When you’re having a bad day with depression or stuck in a bout of despair and do-nothingism, it’s difficult to have the mental clarity or energy to help yourself. I was recently reminded of this yesterday when I let one unexpected event take me from tears to despondency. In those moments of complete sadness, when you’re feeling defeated – that is not the time to fight your depression. That is not a time you really want to fight your depression. At least for me, I tend to wallow in my misery and let my mood spiral down into a sense of hopelessness. I’ve realized that because this is the way I am, that the time to fight my depression is daily – every minute of every day. You have to organize your life, your diet, your exercise, your work, your play – everything around managing your depression.
What am I saying? You don’t just fight your battle with depression when the war is raging. You have to fight it every day to keep yourself from going into battle with depression. If you could stop a battle or a war before it started, wouldn’t you try? I certainly would! That’s why every day I use my lifestyle, the foods I eat, the way I work, the exercise I do – all of it to manage my depression.
None of these are a “fix”. Depression is a part of my life. It may be something I always struggle with. But I’ve found 10 things that help me manage my depression, practice good self-care, and build up my confidence and self-esteem daily so there are less battles with depression in my life.
Today, I’m sharing with you 10 things that I either use or do to help manage my depression. I think you’ll find that you can do a lot of these as well to help prevent your battle with depression!
10 Things to Help with Managing Your Depression
Ok, so we all know that along with anti-depressants you’re supposed to do some sort of talk therapy. I’ve seen a handful of counselors in my time and while talk therapy was helpful, I felt like I never really got anywhere with it. Most of the time it was just a place I could vent with a doctor who held me accountable to some simple exercises.
When my doctor put me back on my anti-depressants last year he said I had to do some form of therapy. But getting out of the house and meeting with someone felt impossible and in all honesty, improbable to happen. He recommend a book that has done wonders for me. It’s called “Feeling Good” by David M. Burns and its around $5 on Amazon!
The book walks you through cognitive behavioral therapy – what it is, how it can help you, and how to implement it in your life. What I love about this book is it helps you identify your incorrect thoughts and feelings, and talk back correctly to them. It has lots of exercises (which I am all about!). So if therapy isn’t an option for you, I recommend ordering this book and planning a weekly self-therapy session at home. This will help with managing your depression and keeping it at bay!
Fish Oil Supplement
Fish Oil Supplements which have omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be beneficial for people with mild to moderate depression. Your brain needs Omega-3 fatty acids for proper functioning and since we know that depression has to do with the brain, I’m all about bolstering my brain power with some supplements!
I also take extra Vitamin D during the winter months since I don’t get a lot of sunshine naturally.
I’m not really sure why essential oils work, but I believe they do. I definitely was one to “jump on the bandwagon” when these first started becoming popular. I was in a deep depression and desperate to try anything to help! I didn’t bother with a lot of research but rather just started using these. Once I did, I definitely became a believer! I use Essentials Oils all the time now for a natural bug spray, when someone in my family is sick or when I’m having a bad day with depression or anxiety.
My top recommendations for Oils to use for Depression are Lavendar, Ylang Ylang, and Bergamot.
I also recently discovered that they have bracelets with lava stones which absorb essential oils. You can wear them and they act as a diffuser of the oils throughout your day. Brilliant!
Walking is my second form of therapy. I can get easily overwhelmed with obsessive thoughts and sometimes I just need to clear my head. I like to walk at a park outdoors where part of the trail is a nature trail. Walking is good for the heart and mind, but when you get outdoors in nature and sunshine, you really get some good healing going on!
I never was one to be into yoga or pilates. In fact, most of the time I prefer a more cardiovascular, calorie-burning workout. But after an injury this past year, I was limited to yoga for about a month. Afterward, I started doing Pilates for a more challenging workout. I can say that I now love both these types of workouts! I think its something about how much each helps you focus on your breathing. Yoga is great for when you’re stuck in a bout of do-nothingism and looking for an easy workout. Pilates helps give you a little more challenge without taxing your system too much. Make sure you get a good yoga mat!
This may seem silly, but Amazon Prime has been a huge help for me with managing my depression. My husband and I decided to try it out last year and we love it! For someone who doesn’t love to leave the house much – especially during the Holidays when there is all the drama of crowds, parking, and mall traffic – Amazon prime makes shopping so easy.
I order a lot of my Essential Oils and Supplements through Amazon because a lot of stores don’t carry what I use. I love that I get two-day shipping. It has made life so much easier. My husband and I can talk about someone’s upcoming birthday, order their gift on Amazon and have it in just two days!
I’m telling you, you won’t regret signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime.
One thing I’ve learned through doing cognitive behavioral therapy, is that more often than not, my thoughts are incorrect or false. I think things that just aren’t true. This is because depression gives you a skewed sense of reality and alters your thinking.
Because of this, it’s important that I always be filling my self with truth. My personal truth that I adhere to is God’s Word in the Bible. I love this little book a friend recommended to me – God’s Words of Life for Women. It has verses from God’s Word sorted by topic. So, when you’re feeling anxious, you can look up the topic “Anxiety” and it has verses from Scripture that speak to anxiety.
The book is rich with topics from grief and death to self-worth. It’s also small enough to carry in your purse so whenever you’re feeling down or depressed, you can look up and remind yourself of truth!
After a long day sitting in a desk chair in front of a computer, there is nothing more relaxing for me than sitting on a couch with a warm heating pad on my back. It helps to relax all my back and shoulder muscles – basically melting my stress away. This is especially nice during those cold months when you may deal with body aches or tightness due to stress or anxiety!
I love to burn candles in my home – especially since we have cats and things can get a bit, well, smelly. I particularly like the woodwick candles since they stimulate both your sense of hearing and smell. There is something very calming about sitting and watching (and listening to) a candle burn. It can make your home feel fresh as well as stimulate your senses so you feel revitalized.
There are specific aromatherapy candles that can help with mood and well-being. You can find ones from “Stress-relief” to “comfort” to “happiness”!
I’ve long wanted to try one of those weighted blankets that they say helps with anxiety and depression. But since I really like to be cool at night when I sleep, I’m just not sure I will like it. My alternative though, is a comfy sweatshirt with a hood. When I am feeling blue or need to feel safe – I put on a sweatshirt with a hood. Something about being wrapped and covered in fabric, my head buried underneath a hood makes me feel comforted and safe. There’s probably nothing magical about this, but if you’re feeling vulnerable or exposed, just grab your favorite hoodie!
Those are my top ten things to help with managing depression. What would you add to the list?
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