Self-Care for Depression
I had untreated clinical depression for ten years of my life and I’m not talking about just feeling a little down and tired.
I’m talking about the kind of depression that will lock you in bed for weeks at a time and make you unable to put your shoes on.
It was a terrible time of my life and something I hope to never relive. I’ve been on an intense journey of learning how to manage my depression and live a joyful life. It’s taken years of hard work but I am finally able to live mostly depression free.
I wanted to create a post of self-care tips you can do when you’re depressed. I know it can be difficult to do anything when you’re depressed but adding small acts of self-care can help you start to get better.
If you’re looking for some easy things you can do to improve your mental health keep reading!
Change Your Inner Dialogue
This has been huge for managing my depression. When my mental health is at it’s worst my inner dialogue is usually really negative. I would constantly be focusing on everything I wasn’t getting done and what I didn’t like about myself. It was almost impossible to ever feel better because I was constantly beating myself up. Start noticing your inner dialogue and take note of when you are being negative. Changing my inner dialogue has been really tough but it’s also been totally worth the effort. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mental health and overall happiness. Whenever I notice I am being negative I focus on something I am thankful for instead. The key is to not be judgemental in this process and not make yourself feel bad for being negative. Just gently redirect your thoughts and choose to focus on something that makes you feel good. If you want to hear more about how I became more positive check out the podcast episode below.
This is a great self-care item to add if you’re feeling really depressed and miserable. I know when I’m really depressed doing literally anything feels impossible. Drinking water is a simple thing you can do for yourself even if you feel low energy. Challenge yourself to chug some water a few times a day or set a goal to drink a certain amount of water throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated is an easy way to care for your body when you’re struggling with depression. Anytime you drink your water think how amazing your body is and imagine the water going into your body and healing it as you drink. Adding healing visualizations or an affirmation ritual to your water drinking habit can make it even more powerful. If you are looking for another small easy way to care for yourself and keep your body healthy you can also add a daily vitamin to your routine.
I know this is an annoying thing to hear when you’re depressed. However, I also know that exercising changed my mental health and life for the better in so many ways. It’s made such a huge difference for me and I can’t imagine how I would have been able to get out of my depression without it. There was a long period of time where I couldn’t do anything but eventually, I got a good therapist and a good Doctor. After a lot of work, I finally got some relief and was able to add exercise into my routine. This was a tipping point for me and when I really think I started feeling better. If you can start adding a little bit of exercise into your routine it can greatly help improve your depression. I started by walking my dog around my neighborhood in the morning and then I added in ten-minute workouts. As I started feeling better I worked my way up to doing longer home workouts and going to the gym. Now exercise is one of the main ways I maintain my mental health and keep my depression and anxiety from getting really bad again.
Talk to a Therapist
I resisted going to therapy for years. I told myself it was too expensive and probably wouldn’t even work. Boy was I freaking wrong. One of my biggest regrets is not getting a good therapist sooner. I wasted years of my life suffering and doing a pretty terrible job managing my mental health instead of getting the help that I needed. When I think of all the happiness and experiences I missed out on it really bums me out. That is part of the reason why I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to help other women on their mental health journey so their depression and anxiety wouldn’t cause them to miss out the way mine did. Going to therapy isn’t easy and there’s been plenty of times I wanted to quit. It took me a while to find the right therapist for me but it was worth all the effort and now I can’t imagine my life without therapy. When I worked an office job I found it really difficult to get to a therapists appointment during business hours. I started using online therapy so I could talk to a therapist from my house when I got home from work. Now I am a huge advocate for BetterHelp and I suggest trying it if you’re interested in talking to a therapist via video chat, phone call or messenger service.
Listen to Something Positive
Listening to positive podcasts has had a huge impact on my mental health. Before I started listening to personal development I was only ever hearing my own negative thoughts and the negative thoughts of the people that were around me. When you’re negative you give other people around you permission to complain too. My whole world was very negative and it made my depression get worse and worse. When I started to listen to positive podcasts it really helped me develop a positive mindset. Now I listen to hours of personal development every day and I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s truly amazing how much great free information you can get from podcasts. You can find all of my favorite podcasts to listen to here. I also have a mental health podcast you can subscribe to on Spotify or iTunes.
Journaling is a huge part of my daily practice and it helps me maintain my positive mindset. Even though my depression is pretty manageable now I still do a lot of inner work every day. Spending time to reflect on my life and feelings is really important to me and I make it a priority to spend some time journaling every day. Journaling can be a great way to express all of your deepest thoughts and to heal things that are causing you emotional pain. I’ve written everything from forgiveness letters to scripting out my dream life in my journal. If you’ve never journaled before and you’re not sure where to start try doing the morning pages exercise. This exercise involves free writing three pages in your journal every morning. You don’t judge what you write or even reread what you wrote. All you do is just let whatever is in your head flow out onto the page. If you want some journal prompts be sure to check out my post of journal prompts for depression and anxiety.
Make a Playlist
I find listening to music to be really healing. Playlists can have a big impact on my mood and I can get really sad or really happy depending on the music I am listening too. I like to make playlists based on the feelings I want to call up. You can make playlists for nostalgia, bliss, excitement or relaxation. One of my favorite activities to do is to make a playlist and then go for a walk or for a drive. I still think it’s so amazing that having a Spotify subscription means I have access to just about any song I could want. The teenage version of me would have just died at the thought of this and I try not to take access to music for granted. I also find the act of putting the playlists together very therapeutic and I love putting time into picking each song and putting them into the perfect order.
I love using affirmations. Make a list of all of the areas of your life you want to create affirmations for (mindset, relationships, health, career, etc) and then brainstorm powerful affirmations for each area. I like to program them as alarms in my phone so they pop up on my screen throughout the day. When the alarm goes off I close my eyes and say the affirmation out loud or in my head a few times. I try to feel positive feelings and gratitude in my body while I say them. This practice helps me be more intentional throughout the day and reminds me of positive things to focus on. If you want some ideas for affirmations go and check out my affirmation guide here.
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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. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.Radical Transformation Project is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.