Finding yourself in the clutches of an unshakeable despair? Is the anxiety so overwhelming that every moment threatens with a sense of impending doom? Perhaps you’ve become perpetually angry at the world, growing ever restless? Depression can manifest in different ways. Whatever way it decides to rear its ugly head, it’s never fun. If you fear you may be suffering from depression, know that you are not alone. Statistically, nearly 1 in 4 people will battle with mental health issues in their lifetime. Do the math. That’s a lot of people. It is also common for the onset of a depression to be experienced during a seasonal change as the months grow colder and darker. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel, even though the hopelessness we may sometimes feel tells us otherwise. So begin now, begin today, with a handful of reaffirming habits that just might make all the difference in the end.
1. Maintain a routine
It can be all too easy to fall into irregular sleeping habits, but healthy sleeping patterns are crucial to mental stability. Don’t avoid kitchen duties with unhealthy take-outs; it’s not only bad for the body but for the brain too. While that greasy pizza may seem like the answer now, it’s not going to give you the lift you’re needing in the long run. No one is saying you have to set your alarm for the gym at 5a.m. every morning and stick to it, dammit! Draw up a routine that is manageable for you and find comfort in your commitment to taking care of yourself.
2. Try and stay active
Motivation can be one of the first things to go with depression. As we begin to lose all motivation, exercise so often feels like the last thing we want to do. However, even 15 minutes of moderate exercise can help to give you a boost. If hitting the gym seems a bit daunting, try and take the dog for a walk to the park… Put on some music and have a little dance around your living room… Find a guided yoga practice on YouTube… Whatever works for you. Just muster enough motivation every day to keep the sofa from swallowing you whole.
3. Be kinder to yourself
Remember that no one is happy all of the time. Sometimes when we scroll through our Facebook feed it may appear that way. Everyone else has it all figured out so where did we go wrong? The truth is so often we’re only privy to the adorable baby pictures, and the photos of blushing brides and exotic destinations… The finely crafted version of events… But real life is messy. So give yourself the time you need to dig deep and heal. Grant your inner voice the permission to speak words of compassion, rather than stern criticism.
4. Stay in touch
So you’re probably not feeling like much of a socialite right now. And that’s okay. You don’t owe anybody anything and it’s certainly no fun attending large social gatherings when you quietly wish you could just crawl into the foetal position. But resist the urge to shun family and friends altogether. There is no shame in admitting to loved ones that you need a special brand of TLC for a while. If you do not feel like leaving the house, invite a close family member over for a cuppa tea. On days you feel braver, maybe ask a friend to do something you think you might enjoy, whether it’s an evening art class or going to see the latest feel-good flick. Trust that those who truly care do not mind you at your most vulnerable. They love you all the same.
5. Don’t be shy to seek professional help
There can be no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to depression. While putting good habits into place certainly goes a long way, there are times when we need to call in for back-up to determine our specific needs. A counselling psychologist will be able to give you a referral to a psychiatrist should you both decide that is the next course of action. If you do not have comprehensive medical cover, there are even free online counselling forums such as 7 Cups of Tea. Help is out there, so make the most of it. After all, you’re worth that much.
Date Published: 22 June 2016