Healthy and Effective Ways to Deal with Depression

Depression is a nasty thing, and it will take over your life if you allow it. I’m not just referring to clinical depression, but also the depressed moods that we all experience occasionally. Despite feeling helpless and overwhelmed, there are ways that you can fight depression — you do have a say in what takes place in your mind! Admittedly, it is much more difficult to find the will and energy to do so when you are in its grips, but there are steps you can take that will help keep the situation from getting worse. 

Stay active.  Even a person who is not feeling depressed feels rotten after a day of lying around in their pajamas. Small, productive steps are better than none at all. Take a shower and get dressed, even if you don’t have any place to be. Take a walk up the block or tackle a small cleaning task. Sit at a coffee shop for a few hours with a book rather than staying curled up alone at home.

Avoid isolation. Part of what feeds a depressed mood is pessimistic thinking, which is much more likely to take place if we are spending a lot of time alone. When our thoughts are tainted by depression, our minds can take us to very dark places that are often irrational and unfair: I can’t do anything right or No one really cares about me.  Depression thrives on these sorts of thoughts, so it wise to challenge them and keep your thinking fair: I’ve made some mistakes, but I have also had successes. Being around other people can serve as a distraction from the negative self focus, and keep us from feeling trapped inside ourselves.

Talk about it!  It’s essential to talk to friends and family, or even a counselor, about what you are going through so that they can help support you when you need it the most. You are NOT a burden by talking to someone about what you are struggling with; people like being able to help one another! Sharing your thoughts with another person can help you stay grounded in reality instead of getting lost in a downward spiral.

Above all, bear in mind that you will not feel like doing any of these things. You will feel like only doing things that will actually maintain your depression, and thus make you feel even worse.  It is a vicious cycle, and it takes making intentionally healthy choices to help yourself get out of it.  If depression is something that you struggle with more often than not, do not hesitate to speak with a professional to help you out of the pit. Please remember that you are not alone in this battle!

Jayna Pyke, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor