Depression is often a symptom of a mental health condition such as Bipolar, PTSD, or BPD for example.
But sometimes depression can be brought on by our environment, trauma we’ve experienced or just the simple stresses of everyday life.
If you’re suffering from depression because of your environment rather than it being biological, then it’s important that you know this does not make your depression any less valid.
Even though I have Bipolar and I always will have Bipolar, sometimes depending on my mood I can try practical methods to alleviate my depression and sadness. They don’t always work, but sometimes they do and if you’re suffering with depression too, then trying some of these methods could help you.
So here they are, my top 10 tips to help ease depression!
There is nothing better than nature therapy! Whether it’s a windy walk in fresh sea air, or a challenging trek up a mountain, you will always find peace in Nature. Nature has a way of showing true beauty and simplicity allowing us to really take in the wonderful way the world works. The trees, the wildlife, the fresh air, being in nature has a therapeutic quality. Even though sometimes it’s the last thing you probably feel like doing, if you can push through the sadness, try getting outside. Don’t let the rain put you off either, wrap up warm, get some wellies on and feel the rain on your face.
I love walking in nature, these are some of my favourite spots near where I live:
Music can be a great motivator and mood elevator! I listen to music when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m stressed, mad. There’s a song for every situation! Music speaks to the soul, and when yours is feeling a little bit broken playing your favourite tune can sometimes help put you back together again. Whatever your musical tastes, grab a pair of headphones, turn up the volume and escape for a while.
It might sound ridiculous but being kind to others really helps me feel better about myself. I’m naturally quite a giving person when I’m able to be, and often I find when I’m focused on doing things for other people I briefly forget about my own problems. There’s nothing quite like seeing you’ve made a positive impact to someone’s day, it’s infectious.
So if you can, do something kind.
Talking, whether it’s face to face or even online, can really help when you’re feeling helpless. You don’t even have to talk about your problems, though my mum always said that a problem shared is a problem halved and I agree. I spent years scared to open up about how I felt and it did me no good! Now if I feel crap, I’ll put it out there. If you just talk about it, I can guarantee you’ll find you’re not alone. The blogging community is a great place for starting conversations and I really don’t know what I’d do without the lovely words from fellow bloggers! So start a conversation today, whether it’s a tweet, or sitting with your best friend with a cuppa – don’t keep it inside, that’s when it becomes problematic!
This is pretty vague I know, but if you can find something, anything to distract you from negative thoughts then it can really help. My distraction is my children and I’m lucky in that respect because they do keep me going. Them being my main focus stops me from giving up, and no it doesn’t always work especially on the really bad days, but focusing on something other than my thoughts can usually alleviate my depression.
So whether it’s your kids, your job, reading, art, endlessly scrolling through memes or going to sit with your grandma for an hour – find a positive distraction!
Taking a bath or shower
A simple self care solution, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed. I actually don’t really like baths, I prefer taking a shower, but whatever floats your boat! Gather together some of your favourite pamper products, or a good book and indulge in some me time! My go to thing is to have a hot shower with my music blasting and having a good old sing song (Sorry, neighbours!).
I’m not allowed pets in my house because of my tenancy agreement, but I’ve always grown up around animals and for me being around animals cheers me up tenfold. Like kids, animals have this way of finding joy in the simplest of things, and the majority of animals will give you nothing but unconditional love. If I want cheering up then I’ll visit my sister, she has two french bulldogs and they’re always so happy to see me! Gorgeous aren’t they?!
If you don’t have animals, you can volunteer at a local shelter or farm – there’s always animal charities looking for volunteers.
It doesn’t have to be prize-worthy or poetic, just put pen to paper and write whatever comes to mind. They say music speaks when words can’t, but for me writings speaks the words I cannot say. So if there’s ever anything on my mind that I’m struggling to come to terms with I usually write about it. Start a blog, keep a journal, even if you just scribble notes on a the back of a napkin. Give your pain an outlet.
I know it’s not for everybody but if you can manage a bit of exercise, even if it’s nothing more than a gentle swim or a brisk walk, I promise you it will do you the world of good. I’m going to be touching on the benefits of exercise more when I speak to my virtual friend Dave Howlett, who along with his wife Barbara, is taking part in his 20th Ironman competition this year in Austria. Dave and Barbara exercise regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle and they are inspiration for me and many others. Here’s Dave combining nature therapy, animal therapy and exercise – all in one go!
When I’m having particularly bad spells of depression, I find making regular plans really helps me stay focused. I make sure I always have a plan for the next day, or something to aim for. Procrastinating can lead to overthinking which can lead to more negative thoughts – so I try to keep myself as busy as possible, and if I make regular plans even better, I know where I am and what I’m doing and it restores some calm in me.
So, there you have it – my ten most practical tips when dealing with depression. Sometimes though, these methods alone won’t be enough, so if you’ve tried all you can but you still feel sad then Id recommend you go see your doctor who can give you more help.
Love, Laura xo