How to Manage Your Depression When The World Seems to be in Chaos
The other night I was sitting in the bathtub, soaking away the effects of the day. Suddenly I started crying. Not just crying, sobbing. I didn’t know what was going on.
And then it hit me. The world was in chaos and I was going through some serious major life changes and out of nowhere it was all catching up to me. I wasn’t used to things catching up to me so it made me very uncomfortable.
When I am uncomfortable I will figure out whatever it is I need to do to be comfortable so I was determined to push past this. And, with some work, I did.
Here are some things that you can do to manage your depression as the world is falling apart.
#1 – Allow yourself to cry.
Recently I have been having some arm problems and I have been seeing a rolfer to help me. She told me that she thought my arm problems were emotional – that the stress I was under was showing up in my body.
She encouraged me to let those emotions go. To really sit with the emotions when they crop up and let my body deal with them.
So, I did. I sat in the bathtub and cried. And cried. And cried. I took many deep breaths in between sobs. I allowed my body to let go of what I was feeling
As I cried, my mind kept wandering off to ways that I could fix what was causing the overwhelm but I would pull it back. I knew that now was the time for feeling my feelings and that later I would try to fix it.
An hour later I emerged from the bathtub, exhausted. I went to bed and woke up in the morning, feeling great, ready to manage my depression in a productive way.
If you are trying to manage your depression, try doing what I did. Sit with your feelings. Let your body process the emotions and let them go. When you do this, you are setting yourself up for managing your depression for a life of success.
#2 – Take stock of what is bringing you down.
A big part of how to manage your depression is knowing what is causing it. If we don’t know what is depressing us it is impossible to deal with it.
So, the day after my crying jag, I made a list of the things that might be making me depressed. I was in the middle of a big move, away from my kids. I had developed a frozen shoulder over the past year. I was going to be on the road a lot over the next week doing presentations. My dog was habitually pooping in my son’s room at night. My boyfriend was going through a really hard time in his personal life.
I also thought about all that was going on in the world around me. The Covid-19, which had been happening for a few months, and the demonstrations and the accompanying unrest, were super scary and made me unsure about the future of our my children and our wonderful nation. Those things were making my depression worse and I hadn’t even noticed it.
It was amazing how freeing it was to identify all of the things that I had going on in my life. By doing so, I didn’t feel ashamed of my depression, ashamed that I was weak and couldn’t handle my life. Seeing all of the things that I had going on made me realize that my depression was merited.
And that made me motivated to deal with it.
#3 – Make a plan.
I believe that to get through anything you need to have a plan. Without a plan, you are going to approach things haphazardly and any success will be purely luck.
So, for me, I had to look at the things that were depressing me and figure out how to attack them.
As to my move – I made a list of what needed to be done. I made a plan to travel to see my kids regularly. I vowed to cut down the number of presentations that I was doing. I would try feeding my dog earlier in the evening so that she could do her business before I went to bed. And I wouldn’t take my boyfriend’s problems on myself – they were his problems, not mine.
And, to manage my depression around the outside world, I promised myself that I would not look at the news more than twice a day and to acknowledge that our country has gotten through worse and that it would survive, even if it took a while.
Making a plan for dealing with my depression helped calm me down pretty quick. Knowing that I had a plan gave me the freedom to take some deep breaths and get ready to deal.
#4 – Take care of yourself.
One thing that I realized when I was taking inventory of what was making me depressed was that I had stopped taking care of myself. I was so depressed that I wasn’t walking everyday like I usually did. I was traveling a lot so I wasn’t eating well. My sleep was off and I was drinking more than usual.
A big part of being strong enough to deal with overwhelm is taking care of yourself. Keeping your body and mind healthy gives you the tools that you need for overcoming overwhelm for a life of success.
So, take care of yourself. What are the best things that you can do for yourself right now?
#5 – Ask for help.
We women believe that we can do it all by ourselves. That no one else can do it as well as we can and that if we ask for help we are admitting that we just can’t do it ourselves.
Well, let me tell you that I know, from personal experience, that that just isn’t true. We all need help and if we can ask for it then we can do anything.
For me, I knew that I really needed to get my arm taken care of because having an injured wing made everything much worse. So, I started seeing a rolfer, an acupuncturist and a chiropractor. These practitioners are not only helping me with my arm but they are helping me deal with all of the emotions that are causing the overwhelm.
I have also asked my boyfriend to help me manage things around the house and have hired a contractor to do what he can’t. I am parceling out my presentations to people I have trained to do them, people who really can do as good a job as me. And I recently got some CBD oil to help me sleep.
I also started seeing my therapist again. She is a good person to talk to about how to manage my depression in the midst of my personal, and extended, issues. It’s always helpful to have a listening ear when one is struggling.
So, ask for help if you need it. Don’t go it alone. There are people out there who can and want to help you so go for it.
Being able to manage your depression in the midst of personal and public chaos can be difficult to do. There is so much going on and so much stress in our lives and the prospect of managing it all can seem impossible.
But it is possible!
Let yourself feel your emotions, identify what is overwhelming you, make a plan, take care of yourself and ask for help!
This is your life to live. Take the reins and live it well. You can do it!
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.