For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a dark cloud that seemed to linger over my head. Once I realized that cloud was actually depression, I started to look for ways to get rid of it. While there’s technically no cure for depression, there are many ways to fight it and learn to live with it. Everyone is different so these may not work for you, but here’s what brought me peace.
I sought professional help.
After I realized that what I was going through was common, I reached out to my doctor. He prescribed me an anti-depressant and I immediately started noticing a change. Medication helped, but I knew it wasn’t a cure. At first I was a little skeptical, but I decided to see a therapist. Discovering that I was able to talk to someone without being judged while receiving professional advice was one of the best moments. I learned almost all of my tips from my therapist and continued to apply them on a daily basis.
I started filling my time more wisely.
I often found myself aimlessly scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV shows in my free time. During these periods of “wasted time,” my mind would start to wander and soon begin racing out of control. I quickly replaced Netflix with books, couch time with exercise, and music with podcasts. My mood improved drastically and I began having less and less depression-like episodes.
I adopted a strict daily routine.
One of the easiest ways to avoid any mental health flare up is to simply create a strict routine. Having a routine to follow gives a sense of motivation, accomplishment, and something to look forward to every day. My biggest change came when I put my body on a healthy sleeping and morning routine.
I created an “affirmation jar” to boost my self-esteem.
I filled a mason jar with countless affirmations such as, “I am beautiful,” “I am talented,” and “I am loved.” Each morning, I picked out an affirmation at random and repeated that affirmation to myself throughout the day. Self-confidence is a major key when battling depression, and this helped me realize my worth. The more you understand your worth, the more you begin to love yourself. Eventually, I started doubting the negative thoughts depression liked to tell me.
I traded my negative thoughts for positive ones.
The quickest way to a negative mind is through a negative thought. Whenever I was feeling dark and gloomy, I realized my thoughts were an exact reflection. To avoid this mindset altogether, I decided to counteract every negative thought with two positive thoughts. Not only was this allowing me to delete the negative thought, but allowing me to then view the thought in a positive manner.
Working out became my saving grace.
When you work out, your body releases a burst of hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s way of dealing with pain and they actually lead your mind to reach a euphoric state. Releasing endorphins on a daily basis made me feel good on the outside, but even better on the inside. Watching my body physically transform became almost like an obsession, putting depression on the back-burner.
I learned to force myself to get up and out of bed.
Whenever my thoughts began to manifest and my depression screamed at me to stay in bed, I forced myself up. If I was having trouble getting up in the morning, I forced myself to the shower. Whenever I was struggling to make it to work or the gym, I forced myself. I forced any bad vibes and uncertainty out of my head. It’s a lot easier said than done, but some days all it takes is to get yourself moving.
I poured my thoughts and emotions out on paper.
One thing I’ve always known for sure is that I love to write. Whenever I’m upset, I write my feelings down. Whenever I’m happy, I write my feelings down. Doing so makes writing a consistent variable, allowing me to vent and reflect. Even if you’re not a natural-born-writer like myself, simply journaling your thoughts in a time of depression an improve your mental state.
Although my pen and paper listened quite well, I learned my friends and family listened even better.
I’ve always been one to suppress my emotions and hide any feelings I had, simply because I thought expressing them made me look weak. What I failed to realize was that I was actually making myself become weak. I learned my friends and family were there for a reason, they were my ultimate fan club. Whenever I feel a certain way, I opened up to my support system. They know me way better than I thought and offered me so much more perspective and encouragement than I could offer myself.
At the end of the day, I kept my best interest at the top of the list.
I learned that it’s ok to be selfish. It’s ok to remove bad influences from your life, even if they are close friends. It’s ok to cancel on a party if you’d rather stay in. If someone or something doesn’t serve your best interest, let it go. I no longer sought to please someone before myself, and made sure I was offering myself the life I deserved. Once I started looking out for myself and protecting my mind, I found genuine happiness. Depression flare-ups still come and go, but utilizing my methods keep episodes to a minimum.