Depression is on the rise. Our online culture challenges everyone’s mental health. The good news is that depression is no longer a taboo subject. We are breaking down the barriers between people and the help they need.
Anyone can experience depression. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, how wealthy you are, how fulfilled you are in life.
It can be circumstantial, it can be chemical, and it can be both. This article explores some self-help strategies you can use before or during professional treatment, which might include therapy, medication, and rehabilitation.
Talk about Depression
Depression wins in silence and isolation. Find an accountability partner, someone you trust who will check in with you regularly.
Talk about the circumstances in your life that may be feeding your depression. Write down how you are feeling, a plan to change or to work through difficulties, and a list of things you love to do (or once did).
Find a community of people to encourage you in your healing and to call you out when you need a reminder. We are communal beings. Refuse to be alone.
Embody positive mindfulness
The mental negativity spiral is deep and strong. Learn to meditate and be mindful. Count your blessings. Practice gratefulness. Turn off social media for 24 hours or more. There are many resources to help you change your mindset, including therapy and support groups.
Find a healthy way to escape
Adopt a passion project, something that you love and absorbs you. It can be as simple as a TV show or a good book. Pick up a hobby, something you can put your full focus on, and that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Embrace the power of routine
Routine is the enemy of depression. Reduce the number of decisions you have to make every day. Establish a regular daily bedtime and wake-up time. This is essential to good sleep and the first step to building a routine you can count on.
Create rituals throughout your day. Go for a walk every morning at the same time, have lunch with a friend on Tuesdays, make homemade pasta on Saturdays, etc. Routines establish habits, and good habits foster grounded, positive mindsets.
Honor your body
Experts often link depression to bodily conditions. Cut down on caffeine. Detox from alcohol. Drink plenty of water. Reduce processed food and sugar. Eat healthy, energy-rich foods. Move your body every day. Get plenty of sleep. Repeat.
Many health conditions, including depression, can be lessened or even cured with a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to be dramatic about it. Incremental changes, such as walking 20 minutes a day and cutting out sweets and cocktails can have a dramatic impact on your health.
Feed your soul
Mental health can’t be addressed without talking about faith. Ask questions, research, and read to understand yourself as a spiritual being. Find a spiritual avenue that gives your life meaning, purpose, and support.
Nothing fulfills our human souls like generosity. Find a way to get involved in your community.
The best thing you can do for your depression is to do something for someone else. Volunteer, donate money, pick up trash around your block. Whatever it is, do it consistently and often.
Depression is a normal human experience. Most people, at some point in their lives, whether circumstantially or chemically, will experience depression.
You’re not unique in this predicament, and you’re not alone. If you need a friend, find one. If you need professional help, make an appointment. If you need medication, take it.
These things together expose the darkness and bring the light. Believe that it can get better and that you can create a life of joy and purpose. In the meantime, here are some resources to help you:
- Suicide hotline
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper
- Unlearning Anxiety and Depression by Joseph J. Luciani PhD
- The Devastating Ways Depression and Anxiety Impact the Body