Whether it’s long-term clinical depression or a perpetual bad mood triggered by a traumatic or upsetting event, depression affects thousands of people every year and should be taken seriously. Failure to acknowledge, address, and tend to this issue can lead to physical problems and thoughts of suicide.
I’m not going to tell you to snap out of it, tell you that everyone feels this way sometimes, or worst of all, urge you to think of your loved ones. I don’t know how you feel; only YOU know that. However, I’d like to suggest some steps you can take to hopefully make yourself feel better. Let’s try it.
1. WANT to Get Better
This may sound bizarre to people who have never suffered from depression, but it can be something of an odd comfort to feel so down all the time. It’s twisted, but it feels like it would be easier to stay in perpetual darkness than to turn on the light. This is probably the hardest step of all.
You need to be 100% determined to make yourself feel better, not by force but with healthy steps. Ready to kick depression’s ass? Great! Move on to step two.
2. Address the Problem
Some people suffer from depression throughout their lives, and it isn’t triggered by any unusual event or person. If this is you, move on to step three.
However, for some people, depression comes along in the wake of something bad that happened to them. No matter how trivial you tell yourself the problem is, it can easily make one feel rough. If that sounds like you, you need to think carefully about what the problem might be and how to address it. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away.
Book the therapist appointment. Talk to the person. Find a solution to your problem. It’s hard, but you’ll come out of it so much better.
3. Get a Shower and Get Dressed
In depressive episodes, some people have trouble going outside or even getting out of bed. If you’re reading this from your couch or bed and you haven’t done anything else today, get a shower.
Then get dressed. You don’t have to wear anything fancy or wear makeup unless you want to – just wear something comfortable and clean. Wash your hair and brush your teeth. This is step three; don’t skip it.
4. Clean Your Room
With zero motivation and that dull ache in your chest, cleaning anything at all might seem impossible right now. However, if cleaning your room or your house is too difficult, take these small steps.
- Make your bed.
- Put your dirty clothes in the washing machine.
Already, you’ve made huge steps. If this is all you can manage now, that’s completely fine.
- Turn on the washing machine.
- Pick up stuff from the floor.
- Take out the trash.
Fantastic work! Already, the house/apartment is starting to look and smell better. Bonus points if you can:
- Vacuum your room.
- Hang up/dry the clothes after they’ve been washed.
- Wash the dishes.
- Organise your books, games, and DVDs.
- Clean your desk.
- Change your bed sheets.
If you can manage to clean your living space, it can equal a clearer mind and a better mood. Now you are clean and so is your home. This isn’t a depression cure, but it certainly helps.
Crying can let out a lot of anguish and emotional pain… for some people. If crying isn’t something you want to make yourself do, feel free to skip this step.
However, if you’re the kind of person who feels better after a good cry, put on a movie that you know will have you reaching for the tissues (Titanic, The Notebook, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, Ghost, and Schindler’s List are all good choices) or listen to some “emo” music and let the tears flow. You may feel surprisingly light afterward.
6. Make a Plan for Self-Improvement
Depression strangles you and stops you from finding the fun in anything. Your motivation takes a kick and you find yourself thinking that you’ll never find joy ever again.
If you can, try to remember when you were a kid and what hopes you had for the future. For example, you may have always wanted to be an actor or travel the world. Make a plan, including all the steps you have to take the achieve your goal, even if it’s a really big one. This can be anything: write a song, learn to play an instrument, start learning a new language, travel to another continent, etc.
You don’t necessarily have to carry out the plan, but making one can make you feel optimistic, excited, and give you a glimmer of hope for the future. Don’t worry about the plan being too abstract or difficult; it’s making the plan that can make you feel good.
7. Do Something Nice for Someone Else
A lot of negative thoughts that come with depression include self-hatred, a low opinion of oneself, and the belief that the world would be better without you in it. Words won’t change this, but actions can.
Think of someone who needs help. Do something for them, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to them. Listen to their problem. Tell them they look nice (as long as you mean it). Watch their YouTube video and leave a comment. Read their book and leave a review. Take care of their baby for the afternoon while they take a break.
Doing something nice for another person can really boost your self-worth, and even if it does nothing at all to make you feel better, at least you’ve made someone else’s day.
8. Call or Text a Family Member
Got an aunt, cousin, or grandma who you haven’t spoken to in a while? Pick up your phone and contact them. If you’re not up to a phone call, a WhatsApp message will suffice. They will be glad to hear from you and you’ll be able to get your mind off things while you catch up.
You could also do this with an old friend who you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Check your Facebook, Instagram, or any other account and see if there are people you haven’t hit up in a while. They will appreciate it and you’ll be strengthening relationships, too.
9. Talk to Someone
If you’ve done all these things and you still feel rotten, try talking to someone close to you about how you’ve been feeling. Be sure to choose someone who you know has empathy and who will give you their full attention. Offloading can help a lot, and sometimes by saying your problems aloud, you can even figure out your own solution.
10. Make Use of Online and Anonymous Help
Still feel terrible? First of all, I’m really sorry nothing on this list helped. It’s tough when you’re feeling really down and nothing seems to work. Here are a few resources you can make use of if you need someone to talk to anonymously.
- 7 Cups of Tea, an anonymous online chat site with volunteer helpers and paid therapists
- A suicide hotline (all countries) for if you’re in immediate danger
- Samaritans. It’s British but you can email them from anywhere.
- ElderWisdom to talk and get advice from seniors
Hopefully you can start to feel better as quickly as possible, because there are a lot of good things in this dark world. If you’re feeling down, please leave a comment or tweet to me and I’ll try and help you further. I’m not a professional, but I’m a human who is always willing to lend an ear! Good luck. 🙂