In thinking about a topic for today’s blog, it occurred to me that self-care is as much about what you don’t do as what you do! There are so many things that we do on a daily basis that just don’t help our mood. So, here’s a list of things I want you to stop to improve your depression.
1. Don’t drink alcohol. Not only will alcohol increase your feelings of sadness and depression, but it will also disrupt your sleep cycle which may further exacerbate your depression.
2. Don’t isolate yourself from friends and family. It’s really important for us to reach out for
support when we need it. It is NOT a sign of weakness, and everybody needs help from time to time. Plus, if someone loves you, then they will want to know what’s going on with you. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know if your best friend is depressed?
3. Don’t stay in bed all day. I know you might feel like you want to; depression comes with decreased energy and feelings of fatigue and overall malaise. However, staying in bed will only make this worse. Your mood will be helped if you get up and try to follow at least some of your normal daily routine. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything you normally do, but at least get up and get dressed, then see what else you can accomplish.
4. Don’t watch the news for hours on end. I think that many of us have gotten into this habit, and it’s really bad for your mood! The news literally is a constant stream of negative things happening in the world. If you’re already depressed, then you do not need that!
5. Don’t spend hours a day on social media. Social media is made up only of people’s good news, and then it encourages you to compare yourself to that. People just don’t post the failures in their lives generally and so it gives a false impression that by comparison, you are failing at life. Save social media for when you’re feeling a bit better.
6. Don’t judge yourself too harshly! We all have these negative voices in our heads telling us everything that we’re doing wrong and pointing out all our faults. Who needs it? When you notice that voice trying to put you down, try not to pay attention to it. Or better yet, try to change what it’s saying. If it’s telling you no one loves you, try making a list of everyone who does (mom, dad, sister Freida, friend Amy, etc). If it’s telling you that you’re messing up at work, tell it that you are going through a rough patch and are trying your best. I know it sounds a little silly, but it does help. An even sillier thing to try is to name your voice. This will help to give you a little bit of an objective perspective on everything it’s telling you.
7. Don’t stop eating (or start over-eating!). You’re going through something that is negatively affecting you, so you need to take extra special care of yourself. Did you know that depression can suppress your immune system? This means that you’re more likely to catch something when you’re depressed. So instead try being kind to yourself- eat a good meal, get your rest and just try to treat yourself as well as you would your best friend!
When to get help
If you are thinking about hurting yourself or committing suicide, then you should immediately seek help. The national hotline can be reached at any time at 800-273-8255. Otherwise, if you’ve been depressed for several weeks and it doesn’t seem to be improving, it’s time to get professional help. I can be reached for depression treatment at the link and would love to hear from you.