7 Self-Care Tips to Help You to Recover From Depression
by Katie Pierce
The simplest things can feel draining when you’re living with depression. Even taking a bath or getting up in the morning can be a challenge.
Luckily, there are some ways to make coping with depression less of a battlefield for those who have the condition.
Here are 7 self-care tips to help you to recover from depression:
1. Look for ways to lessen stress
When under stress, the body creates higher levels of cortisol. While cortisol is a necessary hormone, when it’s created in excess, it can cause harmful side effects to the body.
Developing a self-care routine where stress reduction is addressed can help relieve symptoms of depression in patients.
A great way to lessen stress is to track your triggers and find ways to:
- Avoid them
- Control how you respond to them
For some people, this might be a difficult feat. This is why getting help from a professional — such as a therapist, psychiatrist or a qualified mental health coach — makes the task easier to achieve.
2. Eat the right food
What you eat can directly affect your mood. In fact, studies have shown that improving diet and nutrition can help improve the quality of life of patients with mental health conditions such as depression.
Enough of the “comfort foods.”
Comfort foods are typically high in trans fats, artificial sugars, and sodium.
Aim to consume more vegetables and fruits. Frozen, fresh, or even canned fruits are a great choice.
Just keep in mind that canned fruits and vegetables may also contain high amounts of sodium. It’s best to consume them in moderation, to avoid harmful consequences.
3. Question negative thoughts
Depression can cause a person to think up negative things. At times, it can feel impossible to overcome them.
Negative thoughts can be based on a number of things, from physical appearances, skin concerns, financial status, and many other factors.
Learning how to stop these negative thoughts can help improve your mood.
A type of therapy treatment, called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can help alter negative thinking patterns, which helps control — and even eliminate — depression.
4. Improve sleeping habits
According to a 2014 study, researchers found that around 80% of people with depression also experience sleep disturbances.
Since sleep and mood are intimately related, it’s important for patients with depression to develop a healthy sleeping habits.
The trouble is that most people with depression find it difficult to fall asleep.
A few things that may help:
- Turn off all electronics in the bedroom
- Make sure the temperature in the bedroom is comfortable
- Dim the lights or turn them off completely
- Get blackout curtains to prevent the lights from outside to trickle in
- Avoid doing other things in bed other than sleep (and intercourse)
Establishing better routines is key to managing depression and sleep problems.
5. Track your period (if you are a woman)
Some women experience a menstrual disorder called PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
Its symptoms are quite similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS); however, they’re much more serious.
Women with PMDD experience severe depression, anxiety, and irritability that appear a week or two before their period starts.
These symptoms typically go away after a few days (2 to 3) after a woman’s period starts.
If you experience PMDD, self-care during your period is important.
This will help you manage your symptoms much better and prevent you from acting out on others.
6. Build a strong support network
A large part of self-care is knowing when you need help and being able to admit it.
For some people, they might find it difficult to open up to others. However, having a support network is essential for those with depressive disorders.
You can get support from friends and family — but there are other options, such as joining group therapy sessions or private therapy treatment.
Depression is a battle that you don’t fight alone. Find people who can lend you a hand and keep you studying while you work to get better.
7. Develop a hobby
Exploring your interests is a good way to distract yourself from the heaviness and hopelessness that you feel.
It also gives you an outlet to express your innermost thoughts and emotions.
Have you always wanted to join an art class? Or perhaps you’ve been itching to try out Yoga?
Finding an activity that can help you lighten your mood can help you effectively to lessen your symptoms.
The bottom line
Depression is not a pleasant foe.
However, having a strong support system as well as a healthy self-care routine can help make the experience a little easier to bear.
Keep in mind that maintaining a self-care routine won’t be easy. There will be days that you’ll feel like you’re slipping back into old habits and losing control.
The important thing is that you don’t give up on yourself.
Stay consistent and dedicated. Seek help when the going gets tough.
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.