Ways to Beat the Depression Blues

Depression sucks! There, I said it. But, what sucks, even more, is that there are so many people struggling that don't know what to do about it.

Many haven't been diagnosed as "depressed". And, instead of using the word "depressed" they choose to describe the way they are feeling as being "down", "sad", "unmotivated", or "having the blues".

If you feel down, sad, not good enough, or just struggle to care about the things that you know you probably should care about, it's time to take action. Here are some things that can help you beat the depression blues.

Focus on your self-care

One of the first things that depression can steal is your ability to take care of yourself. You feel bad, or you feel nothing at all, which makes it hard to eat, take a shower, go to sleep or wake up. It all just feels like a struggle. And, while it might not be easy, one of the best ways to overcome this is to develop self-care habits like:

Eating - A balanced diet is obviously the best choice. However, sometimes when your feeling down it's hard to eat anything. So, just make yourself eat what you can to get started. Somedays for me, this looks like having a scoop of peanut butter. Literally, that’s all I would eat in a day. My family and friends have really helped me by offering to have me over for dinner. That is a guarantee way to make me not miss a meal. It's important for keeping up your strength, which is needed to keep making improvements. Your brain needs to be fed and I get how somedays it’s just too much to be able to even think about eating a meal.

Take a shower and get dressed - Taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning can help your brain make shift to knowing that it's time to take action for the day. Staying in your PJs all day might be exactly what you want to do, but I don't recommend it. On those days that you just want to stay in bed all day, get up, make a cup of tea and have a bath – then get back into clean PJs. You would’ve accomplished something and on those days, having a shower or a bath is a huge accomplishment. Be proud of yourself. 

Exercise - You've probably heard there are about a hundred ways that exercise is good for you. Trust me … I still cringe when someone says “Oh you have depression …. Have you thought about hot yoga”. If I could slap somebody through a text I probably would have a few times. I know, that’s not nice – but when you’re down in the dumps and someone says “just go do yoga, go for a run” … it makes you want to scream. BUT … they have a point (I hate that they have a point by the way!) Exercise boosts the endorphins in your brain, which helps boost your mood. And, completing even a short workout builds confidence and can help you feel better about yourself. I’m not one to go out for an hour run however I’m sure I would if I enjoyed sweating … which I don’t. My form of exercise when I really don’t want to is taking Lincoln out for a walk just around the block. A 10-minute walk outside makes me feel better about sitting on the couch for the next 5 hours following that walk crushing Netflix. Sometimes it means walking 5 minutes to the water and sitting there with Lincoln and then going back to my Zen Den, my safe zone. Today was an 85 minute walk, which Lincoln loved and is now curled up in my feet as I write this!

Make your bed - I know this sounds super simple, and it is. But if you've been struggling with depression it's easy to let go of keeping your space clean. Once you let things go for a while it's overwhelming to get it back under control.

It helps to focus on just one area and your bedroom is the perfect place. Making your bed only takes a few minutes and allows you to start your day with a success. It also makes it less tempting to crawl back in under the cover. And, at the end of the day, you have a clean place to lay your head. 

Go outside - You might be tempted to pull the curtains shut and hide from the world, but you need to do the very opposite. Go outside and soak in the natural light. Take a walk. If you can get out in nature, it's even better. There are lots of studies that have been done on the benefits of sunlight, fresh air, and the serenity of nature. I live 5 minutes from the water, which is perfect for me. I can go outside, sit on the rocks for a bit and then head back home.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to reach out for help if you need it. Don't think that your feelings aren't "bad enough" to warrant getting help. Don't think that you're the only one that has felt like this. And, don't suffer silently.

You don't have to stay stuck in depression, sadness, feeling down, or however you want to describe it. Take steps to beat the feeling. And, talk to a professional if things aren't getting better. You're worth it!

Photo: The very talented Kelsey! You can find her info here The MacLeans