Day-to-day life is challenging for most people, but for those living with depression it can be nearly impossible to function. Even getting out of bed may seem like a monumental task, and performing your regular responsibilities can feel like more than you can handle. Depression has a way of seeping into every aspect of your life, making it seem like you’ll never be able to deal with the heaviness that comes with it.
Fortunately, there are a range of treatment options for depression, from medication to therapy. In addition to these powerful tools, here are some ways to help you feel more in control and able to thrive despite living with a mental illness.
Many people dealing with depression withdraw and isolate from everyone, including those closest to them. If this is your natural tendency, work on reaching out and finding support. Instead of feeling embarrassed, ashamed or guilty, take the time to talk with someone who will listen.
If you feel that you don’t have a friend or family member who can offer the support you need, consider joining a support group. Other members will truly understand what you are experiencing and can lend a listening ear when you just need to share what you’re going through.
Focus on One Task at a Time
Productivity can help you deal with depression, but it is easy to get overwhelmed if you think about everything you need to get done. Instead, focus on tackling one task at a time. That may be taking a shower or making yourself a healthy breakfast. Whatever it is you need or want to accomplish, take it step by step. You’ll not only feel more productive but you’ll realize that you can handle those things that feel too hard in the moment.
Do Things You Enjoy
Depression has a way of sucking the joy out of everything, including things you once enjoyed. You may not be able to force yourself to find pleasure in fun activities, but making yourself do something purely for enjoyment can improve your mood.
It may sometimes feel that all you’re doing when dealing with depression is trying to survive, so changing the focus to self-care and fun can give you a break. Try thinking about those things you loved to do as a child or young adult. Former hobbies or sports can give you a chance to reconnect with your younger self.
Add in Some Movement
Exercise is likely the last thing you want to do when you feel depressed, but movement can be a real help. Adding regular exercise to your daily routine, along with following the rest of your treatment plan, can reduce depression symptoms, thanks to the release of endorphins your brain will experience.
Don’t feel like you have to start training for a marathon or complete hour-long weight lifting sessions. A simple, 10-minute walk can give you the boost you need to feel a bit better. If you can add mindfulness to your workout, you’ll get double the benefits. Try thinking about how the movement makes you feel while you’re doing it!
Challenge Negative Thoughts
When you’re dealing with depression, it can be almost impossible to remain positive. Negative thinking can overwhelm you, cloud reality and make you feel hopeless. Breaking out of the cycle of negative thoughts requires work and it is often a life-long process.
When you think a negative thought, examine why you’re thinking that way. When you challenge negative thinking, you can learn to balance it out with positive thoughts.
You don’t have to deal with depression on your own. In addition to these tips, contact Davis Behavioral Health for a range of professional, mental health services. If you’re exhibiting warning signs of suicide, call our 24-hour crisis hotline at 801-797-3102 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.