Learning how to practice self-care when you’re depressed can be an essential way to manage your symptoms.
Self-care on its own isn’t a treatment for depression.
For that, you should have a mental health care provider who creates a treatment plan for you, often including a combination of medication and therapy.
Instead, it is just one lifestyle element that you can include as part of your routine that is good for your mind and body.
Learning how to practice self-care when you’re depressed can be a challenge in and of itself.
At first, you may not have the motivation or energy to take action, but read on and this article will provide strategies to help you get started.
What Is Self Care?
Self-care is when you take care of yourself to feel your best, be your best, and live your daily life in the best way possible and is part of the over all answer regarding how we deal with stress and symptoms of depression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, friends and family members, and communities to promote health, reduce the risk of disease, and cope with disability and illness with or without healthcare provider support.”
Tending to our mental health is essential because:
- We live in a society that always expects us to be operating at a peak level of productivity. Society puts immense pressure on us to make sure we’re doing “something” all the time, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. When you follow a routine, it can improve concentration, boost happiness and improve energy levels.
- There are physical health benefits, like reducing the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease by lowering blood pressure, for example.
- When you take care of your body and your emotions, you will have a better overall outlook on life.
- If you’re a parent or a caregiver, you may deal with significant burnout. Having a routine will help reduce stress and actually help make you into a better caregiver.
Why Is Self-Care Difficult When You’re Depressed?
It can be incredibly challenging to make an effort when you’re struggling with anxiety or depression.
You’re maybe grappling with a lack of energy and some despair, and this may make you feel that you don’t have the ability to take care of yourself, even in the most basic of ways.
The good news is that our brain is adaptive, and even when it feels challenging, it’s possible to make progress.
The following self care tips for women and men are interchangeable and open to your own interpretation of whatever might be best for you!
Self Care Tips for When You’re Depressed
Depression is a mental health disorder affecting how you feel, behave and think. Depression causes sadness and a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed.
When you have untreated depression, it can affect your relationships, physical health, and functionality in your daily life.
How to Practice Self Care When You’re Depressed:
- Start small. You have to initially recognize the challenges that depression can create. Once you realize that, you can begin to take what seems like tiny steps. Those tiny steps gradually add up, and you can build on them.
For example, maybe your first goal is to sit outside in the sunshine for a few minutes or move to a bright room with an open window. When you reach small goals, it becomes easier to achieve bigger ones then. This philosophy applies to everything in your life when you have depression.
- Be active. When you’re active, it’s going to increase the chemicals that make you feel good. Many people find exercise is their most important form of care. At least 30 minutes a day of exercise is clinically shown to be good for your mental health.
- Develop a routine. Having a routine helps depression in multiple ways, and you can include it in your daily life. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be considered a luxury. It should be a set part of your day each day instead. This can also help you set boundaries with the people in your life when they realize that your daily routine isn’t negotiable.
- Practice meditation or deep breathing. Meditation is one of the best forms of stress relief, and you can do it any time and from anywhere. Try starting small with maybe just a morning routine of a few minutes of meditation each day, and work up from there.
- Do something fun for 10 minutes a day. Spending time doing activities you enjoy is essential to finding joy in life. Try to at least block out a 10-minute chunk of time each day to do something that makes you happy. You could watch a YouTube video, play a game, put on a face mask, listen to some music, draw, or call a friend.
If you’re dealing with depression, you aren’t alone. It’s estimated that one in 15 adults is affected by it each year.
One in six people will experience depression at some point in their life.
Women are more likely than men to have depression, and there are some studies showing one-third of women will have a major depressive episode in their life.
If you have the signs and symptoms of depression, just know that it’s one of the most treatable mental disorders.
80 to 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment, and nearly all patients report some level of relief from their symptoms after treatment at the Mental Health Center of San Diego.
You deserve to be happy, so let us help you the same way we’ve helped hundreds of people before you. Call 858-258-9883 today for your free consultation and take your first steps towards happiness.