Don’t let Depression Stop You: How to Keep Living Your Best Life in the Face of Depression
When you’re feeling good about the direction of your life and mental health, the last thing you want is depression to rear its ugly head. You’re reaching your goals, strengthening connections, feeling excited about the future, when all of a sudden- hopelessness, irritation, exhaustion, negative self-talk, and brain fog crowd in around you. What can you do?
The first and most important thing you can do is reach out. Research shows those who engage in professional therapy and medication recover faster and are less likely to relapse back into depression. Click here to find out more about how RIVIA Mind’s therapists can help you get a diagnosis, prescribe medication, and walk you through therapy
But what if the antidepressants aren’t working yet and your therapist can’t be reached? Life doesn’t stop for depression, and neither should you. If you feel yourself being bogged down by depression but don’t want to neglect that to-do list, try asking yourself these four questions:
- Are my basic needs met?
Before anything else, stop and complete this checklist:
- Eat something healthy
- Drink a glass of water
- Step outside
- Bonus- When was the last time you had a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? If it’s been a while, see if you can change your schedule and meet your sleep needs tonight.
These four activities help form the basic foundations of health that depression will try to uproot. If you feel especially burdened by depression today, be mindful of these necessities that you might be neglecting. It can make a huge impact.
- How much energy can I spend exercising today?
We don’t mean run six miles or do an intense Peloton workout (although you can if you’re feeling up for it!). Take a moment to sit with yourself and ask: what level of physical activity can my body do today? Here are some easy ideas:
- Walk around the block.
- Dance to your favorite song.
- Do ten jumping jacks or pushups.
- Get out of bed and walk around your house for a few minutes.
It doesn’t have to be a lot. Even the smallest bit of exercise will help your brain self-regulate and ease depression symptoms.
- When was the last time I called a friend/loved one?
Depression can convince you that you are all alone. We are here to tell you: you’re not! It can be easy to pull away from others when you are feeling depressed. On the days when even getting out of bed is a struggle, think of someone you care about and shoot them a text or give them a phone call.
Sometimes though, loneliness is all-consuming and can feel never-ending. If you feel stuck in these emotions, contact one of these hotlines:
- Crisis Hotline: Text HOME to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
- What is something that I love to do but haven’t done in a while?
Depression makes it easy to do the same thing day in and day out. Why not shake it up? If you wake up and feel the weight of depression, set an intention to do one thing that brings you joy. Can’t think of any ideas? Here are some easy and cost-effective fun things to jump-start your dopamine levels (the happy signal your brain sends):
- Buy a coffee from a local shop.
- Go to the movie theatre.
- Listen to music in the shower.
- Watch a comedian instead of your usual tv show.
- Go to a bookstore, museum, art gallery, or somewhere else that sparks your interest.
- Dress up for casual occasions- put on a full face of makeup, wear that nice button-up, and rock those shoes that make you feel powerful! Depression can’t stop you from living your life.
We understand that when you’re depressed you probably don’t have the same interests as before. The things that used to spark joy in you feel dull and boring. That’s okay. Even if that iced coffee doesn’t taste the same way it did before depression struck, breaking your routine for something new and fun will help kickstart your brain into forming healthier, happier pathways and ultimately speed up your recovery from depression.
Depression isn’t your fault. It’s a mental health condition with many factors, many of which are completely out of your hands. But healing is always a choice you can make. Go out today and do one thing that makes you proud of yourself, and then celebrate it! You got this. And if you feel like you don’t, our specialized depression therapists and psychiatrists can help. Click here for a free 15-minute consultation, or schedule directly with the specialist of your choice.