The struggle is real! We have all been depressed at some time or another. Things happen of which we have no control over. We react and we respond. Some of these uncontrollable and unexpected events lead us to feelings of depression. This is known as situational depression.
However, if like myself, you have been diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), then you feel depressed at times (or sometimes a lot of the time) for no apparent reason. No different than many others who struggle with depression, a regimen of various psychiatric medications is part of my daily routine.
Thirty years ago, I balked at the idea that I would need to take medication and that I couldn’t fix this. Of course I could fix it. I can fix anything! I can do anything!
Time and time again it was shown to me that I couldn’t fix it on my own. The biggest step for me was to accept my depression. I needed to accept the fact that medication was necessary for me to live a somewhat normal life. And so it goes. But that wasn’t enough. Medication alone doesn’t work. It gives me a baseline to work with. However, there are days which are more challenging than others. And so over the years, I have discovered this…
10 Ways to Get Un-Depressed
- Go to a happy place – This is a real or imagined place. If I can’t leave my home, then this is a picture in my head. Other times, this is a favorite park of mine or hiking trail or even a trip to the coast.
- Rest – Sometimes this might mean a nap. Other times it means relaxing in a chair or on the couch or laying outside on the grass. It becomes my own personal time-out.
- Take a shower/bath – Sometimes a long hot shower will seem to drain the angst right out of me. When in the bath tub, lots of bubble bath, yummy smells, and candles seem to whisk my mind and body elsewhere.
- Using 5 senses – Do something using one of the 5 senses (hear, see, smell, touch, taste). Having my dog lay in my lap and petting him gently is a great way to help with depression.
- Get out – Get out of the house, work, car or wherever one is currently residing. New scenery, new noises, and new smells can work wonders.
- Phone a friend – Having someone to call who is a “safe” person. This person knows about your struggles and will listen without judgment. This friend or individual is also referred to as a “nontoxic” individual (that is a future blog post).
- Pampering – Doing something affordable to treat oneself. This can be as simple as an ice cream cone, manicure, or a new outfit. Or if the funds are available, this can be a vacation or just one night away.
- Exercise – The idea here is to engage in some sort of activity, however slow or difficult. One can take a walk, run, do yoga, go for a swim, engage in simple stretching exercises…this can be anything. Mostly it means moving and doing!
- Arts & Sciences – Engage in a hobby or start a new one, listen to music or read a book, gaze at and name the constellations. Whatever is chosen in this area, do it mindfully.
- Distraction – This is anything and everything to distract the horrible feelings associated with depression. This can be any of the nine areas mentioned above or something totally different. The idea is to occupy the brain with something else and distract from the negativity.
I’m the first one to admit that any and all of these ideas can be extremely difficult when immersed in the thick cloud of depression. It is really hard sometimes to move out of the deep abyss of depression. It takes practice and a whole bunch of it.
The more I try different ideas to deal with my depression then the longer my personal list becomes. Personally, having a list of proven activities that have worked in the past gives me more options to try in the future. However, it’s more than just trying different ideas.
Write down your own 10 Ways to Get Un-Depressed
Have this list readily available. Use it as a resource and a reference. Share it with someone you trust so they can suggest ideas from your list when you are struggling. Make duplicate copies and place them in convenient places throughout your home and other locations. The most important point here is to have a plan. This can be referred to as your “Depression Escape Plan.”
Please try not to get discouraged when one of your ideas doesn’t work. I have found over the years that some of my go-to ideas only work in certain situations and the other way around. Not every stage of depression is the same and so not every idea is going to work in every situation.
Don’t worry! As I’m sharing this with everyone, I am also reminding myself. The struggle is real and the work is hard. But, my depression and I don’t fight so much anymore. Now, I tend to wrap my arm around him and just carry him with me. I can’t fight him and I can’t make him go away. So, all I can do is learn how to live with him. That’s all any of us can do!
I would love to hear about your 10 ways to get un-depressed. You can comment with your ideas or you can email me directly. I wish you all good mental health!
