I have battled depression since I was 9 years old.
I didn’t know that until a few years ago.
I knew I was moody.
I knew I was often sad.
I knew there were times when all I wanted to do was sleep (but couldn’t.)
I knew I would overeat when I felt emotional.
I knew certain songs, movies, or conversations would send me straight into my feelings.
I knew I would cry for no reason.
I knew I had journals full of negative thoughts.
I thought it was just the way I am. I haven’t had the easiest life.
But, I didn’t know I was depressed.
Depression doesn’t look the same for everyone. You can be highly functional and depressed. You can go to work everyday, depressed. You can manage your home, depressed. You can be surrounded by family and friends, depressed.
If this describes your life, I’m sorry.
Getting through this time of year can be tough. Getting through a long battle with depression can be tough.
Here are things that help me push through when I feel depressed:
I renew, refuel, and redirect my mind daily. I do this through prayer and devotion, books and podcasts, and blogs and articles. I overload on positivity, spiritual guidance, and educational resources on mental wellness.
I exercise every morning. This is my #1 mood booster. I recently started back at the gym, after quite some time, and experienced a shift after just 1 workout. No lie. Exercise is said to have the same effect as medication in mild to moderate cases of depression.
I don’t spend more than 4-5 hours inside (the house, work, or where ever) at a time, during the day. I get out to get exposure to sunlight- a source of vitamin D, a nutrient linked to sharper thinking and better emotional health. I take a drive, run an errand, or just sit outside for a few minutes just to catch some rays.
I start something new. A new project, a new activity, a new network, new research, new class… you get the idea. There is a sense of euphoria attached to starting something new. That feeling can help distract you from feelings of depression and give you something to look forward to.
*Please note: Feeling blue after a breakup or loss of any kind is normal. There is also an undeniable change in pace and emotional climate that accompanies the change to cooler weather. It is common to feel sad during the holidays if you have strained relationships with family.
When those feelings and changes start to impair your daily function, there may be more to it. You are welcome to try my tips, but this is not a substitute for professional help. Please see a doctor or therapist.