Medication helps a lot of people feel better but there are also lots of things we can do to help ease depression. They also help to prevent us from sliding back into it. Here are four simple things that have helped lots of people – they may help you as well.
1) Sleep when the clock says you should. Get a good night’s sleep but then get up and stay away from bed until bed time again. When you have little energy and not much interest in activity, it is so tempting to snooze and nap throughout the day but research shows this makes depression worse. Bed is not for snacking, not for gaming, not for watching TV, not for reading during the day. Farewell your bed in the morning and greet it again at bedtime. It will take a while before this becomes a routine, but there is so much benefit from a fixed bed time and fixed waking time. One final tip: put your radio alarm clock slightly off station, turn it up loud and put it out of reach!
2) Don’t have a depressed pantry. Eat like a healthy person would! If you eat healthy, balanced meals, full of vitamins and light on sugars, it will not be long before your body starts to reward you by feeling more energetic and healthier. And even before the physical changes happen you will feel better just by taking control of what you put on the plate. Make it easier by filling your fridge and cupboards with quality, varied and healthy food… and maybe dumping the junk food in the bin.
3) Treat yourself well. What makes you feel better? Then do it. (My apologies to those of you who immediately thought of ‘Having a nap’ and ‘Eating some junk food’. What else could you do?). Especially do those things that calm you and make you feel good. It might be playing with the dog, putting on some music, doing some relaxation exercises, lighting scented candles, working in the garden, reading a book, doing some stretches, having a bath, taking a stroll or playing the guitar. Slumping in front of the TV has it’s place, but these treats I am talking about are a bit more intentional. You will be amazed how a couple of ‘fifteen-minute holidays’ each day can lift your whole mood.
4) Accept Yourself. So you are not perfect… that is okay. You have your faults and weaknesses – everyone does – but don’t let those block you from seeing that there is actually a lot of good in you, a stack of potential, a ton of talent and you are beautiful as well. Of course, if you are depressed, you might have difficulty believing any of that. But it is true because it is true of every single human on the planet. You are a wonderful individual. Take that from me… but it will be lot more powerful when you can say it to yourself! Everyone would like more friends. Add to your friend-count straight away by including yourself in the list of people you really like.