When Depression Gets Too Much
Depression is something that countless people struggle with at some stage in their life. When experiencing a depressive episode, it can often feel as though you are struggling to fight an uphill battle. While this can often leave you feeling helpless, there is a number of small and simple things which you can do to help pull yourself through the dark when depression hits.
Seeking Support from Family and Friends
While it may seem as though you are fighting this alone, there is more often than not an entire network of people who are able and willing to help you through this hard time. By allowing yourself to ask for help, you are relieving yourself from a sense of loneliness and creating a safe space to talk out your fears and worries. While you may not immediately resolve the issues which you are anxious about, talking to someone external about the concerns you are facing allows you to ground yourself and find a sense of calm. It may also be beneficial to gain a new perspective on the concerns you have and feel listened to. But most importantly, seeking help from the people in your life allows you to feel supported and safe in your surroundings, and gives you a sense of hope.
It may sound obvious or cliché but taking time to focus on yourself and what you need is a crucial step in managing depression. When you are feeling low, it is important to make sure that you are eating enough food and drinking water, ensuring that you are getting the right amount of sleep, and exercising (even if that only means going for a short walk). This can be accompanied by doing something to indulge yourself, such as making yourself a cup of coffee, or putting on a face mask. While completing these tasks may seem almost impossible on the days when you just want to stay in bed, it is important to remind yourself how important it is to put your health first.
Complete Small Tasks
When experiencing an episode of depression, it is often hard to find the motivation to complete small tasks. Things as little as getting out of bed in the morning or washing your hair can feel like running a marathon. Completing small tasks as simple as having a shower, or washing the dishes, allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment. By simply dividing your tasks into smaller categories and rewarding yourself when you complete something, you will find that you are able to achieve more in your day. This sense of accomplishment will in turn encourage an increase in motivation and lift your mood. So, put on some music and do that task which you have been avoiding.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
One of the most powerful things you can do to alleviate the negative headspace which builds during a depressive episode is fighting negative thoughts. Often when depressed, people do not notice that negative thought patterns are not only replacing positive or neutral thoughts, but also taking up valuable time and space in the brain.
While you can’t always control how you feel about things, you can control how you think. By recognising and substituting negative thoughts which occur throughout the day, you begin to break down negative thought patterns which may be attributing to your depression.
Take note of all the negative thoughts that you have throughout the day and when you notice a negative thought occur, flip the words you have used. For example, instead of saying “I performed awfully in that job interview”, change your thoughts to “I did the best I can’. With time and practice, this will become like a second nature and you will be exchanging the negative thought patterns into positive beliefs which will help lift your mood.
Depression can be an overwhelming and often disheartening feature of life. While these tips may assist you in lifting your mood and maintaining motivation it is important to seek help if you feel as though you are struggling. If this is the case, contact your GP or one of our psychologists for advice and support.