Everywhere you look you see the evidence of spring. The days are getting longer, there are intermittent sun breaks, and the flowers are budding. Somehow you think your depression should be lifted by now; yet you still feel crummy. When you're feeling low, chances are you'd want to watch 5 hours of Netflix, eat a gallon of ice cream and crawl into bed. It is very counter-intuitive to leave the house, go for a walk, soak up some sun, or call up a friend.
And, that's exactly what is going to help you get through that funk! If you wait until you feel better before doing something, it might never happen! And even if it does happen, it'll be sporadic and very mood-dependent.
Here are 5 tips for managing your depression outside of the therapy room:
- Get some physical activity. I'm not talking exercise, because when I say exercise, people think of the gym. Go for a walk, do yoga, shoot some hoops. Any activity that gets your body moving is better than no activity at all.
- Go do something you enjoy! Is it strolling the farmer's market, picking up your guitar, or watching a funny movie? Pleasurable activities disrupt the cycle of depression and rumination.
- Choose healthy food options. Eat even when you don't have the appetite and slow down your eating if you have a tendency to overeat. Food is fuel, so what you eat and how much you eat matters.
- Bathe in the sun. Sun exposure will help your brain release the hormone serotonin, which is a natural mood enhancer.
- Have a regular waking and sleeping schedule. Get the optimal amount of sleep that's needed for your body. When you're tempted to nap, transition to a less sedentary activity.