Depression gets the better of an overwhelming number of people. For example, here in New Zealand more than half a million adults have been diagnosed with depression at some stage during their lives (Mentalhealthfoundation). This statistic doesn’t even represent all of the people who suffer, as many go undiagnosed and battle their whole life without help. I am blown away by the number of people living with this incomprehensible mental illness and I know for sure this is a reflection of today’s society, and the pressure that is so unnaturally engrained in our way of living.
The good news is we can overcome this illness, to a certain extent. Overcoming depression and learning to live with it takes some pretty powerful mental energy. Outlined below are a few tips and tricks to try when you’re in the midst of a bad day. I know we all struggle from depression a little differently but I hope the points below help you in some way, as they have done for me in the past.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a mental health expert, I am simply giving advice based on my own personal experiences.
1. Make a scrap-book:
I know this sounds kind of childish or like something your Mum would do but I really valued doing this when I was feeling sad, missing the past and missing my old self. Spending time making pretty cut outs, using fun colours and gluing stuff doesn’t require a lot of mental energy and can be a nice break from your thoughts.
- Start by collecting a few photos off your computer that you think will make for a fun and interesting scrap-book and then head on down to your local photo shop and print a bunch of photos!
- Stuck on what to include in your scrap-book? Maybe, you could print off some photos from your high school days and make a high school theme? Or, maybe one from your University days or, your favourite holiday? Any topic you pick will give you an appreciation for the glorious memories you have enjoyed. As you reflect on your past don’t be surprised if you shed a few tears.
- It is completely okay to cry. To be honest I encourage you to do so! You will feel a whole lot better.
It may feel counter productive to look at the past. But, hopefully it will help you to feel grateful for the important people and experiences in your life and also help you to feel encouraged and look forward to the next memories you can make.
But, please don’t put pressure on yourself to complete the scrap-book. Even doing half a page or sticking one photo to paper is enough.
2. Go to a water source.
Head down to the beach, river or lake if possible. There is nothing more refreshing than being near a water source. The soothing noise of the water flowing or waves crashing next to the shore will help you to feel refreshed, free and will open up a lot of space around you.
- Sit there a while and try your best to breathe, be sad and think. Be thankful for yourself and appreciate that you have explored outside of the house, even if you don’t particularly enjoy it.
- Sit a while and think about the incredible way water regenerates and renews. You too can be just like the water in the way you can renew and heal. But, this takes time so please be patient.
3. Ring a loved one.
This is one of the best way to feel loved, supported and cherished. It is okay if you don’t talk to your loved one about how you are feeling, simply talking to them is enough. You have some immensely important people in your life and reaching out for a quick hello will give you the much-needed support you need.
- If you live in the same place as a loved one I really urge you to go and visit them and just hang out. If you can’t open up and be sad and tell them your struggles at least you are taking some time to be in the company of another person.
- Tip: I find going to see someone older than me like an Aunty or, grandparent or, even a neighbour and starting a conversation with them about their life and experiences really helps me to feel grateful for being young, and having the opportunity to make memories that one day I can re-tell.
I know sometimes it’s hard to want to talk to other people but once you do, you will feel better, even for a moment or two.
If you’re suffering from depression and are afraid to go on medication I can not stress enough how beneficial it can be. You may feel weird and out of sync for a while but soon it will get better and you will be able to feel capable of reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, there are some risks involved but to make this process as smooth as possible you will need to keep in regular contact with your doctor and talk to your family and friends.
I really hope these tips serve you in some way. Please let me know if you are needing any more tips or an ear to listen. I am here for absolutely anyone who wants to reach out if you can’t reach out to your family and friends. Sometimes a stranger is easier to talk to.
P.s. Let me know if you have any tips you would like to share to help others in their recovery? Maybe together we can create the ultimate list!
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