Depression – taking care of yourself

Following on from my earlier discussions about Depression, taking care of ourselves is one of the important thing we can do, to help us overcome the condition. We have to nurture ourselves.

This means making time to do the things that we once enjoyed, setting our own limits on what we feel we’re capable of doing, asking for help where we need it, adopting habits that are good for us and trying to bring fun back into our lives.

Whilst it may seem an effort to force ourselves to have fun, being able to pick up a previous hobby or indulge in a little exercise, will go some way to helping us get back on our feet. Expressing ourselves through hobbies such as music, writing, or art, can also take the edge off Depression.

Strategies need to be in place; create a wellness toolbox; something we can do to draw inspiration from, writing a journal and marking down what we like about ourselves is so important. Perhaps we could go back to reading if that is something we once enjoyed, or perhaps listening to music. Pets are a good stress reliever.

Pets have been statistically proven to reduce stress. A healthy lifestyle is essential for anyone wanting or trying to get through Depression. Sleep is a great healer and although Depression can involve sleep problems, aiming for between 6-8 hours a night, should help us cope better during the day.

Spending a little time outdoors can also help with Depression, as sunlight helps trigger chemicals in the brain. Even 15 minutes a day should be enough to make us feel better. Relaxation is another way to help relieve symptoms of Depression, as well as reducing stress. Relaxation can bring a sense of well-being. Yoga, meditation or deep breathing techniques or anything that challenges the way you behave.

We must also look at and identify our stressors, to try and figure out what exactly what we are stressing over. For example non-supportive relationships, taking on too much, or health problems. Once we know what our stressors are, we can make a plan to minimise their impact, or make a plan to avoid them altogether.

Many people who are depressed can be perfectionists. It’s not possible to function normally and continual with such high standards. We should try reducing the high standards we set for ourselves. If we try to lower our standards, we can work on being happy with whatever new standards we set ourselves.

Finally, say no to added responsibility and plan ahead, working through any triggers and limits. That way we will be able to identify and avoid the many problems associated with our triggers.


4 Jul, 2010

4 thoughts on “Depression – taking care of yourself

  1. This is great advice Ilana. Everything you’ve recommended works great if you do it. For me just getting out in the sunshine helps a lot. I get more depressed when it rains and am happiest in the sun. If I had the means I would go live in a tropical area because it’s always warm and the ocean soothes me. I’m always a very happy person when we go on cruises.

    My problem is motivation. I have so many things that I can do (scrap-booking all the pictures, jewelry kits to make, and baking). I think I get overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start, so I don’t do anything except study. I need motivation. I procrastinate so much of the time and I need rest but there is always some kind of interference with that.

    Anyway this is really good Ilana, I think having someone that understands you and what’s going on is very important also. So many times we think the other people in our lives don’t want to hear about our problems so we still suffer in silence. Other people especially family, are usually more than happy to lend an ear. Opening up and getting it out will help even if it’s a stranger like a therapist. If I keep going I’ll start repeating what you said in your post cause your right on the money. Great post and advice.

    1. Lisa picking up on you point of you procrastinating. You are probably not alone there, but I think we ultimately do it because we’re not happy so we give up and just do nothing. It’s a kind of retreat. If we’re not taking control, we don’t have to make decisions. We let others think for us. For many years this is how I lived my life. Only when I started bringing control back into my life did I stop procrastinating. I believe you can too.

      If you have family who you can talk to then you are one lucky lady! I went through counseling for many years and that did help to some extent, but a lot of the process has to be worked through by you. I think my spirituality allowed me to understand a lot more and as soon as I found that I became more at peace with myself.

  2. Lots of great advice here. If people follow it, it should make them feel better. I myself find listening to music helps calm me. If I am a little down it will lift my spirits.

  3. Randy, I’m glad music works for you. I find that music helps me too. It’s a matter of finding what works, if you find a winning formula it’s good to stick with it.

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