Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being
1. Meet yourself where you are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
The key to self-treatment for depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what you’re going through.
2. Know that today isn’t indicative of tomorrow
Today’s mood, emotions, or thoughts don’t belong to tomorrow.
If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you haven’t lost tomorrow’s opportunity to try again.
Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrow’s fresh start.
3. Do the opposite of what the ‘depression voice’ suggests
The negative, irrational voice in your head may talk you out of self-help. However, if you can learn to recognize it, you can learn to replace it. Use logic as a weapon. Address each thought individually as it occurs.
If you believe an event won’t be fun or worth your time, say to yourself, “You might be right, but it’ll be better than just sitting here another night.” You may soon see the negative isn’t always realistic.
4. Set attainable goals
A lengthy to-do list may be so weighty that you’d rather do nothing. Instead of compiling a long list of tasks, consider setting one or two smaller goals.
When you’ve done a small thing, set your eyes on another small thing, and then another. This way, you have a list of tangible achievements and not an untouched to-do list.
5. Reward your efforts
All goals are worthy of recognition, and all successes are worthy of celebration. When you achieve a goal, do your best to recognize it.
You may not feel like celebrating with a cake and confetti, but recognizing your own successes can be a very powerful weapon against depression’s negative weight.
The memory of a job well-done may be especially powerful against negative talk and overgeneralization.
6. Spend time in nature
Mother Nature can have a powerful influence on depression. Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost.
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
7. Do something you enjoy…
Depression can push you to give in to your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love — something that’s relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
8. Listen to music.
Research shows music can be a great way to boost your mood and improve symptoms of depression. It may also help you strengthen your reception of positive emotions.
Music may be especially beneficial when performed in group settings, such as a musical ensemble or band.
You can also reap some of the same rewards simply by listening.