it’s a lot of the same: exercise, eat well, better sleep, see a doctor, find a therapist. And, in terms of good advice, these things are all true. But, in and of themselves, they are not a solution.
There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all solution to depression, just as depression is not a one-size-fits-all disease. That said, if you or someone you know is struggling, here are five tips to help improve your state of mind.
1. Write it down
Depression commonly goes hand-in-hand with distorted, negative thinking.
People who experience depression are more likely to think and ruminate on negative thoughts: negative thoughts about themselves, their futures, and the world in general.
To help step out of a harmful pattern of thinking, it can be useful to write down recurring thoughts, given that these are often distortions that perpetuate unhelpful behaviors.
By writing down these thoughts, it is easier to recognize the distorted thinking. Challenge what’s written. Consider, does it help to think this way?
2. Don’t procrastinate
While avoiding tasks feels easier at times, especially when you are feeling like you have no energy or interest, avoidance does nothing to promote a sense of productivity.
By doing your tasks and not procrastinating, you’re helping yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy
3. Be intentional
Be sure to acknowledge when you’re winning!.
When experiencing depression, it’s easy to get bogged down in the big picture: all that isn’t getting done, all that isn’t going well. In doing so, you overlook the “routine” successes and accomplishments you achieve everyday.
You should be your biggest fan and so be intentional about taking a moment to congratulate yourself from time to time.
4. Practice self-compassion
Be a friend to yourself.
Think of how you treat your friends, and treat yourself with that same compassion. Extend grace to yourself where you might think you don’t deserve it.
Constantly thinking down on yourself is being unfair to yourself, and will only worsen feelings of depression. Give yourself the gift of kindness and try to train yourself to be less dependent on affirmation from others
Set a reminder everyday to acknowledge one thing about yourself you like and one area you feel you’ve grown. Trust us, it works!
5. Enjoy the little things
Find healthy, little activities that you can enjoy and practice routinely.
This can be something as “uneventful” as taking a bath, reading a favorite book, Facetiming a friend, or going for a drive with the windows down.
People who struggle with depression are more likely to feel disinterested, but there’s always something—no matter how small—that can help bring a smile to your face!