Depression tips are what everyone who suffers from the dreaded disease is looking for, right? Why? Because depression is the mother of all things evil. Because it’s a mind thing, it can really screw you up. And by really, I mean overboard. The mental flu is relentless, unforgiving and most of the time, stealthy. You’re barely getting over an episode before another one comes and takes over you.
Depression can feel like it’s taking over your life as a whole, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes a slight smell, action or sound can trigger a whole wave of emotions. It usually happens in the most inappropriate of places, like the workplace, a parent teacher meeting, a date or a social gathering. What can you do when that happens?
Here are 11 depression tips for things you can do now, or in the moment, when you’re suddenly overwhelmed by a depressive episode.
Music (one of the best depression tips ever)
Nothing speaks to the soul more than music. It gets you when no one else around you does. Music puts into words what you fail to. It breathes life into emotions that lay dormant within you. Moreover, it can even heal pain and reduce stress levels. Music is life. Even scholarly people agree.
Receptive music therapy helps music listeners to express themselves artistically while listening to soothing music. It must be noted that listening to sad music can actually aggravate depression. So no emo, punk or music that’ll make you think of all the reasons why your life is a real pain in the ass.
You could also play a musical instrument to aid in healing. Making music in this way is another artistic way you, as a depressed person, can express yourself. The best part? You don’t hurt yourself or others.
You know that feeling you get after you’ve had a really good meal? No, not the itis, even though that can be a great feeling on a warm, Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about that warm, nostalgic feeling of goodness, happiness, and calm after eating a favorite childhood home-cooked meal with loved ones? Yeah. Great feeling, isn’t it?
Remember, though, not to overdo the good food. Overeating will just contribute to other health diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc. etc. Eat well, but in moderation. Rather have six small meals spaced out throughout the day than three huge meals that have you feeling and looking like a whale that’s just come from an all-you-can-eat trip.
Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and oils with little-processed meats, can help reduce depression. Other studies also show that there is a correlation between fermented foods and depression. Bring on the kimchi and sauerkraut! So eat well and depression won’t like you as much.
Epsom salt/essential oil baths
With a body raked by vitamin deficiencies, salt baths have been a godsend. I have also learned to take in more magnesium supplements. This has done wonders for me in so many ways, it needs to be in a separate post.
Taking Epsom salt baths three times a week helps:
- Detoxify the body because we all know how sick and nasty our insides get thanks to all the processed foods we consume and the tainted air we breathe, and
- Helps your body absorb magnesium that is usually deficient in depression sufferers.
I can say this works because I have experienced these very benefits.
Essential oils are just as good if not better. It’s best to take them in your bath (a few drops, please, and not the whole bottle). Great essential oils to try are lavender and chamomile. Not only do they smell wonderful, but they actually put your body at ease, which is exactly what you want to do. Sage, lemon, and Ylang-Ylang are other oils you can try. Be sure to contact your physician before you try them as a safety precaution.
Black people have been dancing since the beginning of time. You just have to look at the African continent and know this for a fact. Whether it’s in traditional wear, loin clothes or nothing at all, dancing is the very rhythm and beat of what we do. Even the way we walk is a dance. For example, those who have been blessed by the Almighty with hips swing them from side to side to a silent beat that goes whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, while the rest of us just look on in, sometimes, enviable wonder.
As an art form, dancing is probably one of the most effective ways for us to express ourselves safely. There is usually no judgment (unless of course, you’re Diddy, Mary J. Blige or Drake, then I’m sorry, you had it coming). You just move as the beat moves you to move.
Dance/Movement Therapy Sessions have now become a thing. You have a warm up, dance routines followed by a cool down. This would be great if you like dancing in groups and need encouragement.
Whatever form you decide to go with, dance. Dance because you can; because it’s safe. Dance because you’re feeling some emotion; because you can express yourself. Dance just because.
Art in the form of pictures, abstract or otherwise, is another powerful way a depressed person can express themselves. Vincent van Gogh, the famous artist who cut off his ear for a woman, suffered from depression and look at what he produced. Needless to say, depression can be a driving force in the creative world. For the good of humanity at that.
Edvard Munch who created ‘The Scream’” is another artist who suffered from depression. The point is you can be depressed and create works of art that will be loved and adored by millions the world over. And no, not when you’re dead. That’s just morbid.
The best thing about living in this day and age is how depressed people like us have created art projects focused on depression, the good, the bad and the ugly about it. We’re not alone. That thought alone is comforting. And studies show that art helps with depression. Go figure.
Poetry slams, in my opinion, are one of the best initiatives created by mankind. It’s a platform for like-minded individuals to share stories, pain and healing through words flowing so eloquently, cuttingly and quickly. They have garnered more and more attention over the years and have become a prominent feature of black culture.
So important are poetry readings they have been found to ‘cut depression rates.’ Poetry is so many things: it’s therapeutic, life-changing, expressive and cognitive. Poetry helped this one person heal from depression.
