I really want to stress that if you’re having a full-blown mental health crisis you need to get professional help. I’ve been there and my biggest regret is that I didn’t get help sooner. I spent years of my life managing my mental health on my own and it consumed my life. After I got the help I was able to get a Masters degree and travel full time. I would have never been able to do those things if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed but before there were accomplishments and travel there was struggle and breakdowns. Each breakdown showed me that recovery is possible and I can keep going even when it really doesn’t feel like I can. If you’re depressed take the first step in your recovery today.
I have a free depression survival checklist you can get for free by signing up below.
Take a shower and put on clean clothes
This might seem like a huge waste of time if you’re depressed and not leaving your house but trying to keep a little bit of a normal routine will help you. You have to try not to let your depression make you stop everything. Try to maintain whatever level of functioning you can right now and get up, take a shower and put on clean clothes. Wherever you are in your journey try to raise your base level of functioning a little bit. Push yourself every day to do a little more than you did yesterday and then celebrate those victories. Getting a little momentum going everyday can help you start moving towards recovery.
Drink some water and eat something
Drinking water and eating is essential to your recovery. If you don’t have an appetite try to make yourself eat a little bit at a time. Salmon has been shown to help alleviate depression. I posted my favorite super simple salmon recipe here. Feed your body healthy foods. I know when I feel bad all I want to do is drown in calories and sleep but that isn’t going to help you feel better. Try to stay away from junk food and eat healthy snacks throughout the day.
Try and do some basic things to take care of yourself. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and wash your face. If this is the minimum amount of functioning you can do right now that’s OK but you need to try and take care of yourself the best that you can. You can get through this day, just focus on one thing at a time. Try and do some activities that you actually enjoy. Watch a favorite movie, spend time with a positive friend or go for a walk. Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself. If you’re struggling right now be sure to check out my self-care guide for stressful times. Try to plan a special treat for yourself so you have something to look forward to. Some of my favorite special self-care things to do for myself are to go to a movie by myself or to spend the afternoon at a coffee shop reading a book and eating pastries.
See if you can get your mind off of your depression and engage in something even if it is just for a few minutes at a time. Trying to focus on anything when you’re depressed can be difficult. like to watch movies that I’ve already seen a bunch of times because it’s easy to follow. Disney movies are my favorite things to watch when I feel crappy. Try putting on your favorite movie and see if it can distract you for a little while. If you’re up for reading books I have a post of all of my favorite self-help books you can find here. Sometimes diving into a good book can help give me a new perspective when I’m stuck inside my own head. If you’re not feeling up for reading a book put some positivity in your ears. My favorite way to do this is with Podcasts. They are free and there are tons of awesome podcasts. You can check out all of my favorite podcasts here.
Tell a friend or family member that you are struggling. If you don’t have anyone in your personal life you can call a hotline. I have a printable list of hotlines you can call here. Sometimes just telling someone how hard things are can help. If you don’t want to talk you can text the crisis text line to text a crisis counselor. Text HELLO to 741741. I have a whole podcast episode about reaching out for help you can check out here. If you’re looking to join an online support group come and check out the mental health support group for women I have on Facebook. It can be hard to reach out for help when you’re struggling because there is so much stigma around mental health and depression. The truth is lots of people are coping with depression and The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that 16.2 million adults suffer from depression in the United States every year. There is no shame in talking about what you are struggling with and reaching out for help.
Go to the Damn Therapist
Seek professional help. I have a whole blog post about going to the therapist here. Try using this therapist finder from Psychology Today. If you are struggling to function you need to seek professional help. I’ve been depressed and miserable too but things got better for me and I know they can get better for you too. If you don’t want to see someone face to face check out BetterHelp. I love using BetterHelp because you can text your therapist whenever you want. You can skype or call but sometimes when I’m depressed I only have the energy to text. I also like that I can talk to my therapist every day and it doesn’t cost any extra money. It actually costs me less than if I went to a traditional therapist once a week. Online therapy isn’t for everyone but it might be worth trying to see if it is for you. I love that I can still have my weekly appointments even when I’m traveling and I don’t have to worry about finding a new therapist if I move. You can check out my full honest review of BetterHelp here.
