Depression can leave you tired, drained, and empty, making it hard to regain strength and go about your life. As hard as it comes, there are ways to cope and feel better as days go by. Here are 12 tips and natural ways to cope with depression.
1. Create a Routine
When going through a depression episode, it might feel like one day melts into the next. One minute, you are awake, and the next, you’ve slipped into six hours of sleep. The first step to coping with depression is creating a routine. Bring back some structure into your life by setting up a daily routine.
2. Set Small Attainable Goals
Start setting daily goals now that you are trying to get some structure back into your life. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Start by accomplishing at least one goal daily. The first one could be waking up and making your bed. The feeling of completing a task will help you get back on track.
Here are examples of small daily goals to set –
- Make your bed
- Clean your room.
- Organize your closet.
- Wash the dishes.
- Stand in the sun for five minutes.
- Make a meal.
3. Stretch and Exercise
Depression rewires the brain to stop producing feel-good hormones called endorphins. Therefore, the fastest way to slip out of a depression episode is by regular exercising or staying active. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift weights. You can walk around your neighborhood or do some yoga at home.
4. Get into a Healthy Diet
Lacking appetite or overeating are common symptoms of a depression episode. Make weekly meal plans as a start since you don’t have the energy to cook regularly. Consult a dietician to help you create a healthy meal plan. With a meal plan, your friends and family may step in to help you make weekly meals as you pull away from your depression episode.
5. Create a Healthy Sleeping Routine
Sleeping more than usual or not sleeping at all are common symptoms of depression. Once your body clock becomes irregular, it becomes hard to pull away from a depression episode. Organizing your day to ensure you go to bed every day at the same time. You can even set an alarm to tell you it’s time to sleep. Additionally, start powering down when it’s close to your sleeping time. Turn off your mobile devices and the lights to help you power down faster.
6. Challenge Negative Thoughts
When the negative thoughts stream in, it’s easy to give in and feel bad about yourself. You have to do the inner work since you have created some structure in your life. Work on your thoughts. Rewiring your brain to think more positively is easier said than done, but you have to.
The simplest way to do this is to use logic. For example, if you feel like you are the most unlikely candidate for a job because you feel worthless, think about all your accomplishments and qualifications. When you feel like no one likes you, try to list down any evidence of this. Get back control by beating negative thoughts.
7. Stay Involved in Your Responsibilities
It’s easier to delegate and step away from your daily responsibilities at work and home. Staying involved will help you keep yourself occupied from negative thoughts. You will be more grounded and get a sense of accomplishment. If you are not ready for full-time work or school, try applying for part-time work and more flexible classes. Any job that can keep you occupied and help you create a routine is good. If you can’t do part-time work, try volunteering in the community.
8. Mindfulness and Meditation
Practices like mindfulness and meditation can help you manage stress and negative thoughts.
9. Try Something New
Push yourself to do something new. It could be a hobby or a skill you may have wanted to do in the past. Visit that place you’ve heard your friends talk about. Try the local museum or a restaurant. Spice up your daily routine and change the scenery to help yourself look forward to getting up in the morning.
10. Have Tons of Fun
What did you enjoy doing before your depression episode? You have to keep trying to have fun. Force yourself if you have to. Start that knitting project you’ve been thinking about, hang out with your friends, or go to the movies.
11. Stay Away From Drugs and Alcohol
When the negative thoughts kick in, it might feel easier to turn to drugs and alcohol abuse. Long-term drug use and dependency will affect your brain functions and make your depression and health worsen.
12. Try Professional Help Apps
Consider using mental health apps or online resources, such as virtual therapy or self-help tools.
13. Reward Yourself
You should recognize how far you’ve come from not having the strength to get up from bed to having a semi-structured routine. All goals deserve a reward, no matter how small they are. Recognizing your success will motivate you to try harder and not listen to negative thoughts.
14. Spend Time in Nature
Taking walks and spending time in nature can influence your mood positively. Getting exposed to nature will reduce your chances of developing mental health disorders. You can eat lunch in a park or listen to music while watching birds and insects fly away. Getting some extra vitamin D from the sun is a bonus.
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