Depression takes its toll on every part of life. It’s not something that can be turned off and on. We understand that your depressive symptoms will not immediately vanish as soon as you begin counseling. However, we would like to share some coping mechanisms to help you minimize the impact depression has on your lifestyle. Coping with depression is never easy, but there are some things you can do to help yourself cope.
1. Be Honest
Be honest with yourself, your loved ones, and your counselor. When you are depressed, it’s not helpful to tell yourself that you are not depressed. Be aware of the depth of your sadness. Tell someone you trust how you feel. You don’t need to wear a big sign on your shirt that says “I’m Depressed,” but you also don’t need to push it down. Being mindful of your own condition is healthy and allows you to take rational steps to deal with your depression.
2. Keep Good Habits
Good habits to help you deal with depression might be
- attending regular counseling sessions,
- taking your prescribed medication,
- eating three healthy meals daily,
- drinking plenty of water,
- and keeping a journal.
If it’s a regular habit, and it helps you stay healthy and focused on your good life, then keep doing it, even when your depression flares up!
3. Be Around Others
Depression has a way of thriving in isolation. Fight back by surrounding yourself with people who care about you. Talk face-to-face with a real person. Get involved in another person’s life. Reach out to care for someone who needs your help. Be social and kind, even if you feel like curling up in bed with a pillow over your head. Reaching out to real people is a great way to cope with your own depression.
4. Do Something You Used to Enjoy
Do you feel like you don’t enjoy anything anymore? That’s normal. Think back to a time when you did enjoy things. What activity did you love? Try it again. At first, you might feel like your trying to force yourself to have fun. It’s true that fun and enjoyment can’t be forced. However, give yourself a few chances. You might surprise yourself by actually growing fond of your old activity again. Doing something is usually better than sitting alone doing nothing.
5. Find Some Rhythm
Exercise with lots of rhythmic movement, such as walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing, can help you cope with negative thoughts. Why? Because you can concentrate on the rhythmic ways your body is moving. You can walk and watch your feet step, step, step, step. Thinking about the movement redirects your thoughts from something negative and irrational to something real and positive.
6. Be Aware of Your Negative Thought Patterns
Sometimes we have to think, no matter if we are exercising or not. Depression often puts an irrational spin on your thoughts, and you might notice that your thoughts run in certain patterns. Try to step back and notice the pattern. If you know how you think, you can be better at coping with the negative thoughts. Do your thoughts fit any of these common patterns?
- Over-generalization: Everything is horrible. I am never going to be happy again.
- Black-and-white thinking: I am a complete failure. Because I am depressed now, I will always be this way.
- Strict, self-imposed rules: I should be wide-awake, talkative, and happy to see my spouse. If I’m not, then I’m not good enough.
- Turning positive things around: I got a good grade on that test, but I just guessed on most of those problems, and I won’t do well next time.
- Reasoning based on how you feel: I feel like a crybaby, so I must be one.
- Acting like you can read minds: She doesn’t care about me. I can tell he thinks I’m stupid.
When you catch yourself thinking irrationally, start combating those thought patterns. Ask yourself, what is really true? And most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for thinking negatively. When you are depressed, these things are going to happen. Deal with yourself kindly while trying to defeat your negative thinking.
7. Make Wellness a Priority
You know the certain things that soothe you, please you, and help you through your tough times. Maybe it’s holding your cat, listening to a certain song, or doing a favorite household chore, like washing dishes. Don’t wait for the cat to jump in your lap! Don’t wait until the dishes pile up! If washing dishes helps you feel better, then take the clean dishes out of the cupboard and wash them. Know what might help you, and then do it. Some people call this creating a wellness toolbox. Your special activities and objects are your personal tools for coping with depression.
When depression gets you down, seek professional help. Our counselors are trained to guide you toward a healthier mental life. Contact us today for more information about depression counseling.