Depression is a monster that I struggle with everyday…but I fight hard to not let it overcome me! God has been teaching me little ways to gain some relief from that horrible feeling of being stuck in a pit.
I know that not every person who battles depression experiences it in the same way, or fights it in the same way. But I wanted to share these ideas that are borne from my daily struggle – with the hope that they will be able to help others, as well.
So if you battle with this monster, read on! Here is a list of ten ways that can ease depression.
- Give thanks for the little things. This is something that God has really been impressing on me. When you’re depressed, it’s so easy to focus on the negative. But when you change your perspective and start looking for things to be grateful for – no matter how small – it can transform the way that you see the world.
- Do something that you used to enjoy, even if you don’t find pleasure in it at the moment. For a long time I didn’t do much as far as activities, as I had no energy or motivation to participate in them. I used to love reading, writing, playing/listening to music, traveling, and taking photographs (among other things), but the depression effectively stole my enjoyment in them. Well, I decided to just try an activity anyhow – reading. The joy didn’t come back immediately. Actually, the first few times I had to force myself to skim the pages of the book. But then it became more natural, and I remembered why I liked to read. 🙂 I’ve also tried this with writing (it worked), and I hope to continue revisiting activities as time goes on.
- Get outside. There’s something about nature that can lift your spirit. I understand that it will be difficult – depression can often cause you to want to stay concealed inside. But if you can just take that first step outdoors, it may help to take your focus off of your discouragement. Try taking a short walk and tuning in to your senses. Is there a cool breeze against your skin? Are there birds chirping in a tree nearby? Is there a really pretty sunrise/sunset?
- Talk to a loved one. Whether it be a family member or friend, reach out to someone who you feel comfortable confiding in. It can be a normal tendency to shy away from other people when you are struggling with depression…so fight back against the isolation by making that phone call or sending that text.
- Do a small chore. I hate chores. I don’t know very many people who like them. And since my depression takes away my pleasure in things that I used to enjoy doing, it most certainly makes the daily chores of life almost unbearable. But they have to be done. What chores do I mean? Doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning the house, and paying bills are a few. But I’ve found that if I break down the chores into small chunks, they are more manageable. For example, focusing on washing one dish at a time instead of the whole sink full. Or cleaning one small area of the house instead of every room. The good thing is, when I finish each small task, I feel a sense of accomplishment. And that gives me the energy to wash another dish, or clean another area of the house.
- Pray. The awesome thing about God is that you can tell Him anything – what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, how you wish you were feeling…and He will be there to listen. Take a moment to lift your heart to the Lord and ask Him for strength and peace. Don’t forget to praise Him for all that He has done!
- Set early appointments for yourself. If you are like me, I have a very difficult time getting out of bed in the morning. Sleeping is when I can shut off all of the thoughts and emotions that plague me – so naturally I don’t want that to end. Something I found that helps with this is to set appointments early in the morning. If I know I have an appointment that I must go to, it forces me to get out of bed. Right now my work-from-home job helps me to get out of bed, and for this I am very grateful.
- Help someone else. Do you know anyone else who struggles with depression? Reach out to them! There’s a good possibility that you can encourage them by letting them know that they are not alone. And the bonus is that YOU will likely feel better knowing you have helped someone.
- Laugh. I have a difficult time with this one. I’m so literal that when people make jokes, they go right over my head! Plus, I don’t feel like laughing – I feel like crying. But I find that when I do come across something that tickles my funny bone and I end up laughing, it gives me a whole new (positive) feeling in my body. So pop in a funny movie or read a humorous book – it may just give you a boost!
- Acknowledge baby steps. Depression is a difficult illness to struggle with. Make sure you take the time to acknowledge small steps forward that you have taken on your journey. Looking back and seeing how you have improved will likely give you motivation to take that next baby step.
Thanks so much for reading! I pray that this list has been helpful to you. Just remember, this list is not all-inclusive, and not every idea will work for everyone.
Do you have any ways that help to ease your depression? I’d really love for you to share them in the comments section! ❤
Photo by: Benjamin Combs