If you ever suffer from episodes of depression, at the time you wonder how you will ever feel better again. Sometimes this mood just runs its course. However, there a few things you can do to help you recover sooner and get back to your happier self. Many of the tips that follow are also preventative, meaning you can implement them at any time. As such they may help you avoid suffering from the blues in the first place.
1 Do the opposite of what you want. You want to do nothing, all day, each day. Instead force yourself out of bed and do something. It doesn’t have to be much and it doesn’t have to be for long. Depending on how fed up you are it could be as simple as showering and getting dressed. It would be a good idea to keep an activity log and rate your mood. Do what you can to increase your activity levels each day.
2 Speak to someone about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to vent to a friend or family member you can trust. Keeping quiet will keep you inside yourself and leave you feeling like there’s no way out of the bleakness that envelops you. Don’t hold back at the idea of speaking to a counsellor or psychologist. It is their job to listen and just being able to talk to an impartial listener can be hugely cathartic.
3 Exercise. I know you’re not in the mood right now, but it will give you a boost. Promise yourself you can stop after ten minutes. Chances are once you start you will want to keep going. By setting aside time each day for exercise you will do wonders to your wellbeing. Even a walk outside is a start. In addition, getting out in the sun helps you meet your vitamin D needs, which is a known mood enhancer.
4 Keep a journal. Writing down how you are feeling can be hugely therapeutic. Right now you may just want to write down your darkest thoughts. However at some point you will want to turn it around. Start challenging your thoughts if you can. Also, I recommend you keep a happiness journal where you can detail all that is good in your life. This way, when the blues hits, you can read through it and feel comforted.
5 Consider your diet. To begin with, make sure you eat. You will want to keep your energy up. Then you might like to look at the foods you eat. A varied diet that minimises sugar and saturated fat is always a good idea. However some foods are known mood boosters. Try: bananas, nuts, cheese, pumpkin seeds and blueberries. You don’t even need to cook them!
6 Understand your thought patterns. Your thoughts can have a staggering impact on your mood and wellbeing, whether good or bad. If you keep a journal you may become familiar with some of your thoughts. Try to keep an eye out for those thoughts that are not realistic or fair on yourself. ‘Everybody hates me’, ‘I always fail’, ‘There’s nothing to smile about’. The words in italics should be challenged. I talk about thought patterns throughout my book Promoting Happiness. There are many exercises to help you understand your thoughts better.
7 Carry out relaxation exercises. Whether it is meditation, deep breathing or yoga – do something that gives you time out for yourself and will help relieve stress. Your low mood may leave you feeling as though you have no control in your life. These exercises will help change this.
8 Speak to a GP. If your symptoms persist or get worse after trying the above, do not hesitate to chat to your Doctor.