1. Practice Self- forgiveness
A great place to start when practicing self-care is self-forgiveness. People with depression will blame themselves for having the condition. That’s not fair to you. Depression is a mental health problem. Sometimes it has origins in family history, life experience, or a combination of the two. If you had a choice, would you really want depression? Of course, not, so give yourself a break and show yourself some compassion.
2. Ask Yourself: “Am I Getting Enough Sleep?”
The next thing to look into is your sleep routine. Consider these two questions:
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Is my sleep restful?
If the answer is “no” to both questions then it’s time to overhaul your sleep hygiene or daily routine. Establish a consistent bedtime that allows you at least eight hours of sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime, as this only interferes with deep, restful sleep. Also, avoid staring at screens, texting, or returning emails before you go to bed.
3. Allow Yourself to Have Fun
When you have depression, just getting through the day is tough. Can you imagine having fun? Yet, that’s exactly what you should do. Even if it’s only ten minutes of your time, some unstructured fun-time can be just what you need. Listening to music, drawing, or watching your favorite movie (perhaps a comedy) are all examples. Give yourself permission to smile and have fun!
4. Take Breaks When You Need To
Do you have moments when you feel the level of your depression is reaching a critical stage? It can feel overwhelming in those situations to have to deal with depression and everything else in your life. That’s why it’s helpful to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break. It just needs to be long enough to allow you to refocus before switching to the next thing.
5. Watch Out for Unhelpful Self-Talk
Your self-talk is the narrative that you hear in your brain. It reflects how you perceive yourself. If your self-talk is negative, that will, in turn, have a negative influence on your perception. Of course, it’s not possible to be positive all the time. However, you can be realistic and observant of times when you get down on yourself. Challenge the monologue in your head. Does your self-talk really reflect the situation at hand, or is it related to depression?
6. Keep Breathing
Mindful breathing exercises are helpful when you start to feel depression creep in. Take deep breathes to relax the muscles in your body and help you refocus. The advantage of breathing exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere.
7. Get in Touch with Your Body
Finally, get in touch with your body and how it relates to depression. For example, when you feel depressed, is there tension in your neck or shoulders? Does your posture suffer? These are little signs that can help you be more aware when depression is at work. The more aware you are, the better you can cope.
When you are depressed, it’s easy to just let your self-care slide. However, proper self-care can actually help you cope with depression so that it doesn’t get the upper hand. Still, if you find it too difficult to manage on your own, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help and compassionate guidance.