My dear friends, I hope this post finds you well.
With depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the world, and if you find yourself struggling, I want you to know that you are not alone.
Even when you feel your lowest, your loneliest, your laziest, you are not alone.
Depression, as ugly and overwhelming as it may be, is manageable, and sometimes treatable. There are a multitude of ways to ease your symptoms but the most important first step? Recognizing that you need help, and understanding that it’s okay to need help.
That being said, there are some things you can do to help yourself when you’re overcome by depression.
5 Ways to Ease your Depression Symptoms
1. Get Moving
Yeah yeah, I know. When you’re depressed, being told to get to the gym and exercise is the last thing you want to hear. It sounds like I’m telling you to do the impossible.
But here’s the thing. The nature of depression is that the very things that help to ease it, are the same things that depression makes it hard to do, and exercise is the perfect example of this. It sucks, we don’t want to do it, but it’s for our own good, 100%.
Depression looks different for everyone, but one thing that’s universal is a lack of energy and motivation.
So, exercise is one of those things I prioritize, but I don’t rush.
There will be those days that simply getting out of bed and making breakfast is a feat. There will be those days that taking a shower and getting to class will feel like you just climbed Everest. So give yourself some grace, allow yourself some time.
You don’t need to jump back into your Pure Barre classes 4x a week or your Bodybuilding regimen. In fact, going from minimal activity to high-intensity workouts will most likely only discourage you more. So work with yourself, not against yourself.
Start off just by going for a walk. Opt to walk instead of drive to go get your morning coffee, or walk around the block a few times while you read your morning emails. Or my favorite? Take a restorative yoga class (or follow a guided video on YouTube). The slow pace and restful poses will clear your mind while still giving you that post-exercise invigoration.
If you can manage a brisk stroll a week, you are doing well, my friend – and helping to alleviate your depression little by little.
2. Take a Social Media Break
I know I preach about this all the time. But it’s for a reason. Certain social media apps have been studied in their connection to lower self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. That’s exactly what you don’t need when you’re feeling depressed.
Let go of the comparisons, highlight reels, seemingly perfect lives. Pour that energy into understanding your situation.
Plus, social media is a time-suck.
We’ve all been there. We pop onto instagram to check our photo or respond to a DM, then we head to the explore page and get sucked into video after video of ASMR, or cookie decorating, or photos of puppies.
Where’d the last 90 minutes go?
I find when I delete my social media apps for a little bit, I find I have so much more time in the day. Which is embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I waste so much time on these apps, and it only fuels my laziness and lack of energy when I’m in a low place.
Delete the apps for a while. Laying in bed is a little less appealing when you’re staring at the ceiling instead of your phone, so maybe it’ll give you a little boost to get up and start your day. And if you can do that, you’re doing great.
3. Visit your Doctor
This is their job, after all. Doctors are here to help us discover what’s ailing us, and give us solutions.
Visiting your doctor about your depression can open the door to a number of treatments, not only medication. Your doctors can test your vitamin levels (which can be tied to feelings of depression), your thyroid activity (also linked to depression), or recommend you to a mental health specialist, like a therapist or psychiatrist.
Sometimes, a treatment to your symptoms can be simple lifestyle changes like altering your sleeping or eating habits, changing jobs, journaling, etc. Others may benefit from medication, or different forms of therapy like CBT, DBT, or TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Therapy), which can be a surprisingly effective depression treatment with minimal side effects. Talk to your doctor about the best option for you.
4. Modify your Diet
It has been proven time and time again that what we put in our body directly affects how we feel, not only physically, but also mentally. And depression? It thrives on that processed, salty, sugary, junk food that we crave so much when we don’t feel well. Vegetables to depression is like garlic to vampires. No bueno. But anything that’s no good for our depression, is very good for us!
When I get myself on a health/clean eating kick, I’m the first to resort to the basic chicken & broccoli for every meal. I cut out all of my precious, sugary coffees, and count my calories like it’s my job.
But healthy, nutritious eating doesn’t have to be like that.
It can be exciting and delicious, and you don’t need to heavily restrict yourself. You can have some of those treats you crave so much, while still fueling your body for its daily battle against your depression. You need power, energy, and motivation to overcome this, and your food will give you that.
Here are some of my FAVORITE health-foodie instagrams to inspire your clean (& still delicious!) eating habits.
Brenna is the SWEETEST ray of light on my instagram feed. She shares all kinds of recipes on her page that always inspire me to put back the oreos, and make my own sweet, healthy treats at home. (aka, try her Sea Salt Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies – thank me later)
A perfect mix of sweet treats and savory meals, Erin shares the best recipes and most gorgeous photos of her healthy eats!
I’m starving just looking at her feed rn.
Some simple diet fixes can do wonders to ease your depression. Trust me.
5. Reach Out & Talk
Simultaneously the easiest, and most difficult tip I have for easing your depression symptoms.
Talking to a loved one, or trusted individual can seem like the most daunting task. It’s not only difficult to open up and talk about your feelings, but it can also be hard to discover what it is that you’re even feeling.
Often, when it comes to depression, it’s a multitude of feelings all balled into one. There’s no singular emotion with a simple solution. Anxiety, helplessness, and sadness are common, and are all incredibly overwhelming feelings. It’s because of this that they’re best managed with the help of others.
When I feel myself slipping into depression, I find that simply talking out what I know I’m feeling helps me discover what I don’t know I’m feeling, or some underlying emotions or fears. It’s scary, it’s difficult, it’s confusing. It can be a very vulnerable time, but it’s one of those times where your vulnerability will give you strength.
When people understand more about what you’re going through, they’re able to better support you. And support is essential in managing depression of all intensities. You are not alone.
I’m sending you love, light, and joy.
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