Reviewed by Rashonda Douthit, LCSW
What To Do When You're Depressed
Depression can strike anyone at any age, gender, race, or culture. In fact, depression affects more than 16 million people in the United States. This serious mental health condition can wreak havoc on your life as well as the lives of those around you. Depression makes it difficult to work, socialize, and even getting out of bed seems like a major chore at times.
How can you enjoy life and continue on with your usual tasks when you do not even want to get out of bed? This lack of motivation and chronic fatigue are common symptoms of depression and can make your life miserable the longer you stay in bed. But what if you just do not feel like getting up?
Depression Is Unpredictable
It may seem like you will never be able to have a normal life when you have depression. Because depression is a complicated and unpredictable disease that can strike at any time no matter what you are doing or where you are. You may be at a party enjoying yourself when a feeling of sadness and loneliness takes over. How can you feel lonely while you are surrounded by friends and family?
It is common to feel like this when you have depression. Even while you are with your loved ones, your mood can suddenly drop, and you may just want to go back to bed. While it is important not to give in to your depression all the time, if you are overwhelmed and need to go, there is nothing wrong with going back to bed for a while. Not sure if you have depression? Take a test online to find out.
Enjoying Yourself From Your Bed
But just because you are in bed does not mean you cannot do things that may improve your mood. There are a lot of things you can do from your bed to enjoy yourself. Whether you are tired or not, you can watch a movie, listen to music, or read a book. Here are some other things you may enjoy from your bed.
Phone A Friend
You may not feel like talking to anyone, but it can greatly improve your mood to just take a few minutes to say hi to someone you have not talked to in a while. Or call someone you know will make you smile. Better yet, why not call someone you know needs to talk to someone too? A friend that also has depression or some other issue that may be pressing on them too.
Play A Game
You can get out the puzzle books like crossword puzzles or sudoku. Or what about those find a word puzzles that give your brain something else to do besides feeling sad? Brain games like these can help your brain feel better just by keeping it busy and making you think of something else.
Visit Your Social Media Pages
There is nothing wrong with scrolling through Facebook for a while if you have nothing else to do. You never know when you may see a meme that makes you laugh or a post from a friend that makes you smile. Believe it or not, seeing that other people are not perfectly happy, either can make you feel better too. It may seem kind of mean, but when you see that others are not living their best life, you feel that you are not alone.
Join A Group
Speaking of Facebook, there are numerous groups you can join that may help you with your depressive episodes. There are different types of groups you can participate in online at your leisure. Some mental health or depression help groups on Facebook are excellent for getting ideas from others who have been through what you are dealing with.
Do Some Journaling
Writing down your feelings has been a big part of therapy for decades. In fact, people have been keeping journals or diaries for hundreds of years. The first diary of record was back in 1409 when an anonymous French priest recorded his daily notes in what is now known as Journal d’un bourgeois de Paris.
Telling your thoughts and feelings to others may be too difficult at times. Writing them down is a way of getting those thoughts out there without talking to anyone face to face. It also helps you keep track of your emotions and possibly get some ideas on how to feel better.
Get Out Of Bed
When you do get out of bed, you may have to force yourself. But in the end, it will make you feel better. One of the best things for depression is exercise. The endorphins that your brain releases into your body when you do anything physical will likely help improve your mood whether you want it to or not.
Get Yourself Moving
Take a walk around the block, turn on some music and dance, or do some gardening. Or you can just do some exercises that you enjoy like jogging, playing some kind of sport, or doing chores around the house. No matter what you are doing, if you are moving your body, you are increasing those endorphins and that will help you feel better. Instantly.
Soak Up The Sun
If you go outside to exercise, that can be even better because you are getting some sunlight. It has been proven that vitamin D from the sun is important. After all, it increases serotonin, which many call “the happy chemical” because it gives you a feeling of well-being. So, take the dog for a walk or just go sit on the deck for about 15 minutes to soak up some sun.
Interact With Others
While you are outside if you happen to see a neighbor or friend, stop and have a chat. Interacting with others, even if you do not feel like it, will improve your mood automatically. If you have ever heard that old saying “fake it till you make it,” that is true with some things, like smiling and laughing. Both of these things can increase those happy chemicals, so your fake smile may turn into a real one.
Take A Bath
Turn on some music, light some candles, and take a hot bath. Add some essential oils for an extra boost of endorphins. A hot bath can relax you, and music is good for improving your mood no matter what is ailing you. It is a special time to unwind and forget about any sad or anxious thoughts.
Get Dressed Up
This may seem weird but getting fancied up for no reason may be beneficial to feeling better. When you look better, you feel better. If you do not have the energy or motivation to do it yourself, go out and visit a spa for a massage or facial. You can even get a mani/pedi. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Whatever you want to do to look and feel good.
Visit A Friend Or Loved One
Take some time to go see someone you know will cheer you up. Do not visit anyone who will bring you down. We all have those friends and loved ones who say things that make us feel worse even though they don’t mean to. Like those who say, “You have a great life, you can’t be depressed. Get over it.” Of course, if it was that simple, we would all be full of sunshine and happiness all the time.
Help Someone Else
Do you have a friend, relative, or neighbor who is down? Or maybe somebody you know needs a break or some financial help. Take a meal to someone or get them some essentials that you know they need. If you do not know anyone who needs help, go to a homeless shelter or food bank and help out. They always need volunteers. You may be surprised how great it makes you feel to help someone else.
Play With Your Pet
Take your dog for a walk or a trip to the dog park. Give your cat some catnip and dangle a toy in front of them. If you do not have a pet, go to the local animal shelter and play with some. You do not have to bring one home. Just ask to visit with one or two of them and play for a while. Pets increase those happy hormones too.
Try Some Meditation Or Yoga
Believe it or not, meditation or yoga are both great ways to increase those happy hormones as well. If you do not know how to do either of these, just Google it. You can learn how to do anything online. YouTube even has videos to take you through it step by step. Try it and see if it helps. You may find a new activity you can do every day that will help your body and your mind.
Talk To Someone
Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than it is to talk to a loved one. You may feel like your friends or family are just humoring you and telling you what they think you want to hear. That is not what you need. You can talk to a professional online without even having to leave your house. Or your bed. They are available 24 hours a day, and it can be completely anonymous. If you're unsure if you are struggling with depression, you can take our quick online test to find out.