Give Your Brain a Break When You're Depressed

November 14, 2019 Jennifer Smith

Depression takes its toll on us, and our brains certainly deserve a break. While we know this to be true, how can we put this knowledge into practice?

3 Ways to Give Your Brain a Break When You're Depressed

First We Work, Then Take a Brain Break

In order for us to truly be able to give our brains a break, we must first do some work involving our depression. We are learning how to manage our depression, which is challenging enough, so we want to try to keep other stressors in our life from causing our emotions to go into overdrive. This is difficult to do when our brains are full of cluttered images and negative thoughts. So, how do we move toward getting rid of these unwanted thoughts and images?

The best way for me has been journaling. When I get angry or burst out crying over a small thing, once I've calmed down, I write about what led up to that moment. I write not only about what happened in the minutes before my emotional overload but also in the days leading up to it. This way I can track patterns and make connections. When I do these things, I can be mindful about avoiding some situations or better preparing for those I cannot avoid. While journaling and learning to practice mindfulness can be hard work at first, once we've put them into practice, we'll see then that our brains can have that much-needed break they so deserve. 

Practicing Gratitude to Take a Brain Break

I'm not talking about this gratitude where we are thankful for everything. I'm not into some sappy, romanticized drivel. I'm talking about being real with ourselves. As imperfect as the side effects may be, I'm grateful for my antidepressants. They've kept me from having to be hospitalized for my depression for almost three years now. My medications have certainly helped my brain to the point that I'm able to think clearly enough to put the therapeutic techniques I learned into action.

While on the subject of therapy, I'm also grateful for my therapist. She helped me untangle so many of the knots in the cord of my life that exacerbated my depression.

Some of the things for which I express gratitude may seem silly to others, but this list is mine. You make yours. Refer back to it when you're overwhelmed by your depression and need a brain break. The list I'm sharing with you here contains some things that have actually kept me going on hard days: books, scented candles, lavender incense, soft blankets, scary movies, nature walks, coffee.

Simple Self-care Gives Your Brain a Break

"Simple" truly means simple here. Give your brain a quick break, or a longer break, if you have the time:

  • Take a shower or a bath. 
  • Cuddle under a warm blanket.
  • Light a candle or burn some incense.
  • Step outside for a minute or two. 
  • Practice breathing techniques.
  • Journal.
  • Read.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Sketch or paint.
  • Call or text a friend.

You can watch this video to learn about how I use mindfulness to give my brain a break from the anger and memory loss issues that are related to my depression.

Tags: brain break

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2019, November 14). Give Your Brain a Break When You're Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Jennifer Smith

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