In this guide we will take a look at 9 things you can do to help you keep going when depressed.
9 ways to help you keep going when depressed
Below are 9 ways to help you keep going when depressed:
- Get the Right kind of help
- Be Kind to yourself
- Reduce what stresses you out
- Get good sleep
- Care for your body
- Do something fun
- Connect with people
- Set SMART goals
- Rely on a higher power
While research has determined the various causes of depression such as abuse, trauma, genetic vulnerability, life experiences; the way each individual lives through these factors are subjective experiences.
Every individual’s experience of depression and its symptoms is also unique which is why the things that may help someone cope may not help you but that doesn’t mean that all is lost.
You have various choices of action to choose from, it might take some time to get used to certain changes and certain adaptive strategies.
Let us take a closer look at the 9 ways with which you can help yourself cope with depression and keep going forward.
Get the right kind of help
In an article that shared various tips from people who are coping with depression stressed that you should take your diagnosis seriously.
Depression can be deadly if it is left untreated. Many people can struggle with accepting the diagnosis itself while others may find themselves hopeful because of the validation that they aren’t just making up their struggle.
If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field.
Once you have been diagnosed, seek help. This means seeking the right kind of doctor and therapist for you. Be patient and take the time to consult with different doctors and professionals who are able to understand what you are going through.
There may be different medications- some which might work for you while others that might not help you.
Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different.
It is also important to note that combining therapy and medication can be more effective than either methods alone.
Psychotherapy itself has many facets to it. There are different practices which make use of different theories about mental health and illnesses. Each professional can differ in their way of working with their clients. Find one that suits your own pace.
Being able to find a support system that you are comfortable with can reduce resistance to treatment and you might even find yourself hopeful.
Be kind to yourself
You do not need to ruminate over why this is happening to you nor blame yourself or the world for your struggles.
Begin with accepting that this is happening to you and acknowledging that you have been struggling for quite a long time. Take a moment to reflect on the diagnosis and understand that this disorder does not make you any less of a human being.
Like any other physical ailments, there may be underlying causes. However, just like you do not beat yourself over catching a cold, be kind to yourself regarding your diagnosis too.
Now that you know that this is a serious problem that you are facing and that you are struggling, treat yourself like you would someone who is in pain- with kindness, patience, and care.
Your healing will not happen overnight, it will take time- even years- to understand the causes and work towards stubborn perspective and habits that aggravate your symptoms.
Kindness is what is going to help you pick yourself up and try again.
Reduce what stresses you out
If its a job that is causing you immense stress, maybe it is time to consider taking a leave of absence. Or it could be your own family environment that is causing your symptoms to flare up- consider moving out if your financial situation persists.
The intent here is to reduce or remove the things in your life that add stress. If it is a certain relationship, taking the time to set boundaries or communicate that you are taking time out can be one way.
By reducing stressors, the thought of waking up and facing your day may seem a little less daunting, you might even look forward to it.
Get good sleep
Take time to improve your sleep hygiene. Research has found that sleep disorders are also a core symptom of depression. Irregular sleep and not enough sleep can make your healing process difficult and can even heighten the risk of relapse.
Some of the things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene are
- Avoid substances that impact your sleep, this includes caffeine.
- Exercise daily
- Avoid heavy dinners
- Change your sleeping environment to be more soothing and sleep inducing.
- Make changes in your pre-sleep routine such as taking relaxing baths before sleep, avoiding gadgets two hours before sleeping time.
When you are able to get good sleep, you might be able to focus more and be less tired and irritable. There might even be a shift in mood towards more hope and joy.
Care for your body
Your body is your friend. The emotions you feel in your physical body is your body telling you that you are feeling certain things when you are unable to notice them.
Care for your body like you would care for a friend, with kindness and support. Kindness can mean giving it the rest it needs- sleeping well and taking naps.
Support can include making nutritious food for your body and enjoying the meal. It can also mean taking a walk or exercising to improve blood circulation, reduce cholesterol, etc.
The little things you can do for your body can go a long way especially since this friend always tends to return the care and support. Research has found that exercising can release feel-good endorphins while eating nutritious food can boost serotonin levels.
Sometimes, people find themselves looking forward to exercising and their next meals because it allows them some purpose and meaning to their day.
Do something fun
Engage in activities that bring you joy. If you think joy is something unattainable at the moment, then seek peace and rest. You can cuddle with your pet for a few hours after a hard day.
You can watch your favorite tv series or watch a performance from your favorite musical act. Try creating something- be it a shapeless clay potato or a short poem cribbled on the back of an envelope.
The intent here is to engage in something that allows you to experience a positive emotion and gives you that mental break from your mundane routine and if you liked doing it, look forward to doing it again the next day or the next week.
Connect with people
Reaching out to people who love you and letting them know that you are having a hard time now, can bring you closer to people who truly love and care for you.
These are positive relationships we want and need around you as you begin your journey to recovery. Positive relationships help you discover joys and meaning to your life.
Make plans to meet them for lunch, or go for a walk with them. Make sure you make clear what you can and cannot do and agree on something that both you and them can enjoy.
You can also take the step to connect with other people who are coping with depression through group therapy or support groups.
Oftentimes, listening to other people’s successes can instil hope, it also gives you the opportunity to learn new perspectives of living and life along with new techniques to cope.
Set SMART goals
Survival is what we are looking at when we are unable to find reasons to keep going. So set your expectations for recovery realistic but it should also give you a sense of accomplishment that is personal to yourself.
Make goals for each day and let your goals be small, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound,
Make plans for your day that suit your pace- if today is especially difficult, make a step by step plan from your bed to the bathroom in the mornings.
Reward yourself when you succeed and be kind when you slip up. Remind yourself that you are learning.
Rely on a higher power
You might find it hard to believe that spirituality can help in this situation especially when you find yourself out of hope. However a substantial amount of research has found that belief in a higher power is related to better treatment outcomes.
Perhaps it is time to connect to something higher than yourself- be it to simply yell at the higher being, or be it to find rest in the promise of unconditional love.
It does not have to be a certain religion that you commit yourself to but rather a way of life that is built on the belief of love and hope. In doing so, you are able to connect with others of the same faith.
It might even give you a sense of meaning and purpose to keep going.
In this guide we have taken a look at the various things you can do to help yourself keep going when you are trying to live and cope with depression.
Frequently asked questions related to “how to keep going when depressed”
What is the hopelessness theory of depression?
The Hopelessness theory puts forward that repeated experiences of uncontrollable and negative environmental stimuli- example abuse- leads gradually to the internalised belief that the aversive situation is inescapable and a sense of helplessness ensues. This helplessness turns to hopelessness and eventually depression.
What is the best way to end depression?
There is no one way to “end” depression but you can try many ways to manage and live successful lives with depression. You can start by taking care of your body- getting good sleep, eating nutritious food and exercising.
What is the most reliable symptom of depression?
One of the most dibilitating symptom of depression is having a hopeless outlook on life- this particular symptom can impact a persons thoughts and emotions which can even lead to suicide.
What is the number one cause of depression?
Research suggests that chronic challenges and difficulties are more likely to cause depression than sudden life experiences. Some of them include – living in an abusive and toxic environment, long term unemployment, unresolved trauma, long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long term isolation, and chronic stress
Who is mainly affected by depression?
Depression is most common in ages 18 to 25- young adults. This could be because it is at this age where people face major life transitions which can cause stress. Research also finds that Women are twice as likely as men to have had a depressive episode.