You know those days when your feelings of sadness are so strong that they overwhelm you? Do you wonder what to do when you’re depressed and you just don’t feel like doing a thing?
Feeling depressed is horrible and getting through it can be tough but there are things that you can do to help you get through those dark days when life just seems impossible.
#1 – Get out of bed.
This might seem fairly obvious but, for many people, the act of simply getting out of bed when they are depressed is impossible.
The inclination to stay under the covers, in the dark, away from the stimulation of the world is almost irresistible when you are depressed. Bed is comfy and cozy and not going to judge you in any way for how you are feeling.
If you are trapped in your bed, GET OUT OF IT!
People I know who are depressed go to great lengths to stay out of bed when they are depressed.
I have known people to take their mattress off the box spring and lean it against the wall. Some people pile their mattress with books. Others strip the bed of the sheets.
Whatever it takes to keep them out of bed.
Because, out of bed, it’s way more likely that you will actually be able to do something other than lay around, ruminating about how horrible you feel.
#2 – Exercise.
The best way to keep yourself moving forward when you’re depressed is to get out of the house and exercise.
The act of exercising produces endorphins which will not only lighten your mood but will give you the energy that you need to get off your butt and get some stuff done.
If you add the outdoors to the mix, by taking a walk or riding a bike, you will only compound the positive effects of the exercise. There is nothing like some fresh air and sunshine to give you the energy to take on the world.
Have you ever felt like Superwoman after a good brisk walk in the park? Like you could do anything? Can’t you remember that feeling like it was yesterday?
Do it NOW!
#3 – Laugh.
When we are depressed we tend to isolate ourselves. The prospect of getting out of bed and actually interacting with people is too much for us to bear.
This is just exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. The physical act of smiling has actually been proven to lighten one’s mood. How amazing is that?
Picture this. You can spend the rest of the day in bed, covers pulled up over your ears, mulling about how horrible the world is and how you are never going to do anything ever again. OR you can invite some friends over and laze around on the couch, laughing about whatever it is that you laugh about with them.
So, do what you can do to get some laughter going. If the idea of friends is just too much to bear, put on a funny movie, something that you know you have truly enjoyed in the past.
Get those smile muscles activated and lift your mood immediately.
#4 – Do one small thing.
When we are depressed the idea of getting anything done at all is completely overwhelming. And so what do we do? Nothing. And then how do we feel? Worse.
Try this: once you get out of bed and get some exercise, consider doing just one thing. Anything. Because doing just one thing can often lead to doing another.
Choose something that you really like to do because if you try to do something that you feel like you MUST do, instead of WANT to do, then you will fail and feel worse about everything.
When I am depressed, I love to go through my inbox and throw shit away. Getting organized feels good. What I hate to do when I am depressed is make phone calls. Talking to people on the phone in that state of mind is not a good idea.
So, choose one thing that you like to do, in or out of the house. And do it.
Go make coffee. Take the dog for a walk. Make your bed. Even if it doesn’t lead to doing another thing, at least you got one thing done!
#5 – Be kind to yourself.
Okay. You are depressed. And it sucks. But it is what it is. But don’t judge yourself for it. Don’t think that you are a horrible person because you can’t fight this off. Don’t think you are a loser because your sadness has brought you way down.
Instead, recognize that you are depressed and that you will have to ride it out. That getting depressed is something that is a part of your life and that you are not alone. Many people suffer from depression and it’s not a sign of weakness. In fact, those who deal with depression are often far stronger than those who don’t because life is just a little harder for us.
So be kind to yourself. Recognize that this depression will pass and that you will become your old self again. You just need to use your coping skills to ride it out. You have gotten through it before and will get through it again.
So, take care of yourself. Recognize that you are in a tough place and that you are doing your best nonetheless.
And then get up and do that one thing!
Knowing what to do when you are feeling depressed and just can’t handle doing anything is a HUGE part of living well with depression.
Depression comes and goes, for a variety of reasons, but if you know what you need to do to ride it out you WILL be able to do so. To get through a bout of depression without losing yourself completely.
So, get out of bed, exercise, laugh, do one small thing and be nice to yourself. Remember. You can do this! You have most likely done it before!
Go for it!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.