19 thoughts on “10 Ways to Get UN-depressed”
That’s a great post. I feel great affinity with those people who come out and talk about their depression and try to help others. I have been suffering from postnatal depression which became chronic. I have been on medications since 25 years. I have been fighting it and I do succeed most of the time but when I do get a severe attack of anxiety I try to do anything possible to get out of it.I do yoga, I have done meditation for years. I am trying out Axis bars Consciousness which has helped me a lot. All your ten points are perfect. I follow them all. I have also written a couple of posts like these. Eat drink and be merry is my mantra.Just don’t ever give up! Do reach out to me if you want a sounding board 🙂
As as I have worked through my own stuff and have gotten healthier, I have a great desire to reach out to others. Someone who has never experienced chronic depression has no idea what we’re feeling. It is much easier to speak with someone who has walked in the same shoes. Thank you for your comments.
Love this post and the tips, for me I always fall back on my mantra, “if thats the worst thing that happens today it wont be a bad day”
Thanks for stopping by Mike. I like your Mantra! This year, mine has been, “It is what it is.”
1 count my blessings by recording daily gratitudes
2 walk my dog
3 go for a run OK a shuffle is a more accurate description
4 Write a blog
5 Being creative colouring
6 Sing or / and dance
7 Go outside
8 Watch a film Mama Mia / Night on the Town / Seven Brides for Seven Brothers are my favourites
9 Do some Reiki healing
10 Have some Kinesiology
Thank you for sharing. You have a great list. I’m going to have to steal a few! You have mentioned a few that others have mentioned as well.
I couldn’t agree with number 9 more! I find that the more I focus on my external reality the less my anxiety/depression gets to me! I’ve heard that colouring books are good in this regard. It sounds strange but apparently the ones with really small shapes to colour in (like a mosaic pattern) are great for mindfulness – I really ought to give it a go – either way thanks for posting this!
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, I have dabbed into the creativity of the adult coloring books. I have found this activity to be a great distraction, especially when I do it mindfully. Give it a try!
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Having had a breakdown 30 years ago and have battled depression ever since, all of your points are relevant, yes people have to find their own path but often need a starting point – and take one step at a time. A good way to start is with your list – and just do one thing then begin to expand slowly at their own pace. Dx
We are in this journey together. Thank you for sharing your story.
Fantastic Post Julie.
I have been fortunate and not suffered from severe depression although I’ve had times when It all feels tough. I remember one incident which was probably PMT – I felt wicked, nasty, horrible, yuck. We were on a day out and I was slap bang in the middle of a dark cloud which I had no intention of escaping. We got to our destination, set up at the bottom of the dunes and the kids started sliding down. I was so cross. Why when they had so much space did they have to slide down onto the mat where I was trying to get peace! So I jumped up, ran to the top of the dune, thinking – I’ll show them- even though I didn’t know what I was going to show them. Hopped on a piece of cardboard and as I slid down the dune – the cloud lifted and I felt a WEEEEEEEEE! replace it. We then had hours of fun. Don’t know whether it was the movement or what that caused the change but it was good 🙂
Thanks for sharing your personal experience. What a great story! This is such a great example of getting up and getting out. It’s amazing how much our mood can change when we change our environment. Just last week I had something similar. For me, it was getting out of my home and getting ice cream!
Hi Julie, having suffered from depression 3 times very badly (however i believe i always have it) i agree with what you say about acceptance. This is how i have dealt and managed mine. Once i accept that it is ok to feel how i feel then i start to recover.
I like your list.. hard to do any of those if you are in the depths.. you missed one though…. Singing!!
I run a singing group for mental health and wellbeing and it helps people so much. Singing saves me from going back down and i would encourage everyone to give it a go. Find a relaxed group and Sing It Out!
Thank you for sharing your personal experience with depression. I never thought of singing only because I don’t sing. It’s just not for me personally. However, I can see how this would be helpful for many. Thanks for the great suggestion!
Great post julie, one of the things I do is to reflect, look back on recent events or things i have achieved that lift me, re absorbing success in my life even the little things brings a great lift to my day. We also practise gratitude as a family which helps keep us real.
I love your ideas. Being grateful and practicing gratitude, I believe, are two different things. I like this idea and will add it to my own list! Thanks!
When I notice I’m letting the housework slide a bit thats my tell that I’m feeling down. For me it’s clutter that is a sure sign. I also do some pampering on my own to feel better.
Yes, I think as we get older we can identify more easily some of those “tell-tale” signs. For me, I find I don’t sleep very well and the first thing I start neglecting is dishes!