Those who struggle with depression know that what they’re experiencing isn’t just a brief sadness or the result or having a bad day. Living with depression can leave you feeling like you’ve been swallowed by a black hole that gradually consumes every aspect of your life. While it might seem easiest to shut out the rest of the world, try using these coping skills to catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Reach out to a loved one
When you’re in the middle of a depressive episode, your first instinct may be to isolate. Instead of suffering in silence, take a leap of faith and reach out to a friend or family member. No, you won’t be burdening them, and chances are they’ll be honored that you trust them to help. Depend on a loved one who knows your favorite activities (bowling, shopping, seeing a movie, etc.). Let them know it would help you to engage in some of these when you’re feeling depressed. Give them a call on a bad day and they can invite you to have some fun with them even if you’re not feeling up to it. Leaning on your support system and maintaining a network of positive people is crucial in easing depression.
Start a gratitude journal
Are you struggling to find the joy in anything? Unfortunately, that’s an all-too-common side effect of depression. When you find yourself in this position, try coming up with a list of 5-10 things you’re grateful for. This list can consist of things as simple as “I’m grateful for hot chocolate, my favorite beverage.” Seeing a written list of the good in your life can be a simple step in your healing process.
Challenge your negative thoughts
A positive behavioral change first requires a shift in your thought patterns. When a negative thought crosses your mind, try finding a way to challenge or counter it. For example, take the thought “I am worthless” and try turning it into something else. It’s not as daunting as you might think. For example, if you got up this morning and fed your pet, you took action to keep them alive. Change your thought from “I am worthless” to “I am dependable.”
Boost your endorphins
It’s no secret that doing a bit of exercise can help to raise your endorphins, but sometimes going to the gym can seem like a chore. If the elliptical machine isn’t right for you, find an alternative physical activity that you enjoy. Take a Yoga or Pilates class; go for a hike or a bike ride and slip in your daily dose of Vitamin D.
Hit the books
Do some of your own research on the subject of depression. In order to cope with your disease, it’s necessary to understand it. Through research, you might discover your triggers, why you feel the way you do, as well as appropriate coping skills. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 350 MILLION people suffering from depression; knowledge of this fact can serve as a reminder that you’re not alone.
Engage in self-care
When you’re in the throws of depression, simple tasks like taking care of yourself can become unbearable. Keep in mind that a little self-love can go a long way. Engaging in self-care activities such as painting your nails, watching your favorite comedy, taking a bath or lighting a candle are all great coping mechanisms to combat depression.
Seek professional help
It’s important to remember that your mental health is just as critical as your physical health. When you start experiencing strep throat symptoms, you don’t wait long before scheduling a doctor’s appointment; the same should go for signs of depression. Therapy is key for a successful recovery process and you shouldn’t have to navigate your struggles alone. If you’re ready to take your life back, contact me and set up an appointment.