7 Ways to ‘Fake It Til You Make It’ When You are Feeling Sad
So many of us, myself included, find they have to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ when they are feeling sad.
Life is busy with work, family, friends, pets etc. Who has time to be sad? I know that I don’t.
Unfortunately, it can be very hard to not give in to the sadness, to not let it derail your life.
Luckily there are a few hacks that you can use that will help you ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ when you are feeling sad.
#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 feeling sad.
I have known people to take their mattress off the box spring and lean it against the wall. Some people pile their mattresses 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 – Do what makes you feel good.
When we are struggling with sadness and depression, our inclination is to collapse into our life. We stay in bed, we don’t shower or eat well and cut off contact with those we love.
Let me tell you: if you are feeling sad, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead, it is important to do things that make you feel good.
What kind of things might work? That depends on who you are in the world but here are a few ideas.
- Take a walk.
- Spend time with friends.
- Take a bath.
- Do some yoga.
- Binge on some fun TV.
- Have sex
- Go to the movies.
- Take a road trip
So, what makes you happy? I know it seems hard now but ask yourself what you usually enjoy doing. Or ask a friend. Doing something that makes you happy will raise your endorphins and help you manage your sadness.
#3 – Take care of yourself.
An excellent coping mechanism for working through depression is taking care of yourself.
After my mom died I fell apart. Getting off the couch was next to impossible. Tequila was my closest companion with ice cream a close second.
Fortunately for me, a friend saw what I was doing to myself and helped get me back on track. I started going to yoga, getting more sleep, eating better and drinking lots of water.
I started spending more time outdoors in the sunshine because the warmth of the sun felt good on my body and the Vitamin D provided by the sun is a natural anti-depressant.
I know that if I hadn’t started taking care of myself, if I hadn’t made my body stronger, my sadness would only have gotten worse!
#4 – Keep your mind active.
Unfortunately, when you’re feeling sad, our worst enemy is that brain of ours.
While we are lying on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, our brain is actively buying into it all.
You are a loser, it says. You have no friends. You aren’t good at anything. You will never find love. You suck at your job. And on and on.
And, chances are, that none of those things are true. That you are not a loser, you have plenty of friends, you are talented, love is out there and your boss thinks you are doing great. But your brain, when you are depressed, just doesn’t go there.
It is really important, when you’re feeling depressed, to keep your brain busy. Yoga is a really good way to do this – you are so busy trying to figure out the damn pose that you don’t have a chance to think about anything. It also has the side benefit of toning your body and making you feel strong, which can be helpful.
Other options for keeping your mind quiet are: reading, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, working. Meditation is also an option but I just get more depressed when I try, and fail, to meditate. If you can do it, go for it!
What do you like to do that will help you quiet that mind of yours, the mind that is feeding into those feelings that are bringing you down? Figure it out and do it!
#5 – Write it out.
Do you journal? Or write letters to yourself? Or scribble notes on post-its? If you do, great! If you don’t, it could be time to start.
Did you know that negative thoughts are 4 times more powerful in your head than after they have been spoken or written. Think about it – the last time you were stuck listening to those negative voices didn’t you feel much better when you shared them with someone? Yes! Even if your problems weren’t solved at least they weren’t rolling around in your head, making things messy.
Writing about how you are feeling and things that are making sad, or whatever it is that is stuck in your head, can be an excellent way to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ when you are feeling sad, especially if you don’t have someone with whom to share your sadness. When you have no one to talk to when you are feeling sad, writing allows you to get your sadness out of your head and onto paper.
And when you can see your feelings on a piece of paper in front of you, instead of having it rolling around in your brain, it can be much easier to manage.
#6 – Spend time with friends – but choose carefully.
One of the most important things to manage when you’re feeling depressed is your environment. Your bed and your pjs might feel like the right thing to do but you know now they are not.
The same attention needs to be paid to who you spend time with when you are feeling depressed. If there are people in your life who bring you down then avoiding them when you aren’t doing well is very important.
My mother was very difficult to spend time with when I was depressed. She was always trying to talk me out of my depression by pretending that it didn’t exist or telling me to just snap out of it. Both of those things just made me feel worse. So, I avoided her when I wasn’t doing well. It was best for both of us.
Consider who you shouldn’t spend time with when you are depressed and avoid them. On the same note, think about who would be a good person to be with and make a date with them right now!
#7 – Know that feeling sad isn’t a sign of weakness.
Another piece of ‘faking it ‘til you make it’ when you are feeling sad is to admit to yourself that, in fact, you are struggling.
So many of us, when we are struggling with depression, judge ourselves. We are all taught that we need to be tough, to not let our emotions overwhelm us, to ‘get over it.’ Furthermore, we look at those around us and assume that everyone else is fine, that it is only us who is such a loser.
But this is NOT true. Sadness and depression are real things. While we all think that we ‘should’ suck it up and be happy, sometimes it just isn’t possible. Sometimes we are just sad. And it’s ok.
Owning, to yourself at least, the fact that you are sad, and recognizing that it’s ok. is an excellent way to get through those times when the sadness is with you so that you can get through it intact.
In many ways it is sad that we have to ‘fake it ‘til we make it’ when we are feeling sad.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if society as a whole was willing to accept that depression is a thing and give us space to be depressed openly.
Unfortunately, while we are getting there, that is not the way life is right now so knowing how to get through your sadness is a key part of not letting it derail your life.
So, when you are feeling sad, first and foremost, get out of bed. Take care of yourself. Do something fun. Control your thoughts and accept that this is just how things are for now.
All of those things will allow you to keep moving forward when you are depressed. And sometimes, if you keep moving forward, that in itself will help with your depression.
All of this being said, if you are feeling depressed and you find that it isn’t going away, that it is derailing your life, it is essential that you see your doctor. What you are dealing with might be more than sadness and your doctor can help you figure out ways to deal with it.
But for now – get out there. Live! You can do it!