The Importance of Routine Self-Care with Depression
It's appropriate to focus on the importance of routine self-care in our depression recovery since International Self-Care Day was this past Tuesday, July 24. This kind of self-care includes daily tasks that are important for our health and hygiene, but we often find these seemingly basic activities overwhelming with depression. What are some of these routine tasks? Why are they an integral part of coping with depression and how can we find the motivation to complete these routine self-care tasks?
Routine Self-Care Tasks Necessary for Depression Recovery
- Making and keeping doctors' appointments is part of routine self-care. Although many of us feel overwhelmed at the thought of scheduling (and actually keeping) our appointments with healthcare professionals, it is important that we do so as part of our self-care routine. Our depression will likely worsen if we fail to attend appointments. Also, if we miss one appointment, it will likely get easier to miss more. This could have a snowball effect and we may begin to neglect our health in other areas as well. So, as difficult as it may be, we need to practice the routine, yet important, self-care task of keeping our appointments. This helps ensure that we are taking steps to cope with our depression in a healthy way. Also, if we neglect appointments initially, this could eventually lead to a more overwhelming health crisis.
- Practicing proper hygiene is important. I know this one can be hard. Some days I feel as if I deserve a gold medal for simply showering. Depression often leaves us so exhausted that acts of basic self-care seem equivalent to running a marathon or climbing a mountain. In spite of this difficulty, however, we need to do our best to keep ourselves clean. We don't want to run the risk of infection or other health issues. Also, bathing our bodies and washing our hair can help to lift our moods, even if only slightly. Find a routine that works best for you. Some prefer to shower at night, while others feel that showering in the morning helps them feel more awake for the day. Another idea is to find some shortcuts or "hacks" that make basic self-care easier for you. For example, I have a pixie hairstyle, so my wash and style time is quite easy and short. This keeps me from feeling too overwhelmed at the thought of taking care of my hair. If you find some things that simplify your self-care routine, you will be much more likely to follow through on practicing it.
- Eating healthy foods matters. Simply eating can be a challenge at times. When I'm having a particularly hard day with depression, I don't have an appetite and find it hard to eat anything. In addition to this, many of us who are diagnosed with depression lack the energy and motivation to prepare food. So, how are we supposed to not only eat, but also eat healthily? Also, why is it important for our self-care that we do? There are some simple ways to eat a healthy diet. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest for easy, healthy recipes or find a meal delivery service or something between the two. Make it work for you. This act of routine self-care is important because we feel healthier when we eat healthier.
- Exercising is part of routine self-care. I will admit this is one area of routine self-care in which I have struggled over the past couple of months. I've gotten off my regular schedule this summer. I am struggling with adding exercise back into my life, and I am feeling the effects on both my body and mind. I had a relapse with depression this summer. It didn't require hospitalization, but it was the most serious episode I've had since I was hospitalized. To be clear, I'm not attributing this episode to lack of exercise; I am simply pointing out how exercise helps lower my stress level and perhaps could have lessened the intensity of this particular episode. I am now taking baby steps to add physical activity back into my life. It's been so long that the thought of exercising again overwhelms me, so I have to take it slowly. It will be worth it, though, because I've realized how much exercise helps us cope with some of our depression symptoms.
Need other ideas? In this video, I discuss more about the importance of routine self-care in depression recovery.
Smith, J. (2018, July 25). The Importance of Routine Self-Care with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/7/the-importance-of-routine-self-care-with-depression