Having grown up with a mentally ill parent, observing domestic violence and experiencing abuse, I struggled at various seasons of my life with depression. Trying to understand my family of origin and myself better, I decided to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy. I am happy to share that my days of feeling sad and angry have decreased and I am more balanced in my outlook of life. I’d love to share some of the wisdom I learned while going through my own journey towards healing. Here is one of my blogs:
Most of us probably know those days when we somehow have trouble getting out of bed, don’t want to talk to anyone and just feel a little blue. While this is totally normal and in my opinion allows us to recognize and enjoy the happy days more, some people feel depressed more often than others. When the days of sadness increase it is often difficult to snap out of them, easy daily tasks become chores and we start to feel more and more isolated from others.
So what can you do in order to become your old self again? While some individuals will benefit from talking to a professional, here is a list of things that can help the majority to feel better:
1. Write a list of your gratitude – it helps you to focus on the positive.
2. Watch a funny movie – laughing is like a little mini workout since it uses so many different muscles and helps release feel good hormones.
3. Listen to upbeat music.
4. Dance alone or with someone.
5. Exercise – when you are healthy and your doctor cleared you to do so.
6. Go for a walk.
7. Call a friend.
8. Have safe sex, which can also release feel good hormones.
9. Eat something you like, but be careful, some research suggests that sugar and grains may increase depressive and anxious symptoms due to intestine inflammation if sensitive to it.
10. Clean your house.
11. Help someone else – this helps you to take the focus away from your blues.
12. Take a shower or bath.
13. Invite people over or meet up with someone.
14. Look in the mirror and smile/giggle/laugh for 30 seconds, then repeat until you feel better – just the action of putting a grin on your face will signal your brain too produce more of the feel good hormones.
15. Go to the movies and maybe even invite a friend to go with you.
16. Take a class or join a club to meet new people and get out of the house.
17. Get some sun – sunlight encourages the release of endorphins and serotonin like exercise and laughing does.
18. Spoil yourself by getting a facial, massage, haircut, etc.
19. Make a list of all of your accomplishments
20. Breathe – deep belly breaths are important to release stress, anger, and upsetting feelings. It helps us relax, and so much more. This is a good guide to deep breathing.
21. Meditate and/or pray.
22. Play with a child.
23. Get enough sleep! Research suggests a link between sleep deprivation and depression.
24. Buy yourself a gift.
25. Read a good book, for example David D. Burns: Feeling Good, a self-help guide with techniques to lift your spirit.
26. Write a journal.
27. Go and attend a sport, church or other social activity.
28. Set yourself easy achievable goals for the day or the hour whatever seems to be more realistic.
29. Do something nice for someone else (i.e. give a compliment, hug, etc.).
30. Go easy on yourself! Perfectionism is a disease in my opinion. It increases depression and is impossible to achieve.
31. Confide your feelings to a friend, partner, family member or professional.
32. Focus on the positive and let negative thoughts pass by.
33. Keep a thought record that helps you identify negative/irrational thoughts and challenge them. You may read more about this here.
Please keep in mind that this list is meant for individuals who are struggling with mild and moderate depressive symptoms. If you are having thoughts of self harm or wanting to harm someone else, make an appointment with a professional as soon as possible, don’t be alone and ask friends to keep checking in with you. Feel free to contact me if you are having more questions.