When you are depressed it can be maddening to read advice that sounds ridiculously simple. Like the thing you are adviced to do is not in proportion to the overwhelming mess you are facing inside. Still, give this a chance.
1. Cut out sugar
This seems hard, but it’s only hard the first week or two. Once you cut out sugar for some time your body looks at sugar for what it is: poison you need to stay away from.
You can read about the mechanics elsewhere, but sugar is an attack on your being.
Am not saying sugar is the cause of your depression. Am saying it’s making it worse.
When one is depressed it’s easy and o so tempting to grab for sugar. It’s legal. It’s everywhere. It gives you a happy rush. For like 5 minutes. And then your engine crashes.
Don’t fall for it.
Ban sugar from your home.
2. Go for walks
Get outside. For like half an hour. Walk.
Any exercise is fine.
Best is to do it outside.
Again, when you are depressed going outside is one of the last things you want to do, but if you want to feel a bit better, especially when you do this every day, get outside!
3. Saint John’s wort tea
Just try it. It’s not a magic cure. There is no magic cure, but a cup or two of this tea can offer some relief.
4. GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!!! NOW!!!!!! No excuses!!!! Quit today!!!!!!
5. Express yourself. Journal. Scream. Beat the crap out of the bed or the couch with a ladle or a big spoon or a broomstick. Expression is the antidote to depression.
6. Meet genuinely nice people FACE TO FACE and do something together, don’t just talk
7. Clean up your room
The effect of this can easily be overstated as some commercial authors have done, but yes, it helps. Throw a bunch of old stuff out. Declutter.
8. No alcohol or any other ‘easy’ escape. As Gabor Maté says: ‘The attempt to escape from pain causes more pain.
9. Go and volunteer. Seriously, help others, but in moderation and in a structured form. Too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing, so find an organization where you can make yourself useful for like two to three hours a week
10. Read a book about depression. You’re not alone. Many people are affected. It’s not your fault. Our culture and the way our economic system is set up offers prime farm land for depression… Reading the experiences of others can help you break the circle.
11. Some self-help books don’t suck. There is a lot of repetitive and shallow stuff out there written more to make some money than to help, but some are good. Find one that speaks to you. Also (auto)biographies can help.
12. Take the pain. Sit with it. Much like you wait for a fever or the flu to pass. Depression is a sign that your mind is attempting to do some major restructuring. Let it. Give it time. Maybe find some repetitive activity to keep busy without too much effort. It can be puzzles. Knitting. Gardening. A video game. And yes, sometimes binge watching series is better than climbing the walls. Just don’t binge on sugar and other crap food while doing it.
13. Do something completely new. Go learn something. Everything may seem completely pointless, but go learn something new just for the hell of it. Any skill will do. It may be as deviant and ‘useless’ as learning Lithuanian (sorry, Lithuanians, just an example) or archery or I don’t know, learning how to grow tomatoes on your balcony.
14. Last but not least: how is your reality different from how you imagined it to be? Can you transform that bad thing into a good thing? Can you derive meaning from what you went through and share that with the world?
15. Decide to be kind to yourself. Just decide it. Start by being kind to yourself. How would the best, best, best friend there could ever be treat you? Treat yourself that way.