If you, like many of us, have experienced depression, you’d know it is very real and a serious mental health condition. Contrary to what you may think though, it does not last forever. I, myself have experienced this and have come out the other end, and I want to share with you how I was able to get through. Tough times don’t last forever, and its very possible that eventually you will look back on this period in your life and have a much more positive mindset.
Of course, everyone’s severity of depression is different, and if you’re having suicidal thoughts you should definitely get in touch with a mental health professional. These steps might not be effective for everybody, but when I was going through that time in my life, these are the completely natural habits I got myself into in order to get the depression monkey off my back.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
“If you hang around crap long enough, you begin to stink”.
You may be unaware that the people you associate with can be a large factor that influences negative feelings towards yourself, and can contribute to a low self esteem. You should completely audit and assess your social group and the people you’re around the most. This could even be particular family members. If they don’t make you happy, they need to go. For family members, if you’re unable to cut them off, you should either have a conversation with them and let them know that they negatively impact you, or just ignore them completely if they can’t accept the state you’re in and are not helpful to it. You need to be able to make that decision as it will definitely benefit you in the long run.
Find a group of people that are motivated, fun to be around and that make you feel good about yourself. You may already have some people like this in your life – in that case, make an effort to be around them more.
A bonus tip: spend more time around young children and animals. Both are carefree and only worry about having a fun time. For me, I began going to my aunt’s house who had a couple of toddlers who were just so carefree and hilarious, it makes you realise that what actually matters in life is having fun and being happy. I also began walking my dog more often, which leads to my next point…
Spend More Time Outside
It’s scientifically proven that getting out of the house and enjoying more sunlight can lead to a better mood. When I was depressed I was always in my room with the door locked, hardly ever leaving. This contributed to my mental state more than I realised. Your internal thoughts and your external atmosphere are connected and directly affect one another.
Whether you choose to engage in an outdoor sport, consistently take your pet for walks up and down the street, or even just go for a drive once in a while, it for sure beats being isolated indoors. I guarantee this will improve your mindset if you employ this tactic over a period of time. Just make a solid attempt to consistently get outside and interact with positive people and activities.
I found that playing basketball with a few friends every couple of days became effective to me in enhancing my mood, as sometimes when you’re in a depressed state, it can be difficult to work up the motivation to consistently work out in a gym. So getting some exercise in, as well as enjoying myself and having fun was a perfect way to uplift myself and get outdoors.
Get Active and Eat Healthy
Setting a fitness goal and conquering it has been a common way that many people have been able to get through depressed states in their lives.
I understand firsthand that it is difficult to commit to this with such a low self esteem level, but you must slowly try to get yourself into a routine of eating a little better and doing a little more exercise. A coping mechanism for a lot of people battling depression is to eat in an unhealthy manner, but if you’re able to reverse this and try to consume less foods with fat and sugar, you’ll be surprised at the mental and physical improvements. I found that a helpful app for this was MyFitnessPal (pls sponsor me guys) which allows you to track your eating habits and informs you on how to diet based on your fitness goal. You’ll prove to yourself that you do in fact have a great willpower and this will enhance your self esteem.
As I touched on in the last point, going to a gym everyday can be difficult when you’re feeling down, so the way I was able to get into a routine was by playing outdoor sports for fun such as basketball with my friends. After a while of doing this, I felt more fit physically and was able to get into a solid gym routine. The effects are amazing once you stay committed. The reason for this, is body image is so heavily tied into self esteem, which is so heavily tied into depression! So, if you feel good about your body image, it begins a domino effect and you’ll start to feel happier about the way you present yourself.
Set Some Goals and Begin a New Venture
Think about what you want to do in your life. What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals? Hobbies?
You need to get out there and try something new.
Whether it’s starting up a business or a new job, setting these types of goals for yourself and working hard to accomplish them can serve as a wonderful way to occupy yourself so that you won’t even have time to feel depressed! It also is a great way to enhance your self esteem and think highly of yourself – as a person who sets and achieves their goals.
In my own case, I started up a small business and spent all the time that I would’ve spent complaining and being unproductive, on working on something larger than myself. It eventually lead to the aforementioned results and was a large pillar in helping me making it through the other end of my depression.
Open Up About Your Feelings
As a male it can feel a bit weird to completely expose yourself to somebody emotionally. I’ve experienced this firsthand. But you’d definitely be surprised at who relates to you.
I began actively trying to speak to my friends about how I was feeling and seeing if they related. I was shocked to realise that most of them let me know that they had felt the same way at some point in their life, and it is a greatly reassuring feeling to know that you’re not the only one experiencing this. It’s also reassuring to know that it’s very possible you’ll end up as a much better person, more perceptive and understanding of people’s emotions as a result of what you’re going through right now. But this starts with opening yourself up and having a talk with those closest to you about whats happening.
It can be daunting, but if you don’t feel comfortable confiding in any of your friends, speak to your parents or siblings about it. As long as they’re trustworthy and care about you, they’ll listen and that is all you need, as it feels great to get everything off of your chest.
This post is not by any means going to cure everyone’s depression, but hopefully I provided something of value for you if this is what you’re going through at the moment. I urge you to at least make an attempt at the methods I suggested. If any of these worked for you, or you’re going to try them, comment below and I would love to talk with you about it! Even if you just need somebody to talk to, leave a comment or contact me and I’ll be very happy to have a conversation with you.