It can be quite difficult practicing self care when depressed as we often forget to take care of ourselves when feeling this way. This new wave of “self care” has been great for me, especially as a therapist, I am using it to my advantage.
I have written blogs before to help you get stuff done when depressed and how to help others with depression but I have not covered things you can do to put yourself in a better place mentally when YOU are having a tough time.
Like many of you I have lost the motivation to do even the basics of things at home or in life when my moods are low or when I am overwhelmed. However, when I practice self care by participating in many different activities, my stress lowers and my mood gets better.
This is why I thought it would be beneficial to list 10 tips for practicing self care when depressed so that you too can lower your stress, get rid of anxiety and fight off depression symptoms.
Tip 1- Set Aside Time
A common thought is that those with depression have a lot of free time, this is not always true. In fact, professionally, I work with many individuals that have full time jobs or are full time students and diagnosed with depression or some type of a depressive disorder.
In order for self care to be done, you must set aside time each day to ensure that you are able to do what you need to do. When you set a time (or appointment if you will) for yourself you are more likely to do an activity.
Sometimes I plan to do nothing for 30 minutes. I lay on my home office floor and simply be or I meditate. I stand up clear headed and ready to start life again.
Tip 2- Make It Convenient
As with everything else if we do not make our self care activity convenient it will not happen! I noticed that the activities I do the most are the ones that are the easiest for me to do. Most people participate in activities that are easy to do and have the most benefit.
Choose activities that are fun, can be done in bed, can be done in the home, can be done without money etc. These activities should be universal so that they can be used any day at any time!
Tip 3- Know What Works
Do not do what others are doing because it works for them, do what works for you. My best friend and I are very similar to one another however I do not do the exact same activities she does to practice self care. She loves meditation and channeling her spiritual side to channel positive energy. Whereas I love yoga, exercise, and writing (as though you couldn’t tell that!).
If you’re in touch with your spiritual and holistic side too, check out her blog Peace Love Enlightenment for freebies and spiritual guidance.
Tip 4- Be Consistent
The easier it is to do self care, the more consistent you will be. For example each day I do 20-30 minutes of guided yoga and I walk my neighborhood for at least 30 minutes. There are times that I do more or less intensity workouts,however I consistently walk and do yoga. It is great stress relief and an excellent way to clear the mind!
Tip 5- Have Diversity
If you notice I did not mention just one self care activity for you to do, I mentioned multiple. I have one activity I go to when at home, another at work, another when alone, another when with friends, in public and the list goes one.
Be sure when identifying activities for self care you identify activities to do in any environment and to be sure you are re-energized mentally, physically and spiritually.
Tip 6- Social Support
Self care can be done when in the midst of those you love and whom love you! Simply venting to a friend or spouse can relieve stress and anxiety within minutes. You will also be surprised at how supportive people can be when they know what you need.
Be sure your social support knows when you need to vent, need a distract or genuinely need help. If your anxiety keeps you from doing so, use my anxiety workbook to decrease your anxiety and practice self care in the best way.
Tip 7- Fresh Air Is A Must
Go outside! Fresh air will decrease depression and anxiety symptoms by allowing an abundance of oxygen to go through the blood and to the brain. For those with anxiety you understand how important this can be to improve your mood and relax the mind.
It is so often that I am told that panic attacks feel like you cannot catch your breath or that something “more serious” is happening within your body and all you want to do is…breathe. Don’t take for granted how beneficial it could be to go out, soak in some Vitamin D, and see greenery.
Tip 8- Catch Some Z’s
Sleep improves your psychological health, physical health and immune system. Sleep helps to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, improve your mood and um…it’s relaxing! There are so many benefits to having a proper sleep structure to include ensuring you obtain the 6-8 hours a night that is needed to not only function but excel each day.
Tip 9- Eat!
I have been horrible about eating, like seriously I could survive on coffee alone! However, I realized that I was often dehydrated, cranky and had frequent headaches.
The easiest way to remember each is to structure your day. Be sure to take a lunch break and have dinner at your dining room table (or in the living room because who doesn’t ) and give yourself the time and energy you so easily give others!
Tip 10- Plan For Worst Hope For Best
Yes, you read that correctly! If your depression has put you in a place before where you end up stuck in the bed for days or not practicing the best of hygiene, plan for that! I have a friend who plugs her phone in on the other side of the room and tells me to call or text her to be sure she “wakes on time”.
It took years for me to learn that I was the person who got her up each day to ensure she did what she needed to do for herself. Moral is: you do not have to tell everyone what is going on for them to support you in the best way!
I am sure these tips will help you as they have helped many others, me included!
Be sure to check out my free resources for depression management, anxiety management and stress management. Be sure to use these tips when practicing self care when depressed.
As always, I am here to help!
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