It’s almost the time of year (or maybe just started to be, depending on where you live) for Seasonal Depression to rear its ugly head back into our lives.
The days are slowly getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and it’s getting darker sooner that we’d like.
So what does that have to do with depression?
Well, sunlight is a more important part of our lives than some of us realize. Ever notice how you kind of feel crummy or “meh” during a rainy day? Some of us with depression get that a lot more during the darker months of the year (aka the end of fall and winter).
With that time of year creeping up, I wanted to put together a post about what to do when depression hits.
Evaluate How You’re Feeling
Depression can manifest in weird ways. Sometimes I wake up wanting to cry, some days I just feel empty, and some days I’m just so tired I can barely get myself out of bed. Those aren’t the only ways depression can make you feel, and sometimes you can even feel like all of those at once!
So the first thing you should do is evaluate how you’re feeling. What are the most powerful emotions that are coming out? What is is that your depression wants you to do? What do you feel like doing?
Figuring out how you’re feeling is the first step in finding ways to mitigate your depression. The first step to figuring out how to fix or treat something is to identify what the problem is.
Related: How to Combat “Meh” Days
Clean Up Any Messes
If you’re like me, then a messy home makes for a messy and anxious mind. And the last thing you need when you already feel like shit is to also feel anxious and uncomfortable in your own home.
If you don’t have the energy to clean up, that’s fine! You can take some short cuts to make things look better without actually doing a lot of heavy lifting.
Do you have a pile of clothes on the floor? Not sure if they’re clean or dirty? I’d just throw them all in the laundry because even if they weren’t dirty, they’re most likely wrinkled from being on the floor for who knows how long.
Have a bunch of small things laying about on your desk/dresser/sink/etc.? Find a basket to throw them in, or see if you have an empty drawer to put them in for the time being.
These aren’t permanent fixes, but they can help you feel better in your home without having to break out the vacuum.
Make Your Bed/Change Your Sheets
This may not be for everyone, but something that I need to do. I’m the type of person who moves around a lot in my sleep. And I mean a lot! Because I basically run a marathon in my sleep, my sheets and bedding gets messed up pretty quick. I like having my bedding nice and even, and not all stretched out.
So if I’m having a bad day or a depression day, one thing I always make sure to do is make my bed so it’s neat and clean. If it’s been a while since I’ve changed my sheets, I’ll even go through that process just because there’s nothing quite like crawling into a freshly made bed.
This also works with the previous point. If you need things to be tidy to not feel super anxious, making your bed will take the centerpiece of your room from a mess to organized.
Take a Shower or Bath
This is something I tend to have a hard time with. There have been days where I just don’t want to go through with the process of taking a shower. I’m too tired to actually just hop in the shower and clean myself up.
However, I usually feel 1000 times better once I get out of the shower. So the issue is forcing myself into it in the first place.
If you have to, try and coax yourself into the bath with a fancy body scrub, maybe some scented candles, a bubble bath, or something else you normally wouldn’t use to feel like it’s a special occasion. I’m a HUGE fan of TJ Maxx and Marshalls for luxury bath and body supplies on a budget!
Related: Step-by-Step Self Care Guide
Eat Something That Isn’t Junk
I’m guilty of doing this all the damn time. Especially when I see something new to try it out and it turns out to be my newest obsession to snack on! My most recent obsession was Werthers Original Harvest Caramel Apple & Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels. These things are literally like crack to me!
However, one full package of these can go from 1,050 to 1,112 calories! And I was eating at least 2 of these packages in a day! As someone who is 5’2″ on a good day, I was eating twice my daily calorie intake in caramels, and that’s an absolutely terrible thing!
So make sure you’re eating, you know, actual food and not just whatever you’ve found in your cabinets. If you can’t get yourself to go out of the house, see if a nearby friend would be nice enough to bring you something, or look into delivery. There are tons of places that offer delivery through their restaurants OR you can look into delivery apps such as GrubHub, PostMates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
Take it Slow/ Take a Nap
When depression hits we’re usually not in the best mindset. As much as we hate to admit, depression will suck the life out of us and can make us moody, emotional, and empty.
So take the day slow. Don’t overwork yourself and if you feel like you’re getting too worked up, take a break. If you can, even take a nap! (Naps are like the soft reset for humans. They’re great!)
If you’re at work, take a walk around the office or outside. Hide out in the bathroom if you need some alone time, make yourself a warm drink like tea or hot chocolate. Point is, to take your normal day down a notch.
Take the Day Off
This can be a hard one, but if your symptoms are more than you can handle and you don’t think you would be able to function properly at work or school, consider taking the day off.
A lot of people don’t think mental health reasons are good enough to take a day, but if you were physically sick no one would question it (unless you have a terrible workplace) but when you’re mentally sick, you’re supposed to suck it up? Absolutely not!
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and if you start neglecting one, it’s very possible it will flow over into the other.
Keep Track of Your Depression
This is more of a maintenance thing, but keeping track of your depression can be huge in making sure everything is under control.
If you’re female, you’ve most likely had some kind of run in with a period tracker. Think of doing that but with depression symptoms. If you’re old fashioned like me, keep a physical journal with you that you can jot down how you’re feeling on a daily basis.
This can be incredibly beneficial to your doctors in making sure you’re on the right dosages, seeing any patterns with your mental health you might not be, or see if your symptoms are connected to anything else in your life (e.g. stress, your menstrual cycle, etc.)
If there is any sort of pattern to your symptoms, it can be super helpful to see if you’re expecting a bout of depression in the near future.
Things you might want to keep track of:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Food Intake
- Physical activity
What do you do when you’re having depression? Does any of my advice work for you?