Beating the Blues One day at a Time
Over the long haul, you want to look at long-term solutions for your depression problems. However, for the here and now, you also want to try the strategies that work for your short-term needs. The purpose of this article is to give you some mechanisms to help you cope with particularly tough days that will pop up now and then.
One of the best ways to beat back depression is to develop some supportive relationships. Even if you have a spouse or significant other, you need other supportive relationships beside that; if that is the only one you have, it’s not going to last long. That primary relationship has many stress sources that pull on it, and ongoing depression should not be the most important one. Get a friend that you can talk to once a week, or even more often, to get some insights about your week and to just feel better about life. The more people you have with you, the easier it is to thumb your nose at the shadows of depression.
One of the most common instinctive responses to depression is to sink down into an antisocial hole. If you do this, though, it will become very difficult to climb out of the rut of depression. If you are in a running group, a bridge club, a Bible study, a writers’ group, or you have other social circles, stick with them. This doesn’t mean that you have to go to a group every day. It does mean that you need to keep yourself engaged with the world. The more points of contact you have out there, the more people there are with their eyes on you, making sure that you are OK.
Some people find that keeping a written record of their negative thoughts helps them combat depression. This does not mean that you have to sit down every day and cry your way through your journal yet again. It does mean that if you write down some of the negative thoughts, and then you flip back a few days or weeks, you might see those thoughts again. You can remember how you pulled yourself out of that particular rut back then, which gives you a coping mechanism for today. Also, many things do not seem nearly as intimidating on paper as they do when you’re sitting up late at night worrying about them.
Sleep is a crucial tool when fighting depression. If you do not get enough sleep, you will be fatigued and unable to give your best to the day. The reduced results that you get from living this way are not going to help you out of your depression. Instead, life will seem like a vicious cycle that you cannot escape.
Pets have been shown to improve people’s health and happiness. Go down to the pound and rescue a puppy — and rescue your own sanity.
None of these are outright cures for depression, but they all help you eliminate symptoms, one at a time. Use these as accompaniment to treatment from a physician.