If you are feeling down or depressed on a regular basis there is no substitute for talking it through with a qualified professional. However there are certainly some tips that I can give you to help you cope with those feelings that may get you through a particularly tough day. Here they are:
- Don’t blame yourself for feeling down. Feeling down at times is normal and happens to everyone. Don’t try and push the feeling away or squash it. Allow yourself to be sad for a while because it does pass.
- Acknowledge and accept how you feel, and think about why you are feeling down. We often get down because we have lost something that made us happy. Don’t expect too much of yourself and set some small goals that can be achieved. What has helped before?
- You don’t have to be alone. Talk to someone you trust and tell them how you’re feeling. At times we don’t know why we are feeling down and talking about it can help.
- Try to notice how you are thinking. If you are having negative thoughts try to change them into positive thoughts. For example, say to yourself ‘I am a good person’, or ‘One mistake doesn’t make me a useless person, I can learn from this’.
- Often feeling down is related to poor physical health. Look after your body with regular exercise. Get some friends together for regular morning or afternoon walks or go for one yourself. Exercise releases a feel good chemical in your brain called serotonin. Exercising outdoors also increases your intake of vitamin D, which comes from the sun.
- Look at your diet. Often what you are eating or drinking can contribute to your energy levels. Try to eat lots of fresh food and cut down on overly processed or sugary food. Monitor how much coffee, alcohol or caffeinated energy drinks you are having as this can also affect your sleep.
- Seek help from your GP/Counsellor if you have felt down for at least a month, have little energy, think of yourself as worthless, cant sleep or sleep too much, eat too much or too little, and have been feeling and behaving very differently to your usual self.
- Use your imagination to take time out and venture to places that are relaxing and pleasant for you. Relax, sit still by yourself for 10 minutes, close your eyes and let your imagination take you to your favourite beach, a nice bush land setting or some previous enjoyable experience, such as a concert.
- Take time to laugh with others. Laughter is a great medicine. Try and see the funny or lighter side of situations. Learn to laugh at yourself. Enjoy a funny video or create situations with friends where you know you will have a good time.
- Practice spoiling yourself. Think of something you want to do for yourself. It does not have to be extravagant or costly it could be treating yourself to a new CD, meeting up with a friend for a coffee and a chat, re-reading your favourite book or cooking yourself your favourite foods. It is important to treat think of something you want to do for yourself…a short trip, a manicure, a haircut, buying yourself the coat or scarf you have been wanting. It does not have to be extravagant nor costly. The point is you are being GOOD to yourself, and that will sink in, and a part of your Self will say “Gee, I deserve this, and things are not so bad after all.”
This is not going to necessarily get to the root of what caused you to feel down or blue, but it will make you feel better long enough that maybe you can put the cause in a different perspective, or simply not take it as seriously!It is important to care and look after yourself.