Knowing what to do when you're depressed can mean the difference between slipping into a serious depression or turning things around early. When you're feeling depressed it can be difficult to take positive steps, but even the most depressed person can find even tiny steps useful.
Professional help should always be sought for any serious depression or any depression that lasts more than two weeks. However, even while getting professional help, there are things you can do to stop feeling depressed.
Note: Any feelings that you may harm yourself or others should be dealt with by a mental health professional immediately.
Why Do I Feel Depressed?
Sometimes there is a direct cause for feeling depressed. This could be a life event, a circumstance or simply feeling lonely and depressed. Most times, depressed feelings begin due to a stressor. Example stressors that might make someone feel depressed include:
- Stress at home, work or school
- Birth of a child
- Death of a loved one
- Social disruption
- Being diagnosed with an illness
Sometimes knowing why you feel depressed can help begin the process of relieving the depression. If, for example, you feel depressed because of the loss of a friendship, it may be helpful to spend time with other friends and talk about thatevent's impact.
Sometimes people feel depressed for no reason. This happens more often in people with severe or chronic depression. However, even if feeling depressed for no reason, you can still take action to try and stop the depression.
What To Do When You Feel Depressed
When feeling depressed, most people want to sit around the house and do nothing, but this can actually worsen depression. Knowing how to feel better when depressed involves learning about depression, knowing yourself and understanding what works for you.
The important thing to remember when trying to feel better is to make reasonable goals. Anything has the possibility of making you feel more depressed if you set an unrealistic goal. For example, exercising is positive, but setting the goal for yourself to run five miles a day might make you feel more depressed if that's not something you're able to accomplish. Small goals and small steps forward work best. You can always set bigger goals as you start to feel less depressed.
Things to do when depressed include1:
- Engage in an enjoyable activity like going to a baseball game or attending a social gathering, even if you don't initially feel like it.
- Avoid spending long periods of time alone.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Take care of yourself. Pamper yourself.
- Break tasks up into small chunks spread out over time to make them more achievable.
- Spend time with friends or family. Talk to a trusted person about what you're going through.
- Postpone important decisions until you're feeling better. If you have to make an important decision, discuss it with others because feeling depressed can cloud your judgment.
- Get professional help when needed.
Remember, no matter what you do when you're depressed, feeling better takes time. You may have to get weeks of depression treatment before starting to feel better, but trust the depression will lift over time.