Depression can be an incredibly difficult thing to overcome. Depression affects each individual differently, but there are ways for each person to learn how to cope with depression. However, those suffering from it can feel like even minor tasks are mountains that need to be overcome. Learning what causes depression, as well as how to relieve depression daily, can provide a person with the groundwork they need to establish a healthy, productive daily routine. Implementing daily practices can add the needed stability and consistency that someone may need through their day as they learn how to control depression for themselves.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that can manifest differently in each individual. Depression can be a persistent feeling of sadness that shapes the way that someone views the world around them. In more intense scenarios, it can be a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness and isolation. Those who suffer from depression may feel like even accomplishing daily routines is pointless, and it can be very difficult for an individual to motivate themselves to accomplish any kind of goal, no matter how grand or how small. These intense feelings of sadness can be debilitating for someone suffering from depression. Learning how to stop depression is a personal journey, but there are ways that someone can begin to incorporate daily routines and practices that can help ease some challenge their feelings of sadness and take control of their situation as they learn how to manage depression.
Looking for Signs of Depression in Yourself or a Loved One
Depression can make it very difficult to reach out for help, so recognizing the various ways in which depression can present itself can help a person identify its symptoms in themselves or a loved one. Depression will look different depending on the person, and no one person may exhibit all of the symptoms of depression. However, they may still need a great deal of support to help them through the most difficult times. Depending on the individual and the intensity of their symptoms, professional help may be needed to learn how to deal with depression and its complex nature while providing support as someone explores the root causes or triggers of their depression.
Depression can commonly compromise one’s self-worth or make someone judge themselves unfairly through a negative lens. This can lead to a mindset where someone can convince themselves that they are worthless, despite it not being the truth. Depression can lead to an overgeneralized method of thinking that creates strict binaries, where if someone doesn’t think they are successful in a certain metric, then they “must be a failure.” This kind of mindset can be very difficult to challenge, as one’s isolation and negative frame of reference can all continue to cause them to shut themselves off from the world around them and the support they may need.
Depression also takes a toll on a person’s health as they may begin to skip meals, neglect personal hygiene, or stay inside, denying themselves needed sunlight or physical activity. Learning how to treat depression involves finding ways to challenge this mindset on a daily basis and open oneself up to the genuine support and love they may need, as well as their own personal strength, to get through difficult depressive episodes.
The Importance of Structure and Daily Routine
Establishing daily routines can help a person suffering from depression create a clear structure throughout their day, even during the most difficult times. Learning how to treat depression doesn’t happen overnight, but establishing a daily schedule can help instill the necessary coping mechanisms as someone challenges their depression on a daily basis. Practicing these skills each day allows a person to employ them whenever needed, even during a depressive episode. While not all strategies will work for every person, finding an array of effective daily routines can be the beginning of a person’s toolkit as they learn how to reduce depression.
Set Regular Times for Bed
Sleep is an essential part of learning how to fight depression. If someone is exhausted, it can be very difficult to employ many of one’s other coping strategies. The physical and mental toll can be hard to overcome, leading someone in a cycle where they feel too tired to address their depression, allowing it to perpetuate itself. Learning how to rest and give the brain a break is essential for many other aspects of a person’s plan for addressing depression.
However, feelings of sadness can make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place, and staying asleep for a full night’s rest can be extraordinarily difficult. Having a regular time for bed, as well as a pre-bedtime routine, can all help mitigate this loss of sleep by programming the body to be tired at a certain point. Whether someone is brushing their teeth, taking care of pets before bed, writing in a journal, or simply turning off the lights and locking the doors, consistent use of these practices can help prepare the body for rest. Using this strategy as often as possible means that even during the most difficult times of a depressive episode, the body may still find a way to shut down for the night and allow a nice rest.
Sending emails, text messages, or making phone calls all play a part in directly challenging the feelings of isolation that come with depression. Simple reinforcement can make a huge difference for someone experiencing depression, and having constant contact with others can help show how much care and support someone has through difficult situations. Emails, messages on social media, and text messages can all be sent at any time, even in the deep hours of the night. Video chat programs, however, are the best options for when someone isn’t able to meet others in person, allowing them to see those in their support system and interact in a more personal, intimate way that email and text messages may not be able to provide.
