Dealing and struggling with depression is no joke. It is exhausting, frustrating, and can sometimes feel really hopeless. I’ll be honest with you, although I’m writing a post today on how to handle depression in the moment, I still suffer each week from depression or episodes of depression. However, these 5 tips have really helped cope with my depression, pain, grief, and sadness immediately when I am in those tough moments. And whether you experience depression or not, I truly believe these tips can help you anytime you are feeling down or feeling any kind of negative emotion!
I want to also say that I am no way an expert on this topic. I am just sharing the tools that work for me! We all experience sorrow, grief, sadness, depression, and loss differently. And we all have different stories on how we initially developed depression or when we began showing small signs of depression developing. Mine came from when I lost my dad unexpectantly only 6 months ago. Today is (I still like to use present tense) actually his birthday and he would be 54. I am still grieving over his loss and will one day share my story and what I have learned after having to go through that. But for now, I am trying several different ways to manage my episodes of depression when they immediately start to appear. And I hope these tips and tools help you out as well! 💛
1. Accept it. Don’t push it away
I know it may sound a little counterintuitive, but it is so important that you accept your feelings for what they are. And when you are feeling them. The more you try to fight those negative feelings, push them away, or try to barry them – the worse you will feel in the long run. Not to mention, the longer you try to escape those negative feelings, the more guilty and shameful you will feel for having those negative in the first place. And it really starts to take a harder toll on your mental and emotional health as well, since you’re essentially making yourself deal with it longer.
So instead, allow yourself to be aware of those emotions that you are currently feeling. Feel them, accept them, and trust that they will soon pass. If you need to cry – cry it out. If you need to go away and take some time for yourself – then 100% do so! Because those feelings will pass. And I have found that accepting them as they happen has been one of the most provoking ways to handle depression in the moment!
2. Talk to someone or a group
When you are feeling down or sad, it can be hard communicating with others, but so can feeling like you’re alone. That is why talking with your loved ones, friends, a therapist, or even a support group is so important. Any sort of communication that works best in the moment really does help to distract us and make us feel loved. Whether you shoot your friend a quick text telling her how you are feeling, sit down face-to-face with your partner, or having an hour-long conversation on the phone with a relative.
Any kind of communication will be beneficial for you and help you see past the negative emotions you may be feeling at that given time. I know that it helps me feel not alone or like a burden on others when I express my emotions and allow others to understand how I’m feeling.
3. Find something to look forward to
I find myself using this technique most often. For me, I pretty much use this as an anti-blues or anti-gloomy vaccination. When I find myself in my lowest, saddest moments, I feel 100% completely unmotivated and unenthused by anything that once brought me joy. To be honest, my workouts have been slacking the past 6 months since my motivation has severely dropped. Which is a common sign of depression in many people!
When this happens, I make an effort to search for something to put on the calendar that makes me happy and excited. In fact, this 2007 study proved that people get an emotional lift the moment they contemplate a future, joyful event! So with that, look up local events that happening around you! Go to a concert, plan a meet-up with a friend, volunteer book a getaway, plan a party! Whatever brings you joy and excitement when thinking about it in the future! Don’t let negative thoughts try to convince you that you’ll never be happy or find joy again. Give yourself permission to be happy or to go out and find happiness again!
4. D0 something that makes you feel good
Though it can be very tough to help yourself in those moments of deep depression and sadness, just do what you can and what makes you feel good. If exercising for 20 minutes or going outside for a walk seems joyful, then that is awesome! If not, that is perfectly fine too! Just let yourself do what you want and what makes you happy. Don’t worry about pressures from anyone telling you to get outside of the house or to be social. Because chances are, when people tell you to do those things (even if they mean well by saying them) they are only making you feel worse about your situation.
If lying on the couch or in your bed binge-watching Netflix seems like the perfect thing at the moment, then let yourself do that and take a mental break. Take a break from the negative emotions and allow yourself to be happy and content with your choice. Although I have found myself feeling guilty at times for not taking the initiative to help myself get out of the house, not going to lie. However, I have realized that during these moments of depression and really hard days, how extremely difficult it can be to take action and be active. Whatever helps me to cope and manage my depression in the moment, is what I choose to do.
5. Remind yourself that these feelings aren’t permanent
Exactly that! In the moments where I feel so low and down about myself or about life, I try to remind myself that these feelings are not going to be permanent. They won’t last forever! I know grief will come in stages and waves. Especially since I think I’m still in that initial shock or denial stage of loss, but experiencing others waves of grief as well. And I don’t really know how I’m going to feel in a few years or even how I will feel in a few months. But right now, I’m starting to feel a bit more at peace with the things that I cannot change.
Along with that, I am trying to remind myself daily that can ( and will!) find happiness again. And that alone is empowering. I’ve been taking some time to allow myself to find happiness again. And I would be lying if I told you that I no longer feel guilty about being happy since my father’s passing. But we need to remember that we are all worthy of happiness and joy in our lives! And reminding myself that on the daily has been truly helpful!
Is there anything that you do to make yourself feel better the moment you are feeling down or depressed?
I would love to hear some of your helpful suggestions in the comments!
P.S. Happy birthday Dad! I miss you! 💛