Thursday 4 February 2021

15 Tips to Fight Depression

I've had a lot of people tell me they are feeling low or anxious during this lockdown, more so than the previous ones.. 

I think we are all finding it a lot harder. We've been through it twice already, the weather is bad and its dark all the time.

A book I found especially helpful about understanding mental health is Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. It's definitely worth a read whether you are suffering from depression yourself or want to help someone else who is. A family member sent it to me during Lockdown 1.0, and I found it pretty useful. 

So to help anyone who needs it right now, I've put together a list of things that I think improve a low mood. The key to fighting depression is wanting to help yourself and the fact you’re already here reading this means you’re on the right track. 

1. Get dressed 

It might sound ridiculous but simply putting on a nice outfit, doing your hair or putting on some make up can make a world of difference. Don't spend all day in your pj's!

2. Be kind to yourself

Know that its okay not to be okay and to take a time out for yourself. Take a break and stop giving yourself a hard time for feeling this way. 

3. Get enough sleep 

Depression can make you tired and tiredness can make you depressed (a vicious cycle!!), so it is important to have a good sleep routine if you can. Try reading or meditation before bed to help you sleep.

4. Talk to someone you trust 

Whether its having a coffee with a friend, phoning a loved one or booking an appointment with a therapist, talking it out can be really cathartic. Bottling up your feelings never gets you anywhere and will end up coming out in a bad way eventually.

5. Stay active 

As much as you probably don't feel like it, it is important to stay active. Regular exercise is key to improving your mood, even if it is just a walk.

6. Cook or bake something nice

Cooking and baking are really therapeutic and just doing something that requires your concentration will take your mind off how you are feeling and give you a sense of achievement.

7. Fill your home with fresh flowers

Being surrounded by beautiful fresh flowers will really cheer you up, and make your house look and smell great too.

8. Try affirmations

My daily affirmation is 'Focus on the positives, not the negatives'. It really helps me to put things into perspective and lift my mood. If I'm having a particularly bad day is it 'I am strong'. I know its true so I know these feelings will pass. 

9. Find your passion

Throwing yourself into something you’re passionate about will occupy your mind  - for me it is this blog, cooking, reading, photography and creating aesthetic images, as well as yoga, running and travel. Having hobbies will increase your mental wellbeing and help your life feel more fulfilling.

10. Surround yourself with positive people

A lot of the time negative people will bring you down with them so try to surround yourself with positive people who genuinely care about your wellbeing. 

11. Start a gratitude journal

This one is pretty new for me. I have recently started using The 6-Minute Diary and it really has helped me to look at things in a different light. To focus on the positives, not the negatives.

12. Spend time with animals

Pets are so good for your mental health, they ease loneliness and they are so pure and non judgmental. I think they can tell when we are sad, my cat Charlie has been at my side during some of the toughest times of my life.

13. If you don't feel like exercising just get out in the fresh air 

Just step outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D. A change of scenery will do you the world of good. 

14. Find your happy place

Find your 'safe place' or 'safe person'. I'm lucky enough to have my family home and several people who fit this category. If you feel like you don't have someone like that, reach out to someone. You never know they might need it as much as you do.

15. Go on an adventure

OK, maybe you can't do this one during a lockdown but in the future, I find travel always lifts my mood. It doesn't have to even be abroad, just exploring a new place is exciting. Travel is my therapy!

If these tips don't help, please don't be afraid to seek professional help. Whether it be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), counselling or medication - you don't have to go through this alone. And asking for help does not make you weak, it requires a certain type of strength to want to get better and make that step to begin the process. Call your GP and they will be able to help.

For urgent support: Call the Samaritans free on 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258  for the Shout Crisis Text Line.

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