Everyone has their off days. Days where nothing seems to go our way. We all experience moments of depression in some form or another. In some cases, this feeling can be temporary while in others, depression can last for days or longer. So how does one deal with depression?
The following are some tips to help you when you are feeling depressed. These techniques can help you get back on track and give you a lift when you become overwhelmed by the craziness of the day.
Read the tips below and be sure to pass these on to your friends that could benefit from these suggestions.
by Amanda Gardner
Choose smart goals
Select a few simple, straightforward goals you can easily set and follow, suggests Rego. Those goals should be SMART, which stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time-limited.”
So for example, deciding you will have a job by the end of the week is unrealistic.
But deciding to post two resumes online by the end of the week, on the other hand, is SMART. “It’s specific. It’s attainable. It’s not that much effort to do and it could be rewarding,” says Rego.
Fake it a bit
Write down all the things you used to like doing that you’ve stopped doing because you’re sad and depressed, suggests Rego, who is also assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
That could be going to the movies, socializing with friends, or simply going to the corner coffee shop with a newspaper.
Then, one by one, start reincorporating these activities into your life even if you’re feeling unenthusiastic about it. Also, focus on tasks that can give you a sense of mastery or accomplishment, whether it’s tidying up the apartment or paying the bills. That can help ease the depression as well.
One way to sabotage yourself is to take a single event and treat it as an ongoing source of negativity. “People who are unemployed do this a lot,” says Rego. “They’ve lost their job because of the economy and they personalize it.”
It’s also unhealthy to catastrophize—focus on the worst imagined outcome, even if it’s irrational. For example, don’t let concerns about money escalate into the conviction you’ll soon be homeless.
Instead of thinking, “I’ll never get another job,” try to say to yourself: “I will get another job. It just may take some time.”
Ever clash with a colleague or fight with a friend and then keep obsessively thinking about it, amplifying the anger, stress, and anxiety associated with the memory? Known as rumination, this type of thinking is linked to a greater risk of becoming or staying depressed.
While reflection is a good thing, and may help you solve problems, rumination does the opposite.
If you catch yourself ruminating, studies suggest it may help if you try to distract yourself, meditate, or redirect your thoughts. Cognitive behavioral therapy often targets rumination because it can be so damaging to mental health.
Don’t dwell on the past
It’s pretty pointless to tell yourself you should have done this orshouldn’t have done that. You can’t change the past, but you can live in the present.
Just accept that you made the best decisions you could have made with the information or resources you had at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, so best to try to just let it go and don’t beat yourself up for perceived missteps.
And do a rumination check; ruminating about the past can generate anxiety, just as worry about the future.
Stick to a structured routine
Even if you don’t feel like it, make sure you get up at a set time, eat meals at the same hour every day (even if you’re not hungry), and avoid lounging on the couch during the day lest it prevent you from sleeping well at night.
“People who are depressed tend to eat or sleep inconsistently,” says Rego. “Even if you’re unemployed or feeling down, it’s really important to set and establish a daily routine as best you can. This gives you a sense of regularity that can help with a depressed mood.”
If you can incorporate socializing into your routine, all the better.