A severe bout of depression can be a life-changing event. Recovery is not an easy road, but it is possible. Although it’s likely you might be taking antidepressant medication, you also need therapy.
A therapist or counselor will teach you techniques you can use to keep yourself centered and focused on the path ahead. It’s vital that you take these tools and skills on board and implement them in your everyday life. They will help you cope as you re-enter the world of work, friends, and family.
There is no real cure for depression. It is a condition you must learn to manage.
You’ll have good days and bad days. What will turn the bad days into good days is how you tackle them.
When you feel the darkness enveloping you, use these techniques to keep it at bay. Not all of them will work for everyone. Experiment until you find a selection that is effective for you.
One of the first things that you need to do is establish what triggers feelings of depression.
It helps people in depression to keep a journal to track what brought on depressive thoughts.
Once he’d established his triggers, he and his therapist could find ways to avoid or address them. This has made his struggle with the condition a lot easier.
A journal can contain entries, lists, pictures, doodles, and just about anything else. Let your journal be a safe place where you express your true feelings.
Read: The 17 Benefits of Journaling That Will Motivate You to Start Writing Tomorrow Morning
Yoga is a discipline that requires total focus and control. It encourages you to get in tune with your body and breathing. That’s not to say it can’t be a little humorous though, especially in the beginning stages when you’re mastering it.
A yoga session will leave you feeling calm and spiritually rested.
In time, yoga will become an important part of your routine to keep yourself centered and in control. Let its soothing effects enter and settle in your mind.
We all have different interests that we pursue in our spare time. These are among the first things that depression robs us of. Going into a deep depression leaves you unable to take any pleasure from your hobbies.
You might choose to go back to the hobbies you previously enjoyed or find something new.
Making or doing something gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
When you’re in recovery from a serious bout of depression, the outdoors is very important. Take time to spend outside each day, weather permitting.
Taking some time to breathe in the outside air and see the sights around you is relaxing. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, a run down a city street, or sitting on a park bench, the outdoors is a tonic for the soul.
Meditation is an important activity to keep your mind calm and focused.
It does not have to be a scheduled production, you can do it anywhere and anytime. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing techniques to oxygenate your brain.
It helps to visualize a place or person that makes you feel happy. Using simple techniques such as these whenever you need them can help you kick any dark thoughts to the curb.
One of the easiest ways to put negative thoughts out of your mind is to occupy it with something else.
There are lots of things you can do to accomplish this. For example, chew gum.
It is a sub-conscious reflex to chew, and it distracts your mind.
Reading, doing crossword puzzles, or drawing and coloring in are great ways to take your mind off things. It might be time to try something you’ve not tried before to keep your mind occupied.
7. Music and dance
If you’re a music lover, put your favorite tunes to work for you.
Have a playlist of songs that calm you or make you feel happy on your phone. Turn to them when you’re feeling a bit down and need a pick-me-up.
If the mood takes you and it’s the right place (not on the subway!), dance. It’s exhilarating and releases feel-good endorphins into your system.
Music is really the food of love, so let it spread through your body and mind.
One of the most frequently reported symptoms of depression is excessive sleep or insomnia.
If you’ve had a bout of depression, your sleep patterns have been affected. Now that you’re recovering, get your sleep habits back on track.
You need a solid 8-9 hours of quality sleep a night. Keep your sleeping hours regular and try not to deviate too often.
Give your body and brain enough time to recharge each night. Create a sleep routine that helps you get to sleep and get the rest you need.
Animal lovers will tell you that they find great comfort in their pets.
Pets love you unconditionally. They don’t demand that you are animated and happy all the time. In fact, they can sense when you’re a bit down and offer their affection to help you feel better.
If you’re able to keep a pet and want to do so, go ahead.
They come with a certain amount of responsibility which many people feel gives them a sense of purpose. Another life is reliant on you and caring for a pet can be rewarding.
10. Keep yourself organized
Clutter and mess can make you feel depressed. Keep your living and working area as organized as possible.
When it comes to work and family commitments, keep a detailed schedule so that you can keep track of them. It helps to eliminate some of the forgetfulness you might feel after a bout of depression.
Being organized gives you a feeling of control which pushes back the sense of helplessness depression brings on.
Don’t overcommit yourself to please others. Take on what you must, and then add in what you would like.
11. Avoid crutches
Caffeine, alcohol, and drugs are easy to turn to when you want to self-medicate your depression.
They may seem to give you some short-term relief. But in the long-term, they are dangerous and harmful.
You should avoid them as they can counteract your medication or interact negatively with its effects.
If you feel like you’re not coping with things, or your medication is not working, seek help. Don’t be drawn to substances that promise you a cure that doesn’t exist.
12. Healthy diet
Follow a diet rich in nutrients to keep your body healthy.
During a depressive episode, people either stop eating or they turn to comfort eating. This type of eating tends to include a lot of unhealthy carbohydrates which results in weight gain.
Getting back on track when you’re recovering from a bout of depression is important. Many vitamins and minerals are important for maintaining the health of your nervous system. Boost your intake with a supplement recommended by your doctor.
13. Give yourself a chance
You need to regain your self-confidence. Depression erodes your belief in yourself and your capabilities.
Set up goals you want to achieve to make yourself start to believe again. Reward yourself each time you achieve a milestone.
Give yourself time. You will encounter stumbling blocks on the way. The point is not to let them get you down. Rather use them as a way to keep building yourself.
Get your heart rate up with regular exercise. It releases many chemicals in the brain that make you feel happier.
Even though it might be challenging in the beginning, develop and exercise plan and stick to it.
The long-term benefits for your mental and physical health are undeniable. Exercise is exhilarating. It leaves you feeling satisfied with the achievement.
Use exercise as part of your journey to rediscover yourself and your confidence.
Read also: 8 Ways to Relax After a Long Week of Work
Laughing is good for the body, mind, and soul.
Find things that make you laugh and focus on them. You might enjoy watching some stand-up comedy or funny video clips. Certain movies and TV shows will tickle your funny bone.
Whatever it is, find a reason to laugh every day. It helps to stimulate the production of the chemicals you need to keep your depression at bay.
Spend time with colleagues, friends, and family who uplift you and make you smile and laugh.
16. Help others
The act of helping those less fortunate than you restore a sense of purpose that depression tries to take away from you.
Find something that you’re passionate about doing to help those in need. Volunteer your time or services and make a difference. It’s empowering and an important step on the road to recovery.
You’ll meet new people, and it gives you a chance to gain a new perspective on your life and your depression.
It is in assisting others that we build ourselves and begin the process of healing. Don’t miss out on such a valuable opportunity. Connect with your community and make a start.
About The Author
Susan Saurel is a passionate writer from Texas. She is in love with traveling. Teacher of higher category, a writer for Essay Writing Land, PM in an IT company, lovely mom, and wife. She wants to share her experience with readers and she has something to say for sure.