4 Tips on How to Manage Depression
Depression is a mental disorder that affects millions of people. It has been estimated that about 6.7% of adults in the United States have experienced at least one depressive episode in 2016. We often know the typical symptoms, low mood, insomnia, crying spells, and low motivation. It seems that we are experiencing these symptoms, all we can do is sit in front of the TV and binge Netflix series over and over again. Depression makes doing simple things difficult or almost impossible and we have no desire to even engage in activities we used to previously enjoy. It is one of the tell-tale signs of a depressive episode. Depression often becomes a vicious cycle causing us to avoid, isolate, talk down to ourselves, and feel hopeless the more we are unable to complete activities. Here are some tools to aid you in finding your motivation and drive once more:
1. Accept these negative feelings. Don’t attempt to fight them as it might make you feel worse in the long run. It’s ok to feel negative emotions and it’s ok to not feel motivated every single day. It is unrealistic to believe that. Realize that you do not need to feel motivated to complete an activity. More often than not it is simply just sticking to your word. I know that sounds easier said than done, let's continue!
2. Create small attainable goals. You have to find your buy-in. If before depression you ran half marathons, you can’t expect that you will begin there after laying on the sofa for a few months. Remember that it requires training, first we begin running for 1 mile, then 2, then 3 and so on until we reach a half marathon. It is almost important to remember that you must take your time, tackle one task at a time so you do not feel overwhelmed by your goals. Break it apart into smaller digestible pieces. Take your time.
3. Treat Yo’ Self. The famous “Parks and Recreation” line has become a staple in many offices, schools, and homes everywhere. Once you complete tasks, get through a hard day, have a difficult dinner with your in-laws, you reward yourself! You get yourself some chocolate, a glass of wine, you go out to dinner with your girls or partner, you take a hot bubble bath. Whatever the reward looks like for you, take it! Dealing with low motivation is difficult and you deserve the treat!
4. Enhancing your positive mindset. Whether this looks like negative self-talk or dealing with someone who leaves you drained, make sure you’re taking time to speak positively about yourself. Depression feeds off the cycle of negativity therefore keeping you in the loop endlessly. Find positivity in the things you are good at, cooking, knitting, fixing up your car. Remember to speak kindly to yourself, a simple way is creating affirmations you can read or state to yourself daily and begin putting stops in the cycle.
While this list is short, it is helpful to keep this in mind while working through
and low motivation. It helps to continue working with therapist to process and understand deeper your symptoms and help you in using those tools to break your depressive cycle.