Coexist With Your Depression
Go with the strength you have. Go simply, lightly, gently.” – Kiamn Cawidrone
Living with depression can be all-encompassing, impacting various facets of your life, from work and relationships to physical health. It may seem like depression defines your identity, but it’s essential to recognize that it’s a treatable condition and not the entirety of who you are.
The nature of depression, characterized by a lack of energy and motivation, often makes it challenging to engage in activities that can alleviate symptoms. Therefore, it’s crucial to start gradually, focusing on one area at a time.
- Take care of your health: Depression may be linked to underlying medical conditions. Regular check-ups are important, especially if distressing symptoms persist. Pain and chronic illness can be both causes and effects of depression. In some cases, medication may be necessary; consult your PCP or a psychiatrist. Even with medication, it’s vital to implement the suggestions below.
- Breathe: Ensure you are breathing properly. Try deep belly breathing—inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, and pause for 4. Numerous apps and videos can guide you in various breathing techniques. Focus on not holding your breath and breathe into your belly.
- Change your view of depression: Reframe depression as a time to slow down and reflect. Instead of fighting it, learn from it. Identify what truly matters to you. Depression offers an opportunity to reassess your values and priorities—it’s a temporary season, much like winter transitioning into spring.
- Eat wisely: Make small dietary changes, like incorporating fruits or vegetables into your meals. Consult a nutritionist to understand foods that lift or lower your mood. The timing of meals also influences mood, with vegetables and fruits providing a lift, while excessive sugar can lead to crashes.
- Get moving: Combat low energy with gentle stretches or short walks. Even a stroll to the mailbox or walking your pet can make a difference. Despite the initial resistance, exercise serves as a mood and energy booster—consult your medical provider for any limitations.
- Open your curtains and go outside: Exposure to natural light can enhance your mood and overall health. Balance night and light exposure, especially during long winter nights associated with Seasonal Affective Depression. Consult your PCP, and ensure sun protection when outdoors.
- Establish a sleep routine: Combat sleep disturbances by dimming lights in the evening, enjoying herbal tea, and maintaining consistent bedtime and waking hours. Adequate sleep is crucial for managing depression, and consulting your PCP is advisable.
- Express yourself: Share your thoughts and feelings through various mediums, including music, art, and writing. Uplifting activities, like singing in the shower or using colors in art, can help channel emotions.
- Look inward and upward: Explore spirituality for a sense of purpose and hope beyond material gains. Study world religions, read inspirational quotes, and practice mindfulness to connect with the details of your surroundings.
- Manage stress: Identify and name stressors, delegate tasks, set boundaries, and consider the steps mentioned above. Stress management is crucial for overall well-being.
- Beware of the company you keep: Avoid negative individuals. People who are often complaining or find it difficult to find anything positive can feel draining. Evaluate your relationships, as surrounding yourself with negativity may perpetuate your mood.
If you’re interested in incorporating new practices into your life, consider reaching out to an experienced therapist. RB Counseling provides support for those dealing with sadness, numbness, excessive guilt, grief, loss of concentration, motivation, and energy, as well as worry. If you are feeling suicidal call 988 or go to the nearest emergency room.