I thought it would be appropriate to continue my Do's and Dont's series with dealing with depression, since depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that people struggle with. As a disclaimer, I am not a licensed professional in treating mental illness, but these tips are some that others have found helpful and shared with me.
-Make a list at the end of every day that lists at least one positive thing that happened during the day. It can be hard to recognize the positive, so try and focus on the small things, which can be a nice scent you may have smelled, a nice sight you may have come across, a nice memory from however far back you may have remembered, or even your dreams for the future that give you hope! Writing these lists can help end your day on a more positive note.
-If you like to talk about your feelings, spend time around empathetic people who will help lift you up and give advice.
-Be realistic about your progress! Don't set expectations for your journey that you know are out of reach and will only stress you out. Don't be hard on yourself, because progress is not linear for anyone!
-As cliche as it sounds, try and spend some time outdoors. Similar to helping anxiety, spending time outside can help you detach from the conflicts you're dealing with internally. No matter the weather, going for a simple walk can serve as a healthy distraction as you change your environment.
-Exercise! It's scientifically proven that exercise release dopamine, which increases feelings of happiness. Exercise doesn't have to be strenuous; try to start off with a short walk or quick yoga session.
-Delay treatment. This applies to any mental illness, but I understand that there are factors such as unsupportive family or friends that can hold you back. However, I encourage you to try to call the National Depression Hotline ((800-826-3632)) for a private resource to talk to. I also understand how sometimes getting help can be the last thing you want to do for a variety of reasons, but depression is the second most treatable mental illness, which I hope encourages you to take this first step to recovery!
-Be unproductive. Even though depression can take all of the energy out of you, try to get up once every two hours to do something with purpose. This can be as simple as making a meal for yourself or a friend, making a phone call, taking a walk, showering, or tidying up. Completing small tasks like these will help you feel more accomplished and relieve stress.
-Stay up too late. Even without depression, staying up too late and not getting enough sleep has serious negative effects on one's mental health. Depression can make it hard to fall asleep, but it's helpful to try and build habits of detaching from screens and eating a few hours before you sleep. I personally like to take a warm shower and dim the lights in my house an hour before I plan to sleep!
-Self isolate. Self isolation is also a symptom of depression, but interacting with even just one person every day acts as a mental stimulation to distract from negative feelings. If in-person interactions take up too much energy, try calling a loved one for as long as you need to.
I hope these tips can help make your journey with depression a little easier to tackle. Remember, recovery is a day by day process! If you have or are struggling with depression and have tips you would like to share, I encourage you to do so down below!