Tips For Getting Through the Worst Days
The title of this blog is "Coping with Depression." In the past, I've used it to talk about ways to feel productive, beat procrastination, and improve relationships during a depressive episode. But the reality is that some days, "coping" just means surviving. So, in honor of World Suicide Prevention Month, I would like to offer some simple tips on how to get through when "getting through" seems impossible.
Simple Tips for Getting Through the Worst Days
- Open your curtains and windows: While leaving the house might not be on the cards for today, letting in some light and fresh air will make you feel less entombed, and give you that little connection to the outside world that you need to keep you from total isolation.
- Change into some fresh PJs: When you're struggling with depression, it's easy for the days to bleed into one. A simple way to combat this is to commit to changing your clothing every morning-- even if that just means changing from one set of PJs into another.
- Eat something healthy: I'm not suggesting that you don an apron and whip up a gourmet meal. I mean grab an apple, a banana, or (if you can face it) stir-fry some veggies. Our instinct in times of emotional distress is to reach for comfort food, but too much salt, fat and sugar will leave you bloated, sluggish and tired, and when depression has already depleted your energy levels, this is a lethal combination. Eating something healthy is a simple way of practicing self-care, and can have profound psychological and physiological effects. So stock up on that fruit.
- Watch something funny: Instead of reaching for the chips, why not try some televisual comfort food? When I'm feeling low, nothing cheers me up like an episode of Parks and Recreation. I've seen every episode at least five times, but when I'm struggling to concentrate, it's comforting to let something familiar and charming play in the background and occasionally permeate my conscious mind with a funny joke or pratfall (and yes, that is a Chris Pratt pun for those of you who've watched the show).
- Play something fun: I've never been much of a gamer, but a few years ago I dug out my old Game Boy Color and spent a full afternoon playing (and completing, I might add) Super Mario Bros. Sinking yourself into a hobby like gaming on a day when your depression is at the helm can be a great way to distract from any intrusive and unwanted thoughts and focus your mind on something benign and entertaining.
- Contact someone you haven't seen in a while: This one might seem like a stretch, but in times of struggle, it is often easier to talk to people you don't see regularly. These people won't be familiar with your situation, and so it will be easier to just "shoot the breeze" about films, books, TV, or whatever else interests you, without the pressure to "get deep." I am in no way suggesting that you ignore your support networks on days like these, but sometimes a casual chat with someone from the world beyond the walls of your depression can help to make you feel like a "normal" person, and remind you that there is a place out there for you once you get through this day.
You Can Get Through Your Worst Days
Coping with depression is an exhausting endeavor. And some days, just getting out of bed feels like climbing a mountain. So if you are feeling at a low ebb, know that the only thing you have to do today is to get through it. And maybe eat an apple.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.
Lear, J. (2021, September 17). Tips For Getting Through the Worst Days, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, May 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2021/9/tips-for-getting-through-the-worst-days
Author: Jennifer Lear
Thank you for sharing these tips. They're important to keep in mind for our older loved ones too, who are at great risk for depression, especially in light of the pandemic, but are often less likely to want to address the problem. This article shares some additional helpful information: https://endeavorhomecare.com/4-signs-of-senior-depression/