Depression doesn’t choose a day to visit then swiftly decide never to leave. Instead, it worms its way into your daily life through mundane activities. These activities are typically the hustle and bustle of adult responsibilities.
You can’t stay away from your adult duties, but you can be more mindful in completing them. Developing a healthy self-care routine will help you battle your depression.
Many things significantly influence your mood. For example, your diet, relationship to nature, and exercise regime all play a profound role in your state of mind.
Here are 7 tips to get you started on a healthy self-care routine that will help you overcome depression.
1. Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep can influence your mood more dramatically than anything else. Each person requires a different amount of rest, though. Experiment and find the number of hours per night that works best for you.
Help stabilize your circadian rhythm by developing a bedtime routine. In addition, do your best to get up at the same time each day so you don’t throw off that rhythm. It’s not always going to be possible to follow these guidelines, but strides in the right direction will be immediately noticeable.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
Depression can cause you to either eat too much or too little. Be aware of how your appetite responds to your different moods. You’ll need to adjust your diet according to your moods.
Try to stay clear of highly processed or sugary foods as they are related to intense mood swings due to not maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Eat “real food” – not food coming from a box or a bag. Two good ways to experiment with this are 1) Asking yourself – “Was this part of my grandparent’s diet when they were a kid?” 2) Try to buy food from the outside perimeter of the supermarket. When the seasons permit – try checking out your farmer’s market or local farmer. Remember to drink plenty of water, too.
3. Get Sufficient Sunlight
Limited natural light has been linked to depression. Help defeat this in your own life by soaking up the sun. To maintain a healthy Vitamin D level, try to get outside everyday. Personally, I love hiking or taking a walk in my neighborhood. Even if it is in the middle of winter!
4. Schedule Time for Yourself
You schedule time for other people, grocery shopping, and household chores. Why not set aside time for yourself? To some, this may seem like a selfish idea. In reality, making time to regroup and focus will allow you to be more efficient in all your activities.
Aside from efficiency, happiness has also been an outcome of self-time. This time could be spent doing something that you like. It may be gardening, meditation, painting your nails, or tinkering in the tool shed. You decide then put it on the calendar and stick to it!
Good blood circulation does wonders for your body and mind. Exercise invigorates your senses and pumps oxygen-rich blood to your organs and releases those positive endorphins. It’s an excellent distraction from negative thoughts that feed into depression.
Your exercise regime could be a brisk walk, a 5-mile run, or a yoga session. So long as you’re moving, you’re accomplishing this goal.
6. Reconnect with Nature
Whether you are an avid outdoorsman or not, there is a rejuvenating power in nature. You can experience this by venturing into the great outdoors if you’d like. Another option is to bring elements of nature to you indoors.
Hiking or trail-blazing may not your idea of enjoying nature. If this is the case, try adopting a houseplant. Succulents are easy keepers, and still provide the powerful effect of nature.
Although this may be last on your priority list, it still ranks high in the armory against depression. Being with people is not only an excellent distraction, it can help you put your thoughts into perspective.
Much like a mustang runs wild, negative thoughts can blaze a destructive trail if left unchecked. Socializing provides a checks and balance system that your mind naturally needs.
Developing a more effective self-care routine can be a challenge. A professional can help you strategize a plan to care for yourself more effectively while overcoming depression.
My counseling approach involves integrating different modes of intervention to create change. We will work together according to your personal needs and level of comfort. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about my approach, please contact me.
To find out more about my services click here: Depression Therapy.
Suzi Sena, EdS, LPC provides individual, couple, and career counseling to clients of Connecticut Integrative Counseling, LLC.