Even better than reading poetry to yourself is listening to poetry. That’s why poetry slams are so bomb. You hear the way the poet speaks fast, slow, quick, angrily, smoothly and excitedly and you get caught up in the tale. You can’t wait for them to reach the climax and when they do, you realise you were never ready, but you’re fine with that. That’s the excitement of it all.
Do yourself a favour and start writing poetry today. Even haiku is fine, 5,7,5 lines.
Scented candles are not only good for romantic nights for two. They can alleviate stress and anxiety like you would not believe. Kind of like incense sticks, wouldn’t you say? The sweet aroma that fills the air could be just what you need to clear your head. Caution must be taken if you have allergies or can’t handle strong smells. Scented candles might rub you up the wrong way. So be warned.
Scents are closely related to your brain and memory and emotions. That’s why when you smell a certain scent it can bring good memories or bad ones. -*cue “so sick of love songs” and roll eyes*
Scented candles you can try are Lavender, Bergamot, Sandalwood and Ylang-Ylang. Spoil yourself this weekend. Run a warm bath with an essential oil, top it off with a scented candle, soothing music, a glass of wine and you’re good to go.
Read a book (one of my favorite depression tips!)
Books take you to places you would normally only dream of. Thanks to technology, you can “visit” a place without physically being there. I’m talking about Google Maps in case I lost you. But nothing will take what books can do. It’s hard to beat the imagination really. Perhaps making imagination reality trumps it, but that’s a longshot.
This method is actually a prescription from doctors nowadays. Why? Because reading is a way for people to connect with others and the world around them. This makes sense because depression makes you feel like you’re all alone. Reading reminds you you’re not. Powerful, isn’t it?
As a bonus, here’s a link to books for anxiety and depression that actually help, according to someone who read them and felt better afterward.
I cannot stress this enough. A lot of the cartoons from the 90s were very real. We had Hey Arnold!, Ed Edd n’ Eddy, As Told by Ginger, Samurai Jack and Tom and Jerry. Try watching them now as an adult and I guarantee you’ll cry yourself silly. You won’t believe how many old cartoons I’ve been watching and how they relate to my life now and then.
Some benefits that therapists give of watching cartoon shows are:
- A reminder that there is a good side to everything
- A break from the norm
- Relief from the daily stresses of being an adult
- The ability to be and think like a kid again
Interestingly, individuals also talk about how watching cartoons benefits them tremendously. One person even mentioned that they are “more sincere, creative and light-hearted.”
Bottom line: do yourself a favour and download all your favourite cartoons and binge watch with some good snacks. It’s a healthy way to escape life’s harsh realities.
Have a Love Your Inner Child Day
This depression tip going to be a thing. In other words, every week or month, we’re going to look at how we can love our inner child. What does it mean?
- Embracing the innocent you
- Knowing who you are at your most vulnerable
- Being a kid again
You’re tired from work. Your boss yelled at you for something you didn’t do. You missed a deadline and the whole team is furious at you. You forgot to pay your bills and lost some of your furniture. Your kids’ father is harassing you and your landlord is bugging you for your time. It’s all too much. What should you do?
Be a child. That could mean a lot of things, but right now it means, TAKE IT EASY. Take one thing at a time. Ask for help. Sleep. Cry and try again. Love your inner child and don’t let the evil
Take one thing at a time. Ask for help. Sleep. Cry and try again. Love your inner child and don’t let the evil
Ask for help. Sleep. Cry and try again. Love your inner child and don’t let the evil bogeyman get to your most precious, innocent being.
Look at the stars
This one might seem confusing but it’s really not. This simply means use nature to overcome your bad feelings. This can take a variety of forms.
- Take a walk around the block or the park if you’re fortunate enough to have one (please, ladies, a safe one so you’re not another statistic. These streets ain’t loyal).
- Play with pets. Maybe not quite nature in terms of trees and grass, but animals are part of wildlife. Go for a walk or run with your pet or play with him/her in the grass in the back yard. A cuddle might be all you need. Just touch a pet.
- Go for hikes. The clean air up in the mountains will clear your head and body as you expel the toxins from your worn-out body.
Again, the benefits speak for themselves. One person explains how nature is a healthy and welcome distraction. The song of a robin and the fresh breeze perk up their mood. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, hectic or extravagant. It must just be done.
Take a moment to decide what time of day you will take to walk and breathe in fresh, clean air. I try and walk every evening, when it’s quiet outside, and I can see the stars, with as few distractions in the way of human beings, as possible. It could be the difference between being stuck in your depressive mood and returning to ‘normal.’
You CAN Deal With Depression Successfully!
You see? Dealing with depression doesn’t have to be hard. Happily, these tips are mostly cost-effective and you can do them on your own, as and when you need them. So, if you need a partner, then by all means partner up. The important thing is to do one of them if not most. If you can do all of them, hip, hip, HOORAY!
What did you think about these depression tips for mental illness? Do you like them? Have you tried any of them? Do you have any others you’d like to suggest? Share your thoughts below.