How to Manage Depression: 5 Tips that Work
I’ve been offline for a few months dealing with some life issues. I am back now and I wanted to share some things I’ve learned through my journey with depression.
Depression can get a grip on you that can be difficult to let go of. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re like most people, myself included, you’ve probably suffered from depression at some point in life. Whether due to a job loss, health loss, relationship loss, pet loss, financial set back or any number of reasons, depression can affect every area of your life; leaving you hopeless, sad, frustrated and exhausted… just to say the least.
I wanted to share with you some of my personal tips for dealing with depression. Some of these tips may seem obvious to you and others not so obvious. This list is not a substitute for professional help. If you need mental health assistance, contact an appropriate provider right away. If you are unsure where to get help, check out the National Institute of Health website.
In no particular order, here are some of my best tips:
- Call on your support system
Now is the time to call in your support system. People that lift you up and put a smile on your face are the people you should be surrounding yourself with. Whether friends or family, remember that there are people who love you and want to support you. All you have to do is ask and/or accept offers of support. One of my dearest friends, Linda, recognized I was in a bad place and insisted on coming over to my home almost daily to help me pack when I was in the process of moving.
The thought of packing and moving was so overwhelming to me that she insisted on being there with me through it all. Fortunately, her employer was flexible with her schedule and allowed her time to help me. If it weren’t for her, I would still be staring at the walls!!!
Two other dear friends, Rose and Beckey, took me out and we shared a great meal and wine. Wine helps everything… almost! Beckey also got me out of the house and to a concert. It’s little things like this that made a huge difference in my life. Another friend of mine, Cindy, scheduled a burger and house looking day for us. Another friend, Barb, also helped me by taking me out to dinner and just listening to what was going on for me at the time.
During these times when we want to go out least and all we want to do is stay home curled up in bed is when we need to get out of the house or at least connect with your support system. Part of a support system can include professional therapy. It has helped me in the past, so if you need professional help, check out Pretty Padded Room, a web site that was featured on “Shark Tank,” that offers professional counseling online or contact a trusted mental health provider in your area.
It can be challenging for family or friends to understand how you are feeling; particularly if they’ve never felt depressed before. Share how you are feeling with family and let them know the feelings you are experiencing. It will help you release some of these feelings and it will help them better understand where you are coming from and why you are (or aren’t) doing the things you are doing. This certainly helped my family.
- Affirmations, Guided Imagery, Hypnotherapy
Affirmations, guided imagery and hypnosis are some of the BEST ways to help conquer depression and associated overwhelm. As a coach, I have developed over 400 affirmations and several guided imagery CD’s to help clients (and myself) over the years. You can pick these up here. Kelly Howell has some of the best recordings to help with a variety of life issues. Check out her CD’s here.
Because the subconscious mind is ready with all the messages you give it, one of the best ways to get the most out of this is to record affirmations or meditations in your own voice and listen to them before going to sleep.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I have trouble getting to sleep. This is one strategy I use that really, really helps me go to sleep, stay asleep and feel better. Our minds are most receptive five minutes before we go to sleep. Make these five minutes count!!
- Aromatherapy/Essential Oils
I have found aromatherapy to be one of the best external methods of dealing with depression. Aromatherapy extracts the healing properties from the plant so that it can be used in its most concentrated form. These are known as essential oils. My favorites are lemongrass, lemon, peppermint and lavender. You can apply essential oils directly under your nose or you can dilute 3-5 drops in a bowl of cold water and pour directly on your scalp. There are other oils and other places to put oils that are effective. The quality of oils you get are important. The ‘best’ in my opinion are Young Living Essential Oils. They are the most expensive but they are the best. Rocky Mountain Oils are also excellent. You can get good quality oils at some health food stores or stores like Whole Foods. There is a lot you can learn about essential oils and its vast health benefits.
- Gratitude Journal and Journaling
If you are someone who likes to write/journal, you can write down your feelings and release it all onto paper. This can be very therapeutic. One thing I recommend doing is including in your writing practice is 1-3 things you are grateful for. Writing down and affirming a few things you are grateful for each day lifts your vibration and helps you attract more things to be grateful for. Check out an article I wrote on the importance of a gratitude practice here.
5. Happy Kit
One of my friends and colleagues, Sylvia Coleman, advocates for a happy kit. This includes keeping a box of things that put a smile on your face. She recommends things like: your favorite comedies, favorite songs, a PRE-PAID gift certificate for a massage, aromatherapy. When you’re deep into a depressive episode, it’s hard to think of ALL of the things that make you happy. However, it’s much easier to remember a designated place like your Happy Kit box to go to when you’re down. Also, by pre-paying for a massage gift certificate you eliminate any financial excuses not to get it when you’re down. For more info on how to put one together, check out Sylvia’s article here.
While there is a distinct difference between being in a bad mood and being depressed, music is a universal language and can really help turn your mood around. Check out my article on 169 songs to put you in a good mood here. My clients love this list and have used it to help turn around a bad mood or sad time in their life.
One last bonus tip: Vitamin D3. One of my dearest friends, Mark, suffered from depression for decades and swears by 5,000 – 6,000 units of this vitamin a day. I use this myself and indeed have seen a difference in my overall well-being. Caveat: I am not a medical doctor!
My last bonus tip is exercise! Even walking 30 minutes a day several days a week makes a difference in your health. There are tremendous health benefits from exercise. We recently lost our beloved canine family member, Colonel, and I find walking with our other dog, Roxy, helps both of us:-)
Regardless of what you have gone through, remember that the challenges you face in life do not come to destroy you, but to show you what you’re made of and just how strong you really are! No matter how bad things may seem, there is always tomorrow and every situation is temporary.
YOUR TURN: Do you have a personal tip for dealing with depression? Which of the tips above resonates with you most and why? Please share in the comment section below.