- Reach out
Do your best not to isolate. If I’m feeling low, instead of hiding, I come out of my room. Even though I am mostly housebound due to epilepsy (no driving), every day I reach out somehow – via social media, text, through an online forum, in some form I connect with someone. It’s not to talk about depression, it’s simply with the purpose of connecting to another human being, even if that person is a stranger. It reminds me that I am not alone.
- Play music – the uplifting, happy kind
Have songs that you associate with good memories? Music that makes you want to dance? Let it bring you out of your funk.
I used to make the mistake of playing very soothing, meditative music during depressive moods – for me, it only encouraged me to sit still even longer.
Sitting still = ick. Just keeps me down. Shaking my butt makes me happy.
I have found that music that I enjoyed when I was normally in a better state helped me more, so long as it wasn’t agitating. I’ve created a couple different playlists that I can choose from, depending on what kind of down I’m in.
- Come out of the dark
As painful as it is when all you want to do is sleep the day away, when I’m feeling particularly glum I make a point of opening all the blinds during the day and letting in as much daylight as possible. Even if I do go back to bed I leave them open, then close them again in the evening before bedtime. Even better – go for a walk.
- Change your clothes
Ok, ok, before you stop reading – hear me out. This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. When I say, “change your clothes”, it can mean from one set of yoga pants to another set of yoga pants. It is the action of changing clothes from what you slept in the night before into another set of clothes that matters, even if you sleep in those clothes, too.
It helps keep track of day and night, and again, for someone who is going through a depressive episode, feels like a major accomplishment, going a long way towards feeling like a human being.
- Make a self-care kit in advance – then use it
Stocked with body and facial wipes, dry shampoo, nicely-scented moisturizing lotion, a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash, deodorant, and fingernail clippers.
You could also put in nail files, cotton balls, nail polish remover, and nail polish that you would like to wear. When the time comes where you are just too tired even get out of bed, a little self-care will go a long way.
Wash your face, wash your hands, wash your body. Moisturize your elbows and your knees with the lotion. Dry shampoo works wonders, use it and your fingers to comb the neglect away.
It’s amazing what just a tiny bit of self-care can do for your mood and how you feel about yourself. Not just your appearance, but in knowing that you did something that day, and that something was something for YOU.
While depression may not go away, it does have it’s ups and downs. As silly as it may seem, a little planning ahead can help yourself when you aren’t up to it.