Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery. The things that help the most are the things that are most difficult to do. Remind yourself of one thing: you are not your depression. This state of pain or panic is not an integral part of you and it will pass. Here is a short check list for when you are feeling defeated, down, depressed, or inexplicably blue:
The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there.Take things day by day and reward yourself for each accomplishment. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one. Thesteps may seem small, but if you make time for one or more each day, they will help to bring aboutchange.
Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future. You can’t break out of this pessimistic mindset by “just thinking positive.” The trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression, but the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. Isolation and loneliness, however, make depression even worse. The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking.
Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed. Join a support group for depression. Being with others who are dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences. To locate a depression support group in your area, use the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s Support Group Locator. 5 tips for reaching out:
Exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing, but exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression! When it’s difficult to even move, start exercising simply by going outside winter or summer, sun or wind or rain. Start with a small goal of walking two or three houses away.
When your body becomes activated you may find you have incentive to walk farther. If that’s all you can do, then try to do this once per hour. You can also run away from your problem or dance, ride or swim it away! Even better results happen when you exercise in groups. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it. To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Short 10minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood.
Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain, raises endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension all things that can have a positive effect on depression. Relying on drugs is often not the answer to many forms of depression. Consider diet, water, breathing and exercise valuable medications! About one third of all people aren’t going to get better with any kind of pharmaceutical medication and, in fact, moderate exercise outperformed a leading antidepressant (Zoloft) in easing symptoms of depression.
When we are depressed we tend to breathe shallowly. By deepening your breath and keeping the rhythm consistent, you increase the amount of oxygen that is reaching your lungs, blood, organs, and cells. This oxygen, of course, is vital for your physiological systems to operate properly. Deep breathing also relaxes your body and mind so that you can examine your negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones.
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better! HelpGuide.org: