So you’re doing okay, cruising right along. Suddenly you realize that you’re slipping into a depressive episode. Once that depressive state starts to hover over you like a dark cloud, remind yourself that it’s only temporary. You will get out of it.
It’s so much like a rollercoaster ride that it can make you physically ill as well.
Here are six helpful tips to get you through on not just a daily basis, but an hourly basis. Don’t look too far ahead too often — that can be overwhelming.
1. Art therapy.
Put on your favorite upbeat, happy music and dance the day away if you need to. Draw or paint. Sculpt with clay. These can help to give you a physical release of tensions built up inside you.
2. Pet your pet.
Give love to a pet that you already have. Just petting your dog or cat or bunny or whatever you have also gives that “release” feeling and takes away feelings of depression and sadness.
If you don’t have a pet, try to pick yourself up and get yourself to a pet store or an animal shelter. And while you’re petting your animal, talk to him or her. The loyalty of a good pet is irreplaceable.
3. Light therapy.
Do you seem to become depressed in the winter? When we have less light, we are cut short of vitamin D, according to MayoClinic.com and WebMD.com. Besides our feel-good brain receptors, vitamin D also aids in bone health, kidney function and osteoporosis.
If you notice this deficiency, talk to your doctor about a lightbox. This is not a tanning lamp, so there’s no risk of skin cancers. Most of the time, as long as it is prescribed by medical doctor, insurance will pay for it. If not, you can still purchase one from a medical supply store. They run around $200.
4. Physical activity.
Get up, throw on some sweats or shorts and go for a walk. The fresh air and the sounds and sights of nature are a natural pick-me-up.
If this seems difficult when you’re depressed, start a small routine of even one thing when you’re feeling well. Start going for a walk in a specific area at a specific time every day. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll actually start to feel good.
5. Have a sanity buddy.
If you have at least one person to turn to when you need and want to, that’s good enough. Let them know that you’re not yourself. Educate them a little on the goings-on of depression and they’ll better understand when you either need space or checking up on, a shoulder to cry on or someone to rip you out of your shell for a short time.
6. Make a happy list.
Start small: favorite colors, places you’d love to visit. Pictures of your favorite place in the world can be on your happy list. That’s the whole concept of a happy list: stuff that makes you feel happy, makes you laugh, or just makes you feel good.
Use all of your senses for this exercise. List as many and as much as your heart desires. I guarantee that by the end of your list, you’ll be either smiling or just all around feeling better if even for a little bit. Do a happy list whenever you wish, add to it, or remake a new one any time.