Mental illness is very prevalent in our everyday lives – you likely know several people who are battling some kind of mental illness. One of the most common mental health issues around the world is depression. It can hinder your everyday life and if left unaddressed can lead to more serious problems. There are lots of resources to help you to understand how to manage emotions and get a handle on your feelings but for a more everyday solution, here are some tips for little ways you can battle your depression on a daily basis.
Challenge negative thinking
This first step is to recognise when your depression is starting to take hold. When you feel those negative thoughts creeping in and you are getting hung up on imagined scenarios, tackle them head-on. Depressive thoughts are usually completely unfounded and can ease off when you fight them with logical thinking.
If you are struggling to challenge your negative thoughts, then just try and direct your attention elsewhere. This is particularly helpful if you are having thoughts of doing anything impulsive or destructive – try to concentrate on something else, preferably something productive but it can be anything that will keep your attention for long enough. Mindfulness exercises can be a helpful tool for shifting your attention away from negative thinking.
Set realistic goals
Depression makes small, everyday tasks feel like climbing a mountain. Getting up and going to work can become a daunting prospect, making you more likely to give up and stay in bed. Start your day with this to-do list:
- Get out of bed
- Have a shower
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Travel to work
Each time you complete a task, tick it off and give yourself credit for doing it. Getting out of bed is a big deal when you are in the grip of depression so acknowledge that accomplishment. Take your time with these tasks and do not beat yourself up if you find it harder than usual.
Focus on the basics
Do not start weighing yourself down by thinking about the bigger picture. Do not worry about big tasks or work commitments. Just do your best to keep on top of the basics – sleeping, eating, and getting your body moving. These things can actually help you feel more in control and boost your mood, as well as being essential for staying physically healthy.
Keep doing things
You are probably lacking energy and are struggling to do the things you normally do on a day-to-day basis, but it is important that you keep yourself active. Distract yourself and give your mind something else to focus on – practice your favourite hobby, go for a walk no matter the weather, meet up with a friend for coffee. The idea is that if you allow yourself enough time then your period of depression will pass, and you will feel more able to get back into your normal routine.
Reach out to friends and family
A lot of people hide their depression but the best thing you can do is be honest about how you are feeling. Your friends and family will want to help you in any way they can.