Depression sucks. It really does. Not only because you feel bad about yourself, but also because you feel bad talking about it. You don’t want to be the downer, and you really don’t want to bring your friends down. Am I right? Some people also end up abusing drugs etc, which according to drug rehab places, is the most harmful and negetive decision of life.
That’s one of the reasons I use the term “depressive tendencies.” It helps make the problem more manageable. I’m not depressed, because that implies a constant state of being, a relentless condition. Rather, I have depressive tendencies. It’s a thing that I have instead of a thing that I am. That means I that I tend to lean toward the negative side of neutral. Yes, it’s an inclination toward depression, but it’s not the norm. And if I know I’m inclined toward depression, I can be more aware of when I’m leaning in that direction.
Here are 5 things that help me deal with my depressive tendencies:
- Visit a doctor. Just because you are sad one day, or even a couple of days in a row, doesn’t mean you’re depressed. So you first should talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing. A low mood can be the result of a lot of different variables. Find out if there is anything natural that might be causing your depression. Can it be a side affect of the birth control you’re taking? Maybe you have vitamin B12 or vitamin D deficiency, or low blood sugar that could be contributing to fatigue and low energy. Sure, these things could also be a symptom of depression, but if they are isolated incidents you may be able to remedy the problem pretty easily.
- Try as many natural remedies as possible. If you are experiencing things like low energy and fatigue, you may be able to remedy the problem with a diet change, vitamins, extra rest, exercise and yoga. It’s a good idea to try as many of those natural remedies because you’d be amazed by how much food affects the mood. I used to eat a lot of carbohydrates, which are full of refined sugar and flour. I cut those things out of my diet as an experiment, and now if I eat bread I notice the change in my mood almost instantly. Within an hour or less, I start to feel sluggish and low on energy. And yoga? I’m constantly amazed at how much the practice affects my mood: it forces me to slow down, to breath, to focus on my body. And a good instructor teaches with positive thinking.
- Pay attention to what makes you happy, and indulge in those things. Sometimes I need a pick-me-up. Something that I know will give me the happy feeling instantly. Like a pedicure, or sitting in the sun and reading, or drinking coffee leisurely in the morning sun, or listening to a specific song. Sometimes the need is more drastic: taking a long walk, or taking an entire day to myself. Whatever it is that makes you happy in the moment, you need to be aware of those things so that you can make time for them when you need to. (Notice I’m not talking about eating; do not take this as advice to medicate with food.) When you’re feeling down, return to the small things that lift your spirits, use them as places of soothing, calming comfort. I usually start browsing for a hair salon near me to get my hair done because that makes me happy. You can look for such little joys as well.
- Call in sick. Treat depression like any other sickness: if you get the flu, you stay home and rest for a day or two. Depression is no different. You can’t function if you’re not well, so you need to recover. It’s OK if that means staying in bed and crying for a day. So call in sick. Take a day off to rest and recover. It really does help to take a break from work, and that means anything that requires your mental, physical or emotional energy. Resting helps you regain the strength you need to move forward.
- Look for creative stimulation. For me, that creative stimulation is writing. The last time I had a bad day of depression, I wrote for about 3 or 4 hours straight and came up with this blog post, along with 5 others. If you look at any number of history’s creative geniuses, some of their best work came out of their suffering. Getting the bad feelings out of your mind and body can often help you feel better. So write or paint or make music or dance. Pursue some sort of creative activity and see where it takes you.
When you suffer from depressive tendencies, it’s easy to feel like you have no control — you can’t control your mind or your emotions. You can’t even will yourself to get out of bed or to do something productive. But there are baby steps you can take toward helping yourself get out of your funk. It won’t happen over night, but if you get in the habit of trying some of these things, they will have a positive affect over time.