Having set gathering times is also helpful. Making a habit of visiting others on the weekends, or getting together for lunch once a week, can go a long way in challenging these feelings of isolation. Not only is this helpful for knowing how to overcome depression, but it can also continue to develop trust and reinforce relationships, going forward.
Daily Goals and Chores
Setting attainable goals on a daily basis can help someone address any feelings of worthlessness or lack of control they may feel due to depression. Having daily routines filled with small tasks, like feeding the pets, doing dishes, taking a shower, or making the bed, can all be used to one’s advantage. Accomplishing these daily tasks is a reinforcement of how much control someone truly has over their day, and can be a testament to each person’s ability to prove their worth and take care of tasks each day. These actions may be difficult for someone suffering from depression, but practicing them and rewarding their accomplishment can be a key part of learning how to control depression.
Plan and Eat Healthy Meals
Having a healthy diet has a huge effect on one’s mental state. Eating balanced meals helps you to feel better about yourself, as well as provide the necessary energy to address depression on a daily basis. Depression itself can be an exhausting feeling, and having the energy to employ your coping strategies can help ensure that depression doesn’t become too overwhelming. Keeping meals healthy and at regular times ensures that you aren’t skipping any meals as a result of your depression, and are getting the needed energy to address your symptoms on a daily basis.
Eating healthy meals also correlates with a more positive body image. As depression may take hold of one’s self-worth, being able to feel healthy and proud in one’s body can reinforce positive elements throughout your day.
Find a Way to Judge Yourself Fairly
Depression can cast a lens over a person’s accomplishments, making it very difficult to pick out the positive impact someone has amidst all of the negative feelings. Having a way to fairly judge oneself can be a way to objectively see how much progress you are making in your journey through depression. Keeping a journal of one’s accomplishments or concrete lists of goals are also ways to measure success. Additionally, setting goals ahead of time can ensure that you are setting appropriate expectations of yourself on a daily basis while you continue to see your accomplishments in motion.
These are also great ways of adding context to one’s accomplishments. By creating lists of one’s expectations of the day, it can be easier to objectively view if they are attainable in the course of 24 hours. If someone sets unrealistic expectations of themselves, they may then continue to think of themselves negatively if not all tasks are accomplished, without taking into account how impossible the task was, to begin with.
Getting the body moving is a great tool for combatting feelings of depression on a daily basis. Staying in one place, whether it be in bed, on the couch, or anywhere else, can make the days themselves seem stagnant. This leans into the isolation and feeling of defeat that depression may already be presenting. Simply getting up and moving around in any capacity can help someone begin to realize that they can change their environment if they so wish, as well as introduces a degree of freedom into one’s day even amidst feelings of defeat. While going on a walk, jog, or bike ride are all incredibly helpful, it can be just as impactful to simply take a lap around the house. Getting the body moving, step by step can instill the necessary groundwork for learning how to cope with depression.
Know that Time Isn’t Wasted
Depression can feel like someone is “stuck in time.” A person suffering from depression may have little motivation to go to work, or even accomplish their personal goals. However, this time isn’t as wasted as a person may think. Even if someone is just watching television while feeling depressed, it may be the outlet that they need to begin to break through a particularly difficult depressive episode. It is okay to take time for yourself and engage in self-care. Things like playing video games, drawing, or watching a movie can all be ways for someone to continue to express themselves during difficult times. Even scheduling these things into one’s day as something that you know you will enjoy can help you begin to harness your methods of self-care, and engage in personal activities with the intent needed to overcome depression.
Get As Much Light As Possible Every Day
The amount of light each person gets throughout their day can have a huge effect on their mood. Staying inside or away from windows can perpetuate feelings of isolation and depression. Getting enough light, even if just on a walk around a person’s block, can help begin to improve one’s mental outlook. Even after the sun goes down, ensuring lights are turned on in whatever room a person is in or using light boxes to help in rooms where there may be no windows or where someone spends extended amounts of time, can go a long way in learning how to reduce depression.