Sadness and depression can completely overtake your life. Whether it is due to a life tragedy or something else, depression can bring one to their knees. Life is hard and some things just can’t be understood, those tend to be the worst in my experience. While I can’t guarantee that the tips below will eliminate depression, I can say that they might just help bring moments of that aren’t as bad and if you are depressed, you know that those are coveted moments.
In moments of great sadness, personally, motivation is also a butt kicker. Staying or even becoming motivated can be quite the challenge. I’m learning and will be for the rest of my life how to force motivation. Sometimes, when the stars or whatever aligns just right, what was once something to be forced becomes ‘just something you do’ and, perhaps, it will become a habit. No guarantees.
Also, I have to point out that I am not a counselor, therapist or trained professional. This is written based on my own experience, what has helped some for me. I’m not telling you to forgo treatment or medication. Actually, I highly suggest getting help. I’m blessed to have a family of professionals to turn to, who don’t hesitate to send me, themselves, or anyone else to get help.
1. Make a list of goals. Whatever they are, big or small. Then break it down. For each goal, right down steps you have to achieve to get there. If you are depressed it can be an even bigger challenge just to take that first step. I get that, trust me I know that feeling. You don’t have to conquer everything in a day, a week or even a year but you do have to do something. Even if that simply means that you got out of bed today. I have those days sometimes. While a bigger list is nice, have that breakdown that you can check off each day. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, don’t focus on the 20, focus on getting a little exercise or eating a little better today (or even just for the meal you are about to have). Eventually those little choices will get you closer and closer to your ultimate goal. Get the picture?
2. Find something that you have some accountability for and get involved. I sort of got roped into volunteering for a series of Saturdays over two months. While many days I think I’ll find my way out of it, I know that I won’t because at the end of the day I gave my word and someone is depending on me to do what I said I’d do. So, when those Saturdays come, I’ll suck it up and go. Typically it turns out that I feel better simply forgetting out and doing it.
3. Host a dinner ‘party’ or go out. Having others around who are happy and having good conversation can go a long way to lift your mood. Plus, it helps keep your mind off of the ‘pit of despair’ thoughts
4. We all have those moments when we finally feel like we can do something, that one day that isn’t as bad as it had been previously. Take advantage. Make plans with someone to do something in the future, perhaps that day you won’t feel like it but the obligation will get you moving and odds are your mood will lift. There is a decent chance that you may end up looking forward to it and having something good to look forward to helps.
5. Get busy. When you are down and depressed, thoughts tend to circle the drain. Nothing good will come from it. Force yourself to get up and do something. Clean, cook, re-organize your closet, anything productive. I tend to carry around my tablet playing videos just to make sure that my thoughts don’t get too deep within my sadness. I’m always distracted by the activity but if I have a tough moment, the videos help keep me from my rabbit hole of thoughts.
6. Avoid triggers. If you are heart broken, you should probably keep yourself away from songs that are gonna remind you of your heartache. If you have to hear something, in the car for example, perhaps try a book on tape (also known to you young people as audio books haha) or make yourself a playlist of songs that are ONLY uplifting. Talk radio typically works too.
7. Eat better. There are foods that are known to lift moods. Things high in vitamins are typically good. I have a friend that swears fruit smoothies for breakfast help them to have better moods. Experiment, you’ll find what works for you.
8. Know that it is okay to feel sad. What is not okay is choosing to roll around in your sadness. Allow yourself to cry if you need to cry, just don’t allow yourself to cry all day.
9. Talk to someone. With the internet no person who is at all plugged in has an excuse for being unable to find someone who understands and has gotten through what we are going through. There are people with similar issues who have overcome, they are out there and many are willing to share or help others with it.
10. Journal. This one I have to give credit to a very outspoken counselor that I know. She is always nagging me about it, so I’m throwing it in for you. (and if she is reading this, I use the word nagging with all the love possible). She suggests writing down three things you have to be happy about. She also suggested that if something is bothering you, you should write it out. If nothing else, you have it out of your system.
*original post found here