Depression is ugly. It lashes out in ways that defy common sense. Some days, despite your best efforts, you just can't seem to unfurl yourself from the fetal position. This is exactly the instant that you need to do something, because left untouched this can spiral downward very quickly. You need to recognize these days and implement SMALL, SIMPLE strategies to put you on the path UP instead of DOWN.
Here are some simple things you can do to put you on the path to happiness instead of despair:
1. Take a shower, brush your hair, brush your teeth, put on REAL pants (yoga pants don't count) and maybe some purfume. The simple act of taking care of yourself in the smallest way tends to boost your self esteem. I don't know anyone that didn't feel slightly better after a nice, long, hot shower.
2. Make a list. Write down all the things you need to get done around the house, or get from the store. Sometimes we feel depressed because we feel overwhelmed. Get everything out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Just getting everything onto that piece of paper will make you feel better.
3. Take ACTION. Pick ONE thing from the list to do. Do the dishes in the kitchen need to be put away? Do you need toothpaste from the store? Great, Do that. Don't worry about anything else, just pick one. Too often we focus on ALL we need to do that we become paralyzed because we don't know what to prioritize. When you are feeling depressed there is no need to prioritize. Just do one small thing on your list, and the rest can follow.
4. Play with a pet. If you don't have one, go to the animal shelter. Playing with a puppy or kitten is a sure fire way to squash depression. Seriously, how can you feel bad when a cute little thing is licking your face and begging you for attention. Pets make you feel needed, and sometimes, that's all we are looking for.
5. Call a friend. I remember feeling so alone when I was depressed. I would convince myself I had no friends, no one liked me, and no one would notice if I died. The hardest thing to do is realize someone cares. So make a call. If they don't pick up, LEAVE A MESSAGE, don't just hang up. Even if they don't call back for a few hours, it will still make you feel better once they do.
6. On top of just calling to chat, share your struggle with someone close. They don't have to throw a huge party to try and make you feel better, but it will allow them to be more compassionate and understanding. You need a tribe of people cheering you on. Don't do it alone.
7. Exercise. I know, I know. Exercise is literally the hardest thing to do when you are feeling depressed, but it ALWAYS makes you feel better. Even if all you can muster up is a walk around the block, do that. Not only will you be getting in some exercise, but the fresh air always seems to refresh your spirit too. Bonus points if you go for a walk with a friend.
I hope these small, incremental strategies can help you the next time you are feeling blue. Remember, these are all suggestions. Focus on picking ONE and doing that. The hardest part is the first step. Once you accomplish one thing you are more likely to keep going. Don't focus on all that you could do, hone in on ONE THING, and JUST DO IT.