I know that I have not posted to my blog for a very long time. This summer we were out of the country for 3 months. I didn’t have the best internet access so I was rarely on social media. On top of everything else, I am pregnant and our baby is due in just 7 days! That has made it a bit harder for me to find the time to go online, especially since I was so sick during the first trimester. Lastly, it has been so hard to find time to sit down and write now that our youngest child is a very active 2 year old!
But a couple of weeks ago my husband sent me an email that looked like an article on depression. I started reading it thinking it was from someone else until I realized that I had written that story back in the days. I wrote it more so as a letter to myself to remember how to cope with depression if I ever was to find myself being depressed again.
I usually don’t talk about it, but for a stage in my life I went through a period of severe depression. As I learned to cope with it I started writing notes in my journal of what was helpful to get better. So this post is one of them. I am hoping that you may find it helpful if you are in that situation now or if you just seem to find yourself in situations where you feel really desperate and don’t know how to make yourself feel better even if just temporarily to make it through the day.
This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as tools and solutions for depression, but I know it can be a quick and immediate helping hand.
Sooo… Here are my 5 quick tips on how to cope with depression and depressive moments.
1. Do not go on SOCIAL MEDIA!!!
Most of us tend to only post pictures or update our status when we are experiencing moments of happiness in our life, seeing others experiencing momentary happiness is not conducive in fostering a sense of self-fulfillment.
2. Get moving.
Exercise. Get endorphins going and make your body feel better. Go for a swim. Run. Walk. Go outside and breathe some fresh air. Drive to the gym and be around people for a positive vibe. The ambience at the gym, the vibrant, and deafening music, can really lift your spirits!
3. Keep going, STAY busy.
Get going with your day. Do something. Anything! Whatever you choose to do, keep going.
I have found that oftentimes, if I wake up feeling down, my day gets a lot better once I get up and get going and continue with what I had set out to do. To avoid finding myself in depressive situations, I have learned to keep myself busy. Not just busyness, but to structure my days and create important things to do.
Planning my next day in advance also helps me to wake up with a purpose. I try not to over schedule and over plan. That will just cause frustration and feelings of inadequacy. Plus when we overschedule our lives we don’t enjoy the moments because we constantly feel the need to run off to do the next thing.
4. Learn to prioritize.
By this I mean including the most basic and the most important things to do everyday. From adequate sleep, to brushing your hair, grooming yourself properly, to eating your veggies and drinking enough water.
Our body, mind and spirit are in constant need of nourishment. Hunger for example is constant. Every couple of hours we need to replenish our bodies with food to fuel our energy. So don’t neglect your body of what it needs! Poor nutrition in the long run can cause vitamin deficiencies which can cause depression.
So when prioritizing, include those basic and most important things that should be done first and foremost everyday.
In addition to prioritizing your day, focus on creating daily tasks that will move you closer to accomplishing your dreams and goals (I will leave a deeper discussion on this subject for another article).
5. Distract yourself and keep your mind filled with encouraging and uplifting words.
Let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot of positivity going around. From songs that talk about “bad love” and how hard life is, to sad tv shows, to negative world events, etc. If we want to feel happier and more positive, we need to take a proactive step and find those positive and encouraging words that give us more hope and lift us up.
As you start with these steps you will find that these things will happen:
A. You will be so glad you kept going.
Your day will get better and you’ll see that Satan was trying to impede you from experiencing anything good out of your day. You will probably have some sort of positive experience that will make you realize how much God loves you and that there are good times ahead. Most of the time, that feeling will come from small little moments that will happen out of your day. Whenever I have ended up recognizing that, I often almost burst into tears with a sense of relief for feeling such joy, and also realizing how close I had come to give up and how much I would have regretted it if I actually did.
B. You will still have a so and so day but at least you kept going and kept trying.
You made it through the day. You kept going. You will grow confidence in yourself that you can pick yourself up and shake the dust off even when things are bad.
C. Those bad awful feelings you had will shake away and be forgotten or at least not feel as strong and painful.
And last of all, if you don’t seem to see any immediate results, and if it is hard to even get out of bed now, remember that we shape our thoughts and our actions now, for the future. If it is hard to get up now, if we get going eventually things will get better. A lot of what we do today, won’t show progress until months down the road.
We often need to rewire our brains and that takes time. 30 days create a new habit! So it takes time to stop our minds from sending those negative thoughts and vibes and learn how to think again.
Pain from depression is real. We can find hope in knowing that pain fades as we change, too. I once read that it takes 7 years for every single cell in our body to change. In that same way we need to be patient with ourselves as we change.
In the moment though, a lot of times a fresh walk and getting out of a situation helps because it helps us get distracted from focusing on those irrational and evil thoughts that are coming to our heads.
We also need to learn to recognize that the adversary will always try to take us down throughout our lives. At times it is Satan right at his work putting depressive and discouraging thoughts right in front of us. We can remember to pray for help during those times. And remember just like Elder Oaks said, that a lot of times the answers to our prayers don’t come while we are on our knees, but while we are out and about.
We do not need to stay in that dark place when we are depressed. Just like Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife, we can run away from our bedroom or our dark corner and go outside and flip the switch.