Writing down five things you are thankful for will direct your brain towards something positive. I have a free gratitude worksheet you can grab using the form below. There have been lots of studies done that show practicing gratitude can help manage depression. Basically, when you take the time to feel thankful you also give your brain a dose of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals can help alleviate symptoms of depression over time. Set some triggers up throughout the day that will remind you to take a moment and feel thankful for the blessings in your life. You could do it everytime you put your key in the ignition of your car, whenever you reach for your phone or while you brush your teeth. The idea is to start making it a habit during your day so you start practice feeling the feeling of gratitude in your body throughout the day.
Find something that really resonates with you and say it in your mind or out loud when you need encouragement. Write it down and put it on the refrigerator, your bathroom mirror and next to your bed. I like to set my affirmation for the day as an alarm on my phone. I think it’s a nice reminder in the middle of the day. If you need some inspiration you can check out my affirmations Pinterest board or go over to my Ultimate Guide to Daily Affirmations.
Here are some affirmations to try:
- Your discomfort won’t last forever.
- You are resilient. You are a silent warrior.
- You are okay where you are right now.
- I Am OK With Where I Am Right Now
- I am turning into someone who stays strong no matter what
- I am turning into someone who stays strong no matter what
I also made this desktop background you can download for free.
Going outside and getting a little bit of exercise will help you. Make a cheer up a playlist you can listen to. Try just walking to the end of your street if you can’t go far. Just do a little bit, it’s OK. When I’m feeling crappy I like to take my dog for a walk around my neighborhood. I know it’s annoying to hear someone tell you to work out when you’re depressed. You don’t have to hit the gym but any exercise you can get can be helpful in your recovery. I know that working out was vital to my own recovery from depression. I made a commitment to do at least 10 minutes of exercise every single day and once I was able to do that I started doing two 10 minutes sessions. I kept adding more and more exercise and the endorphins really helped me and after about six weeks I noticed a huge improvement in my depression and anxiety. Check out my favorite free ten-minute workouts here.
Train your brain
You should be just as kind and compassionate to yourself as you would be to your best friend. Addressing negative self-talk can help you find some relief. When you are thinking nasty thoughts about yourself try to catch yourself and redirect your thoughts. If you wouldn’t say the things you are telling yourself in your head to a stranger you need to work on changing your thought process. You deserve kindness from everyone, including yourself. I have a podcast episode about how to think more positively you can check out here.
Do Things You Used To Enjoy
It can be really difficult to make yourself do the things you used to enjoy when you’re feeling depressed. However, doing the activities that you used to enjoy can help your recovery. Make a list of activities you would do if you weren’t depressed and start making yourself do at least once a week. Giving up all of the things that used to make you feel good will probably just make your depression get worse and worse. When I’m depressed I will signup for a dance or workout class that I have to pay in advance for. I hate losing money so that usually will help motivate me to get my butt to the class even when I feel really crappy.
Start a Journal
I have a ton of journal prompts for depression and anxiety you can find here. Journaling can be a great way to workout your feelings and challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs. I journal everyday but if I’m stressed out or struggling sometimes I will write in my journal 3-5 times a day. It has become one of my biggest coping tools. If you’re looking for a quick and easy journal practice try these prompts from the The Five Minute Journal.
- What are you thankful for?
- What would make today amazing?
- Write your affirmations for the day
If you’re depressed you probably have a lot of negativity rattling around in your brain. Start putting positivity in your ears to drown out some of those crappy thoughts. I am a huge fan of podcasts, you can find all of my favorites here. I also love audiobooks. If you need some inspiration to get through depression I recommend The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and You Are a Badass. I have listened to both of these books multiple times and they are my go-to books when I need a pep talk or some extra motivation. I like listening to podcasts and audiobooks because when I am depressed I usually don’t have the ability to focus enough to read a book.
I hope some of these tips will bring you some relief. If you are interested in being part of a community of badass ladies that are also on a mental health journey join my Facebook group. Comment below if you have any other tips for getting through a depressive episode. Remember to do one thing at a time and go day by day. There are easier and happier times waiting for you in the future.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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Free Mental Health Planner
A collection of free mental health planner printables designed to help you upgrade your mental health, feel good and kick ass
Gratitude writing prompts