When depression hits, everyday life becomes a strenuous effort. It’s a letdown that the motivation you once had is gone.
But neuroplasticity tells us we can rewire our minds for anything — and that includes how we respond to depression.
Depression may be a sign we need to break the usual pattern and focus more on ourselves and our feelings. Accepting depression and having a plan for how we respond to it can help us get through tough times faster and with less damage done to our goals and responsibilities.
Here are the tips that have helped me tremendously in getting through times of depression so that it doesn’t take over my life.
Know your depression
Depression affects everyone differently. When some people are depressed, they lose interest in eating. Others start to overeat.
Some people can’t sleep; others can’t have enough of it.
Some people become sluggish, while others get restless and antsy.
Ask yourself what your unique symptoms of depression are. Knowing your depression means you can recognize it right away and consciously respond to it instead of react.
Don’t neglect your feelings
When you expect yourself to continue living your daily life “business as usual” during a bout of depression, you’re being unfair to yourself. Your feelings matter. Neglecting your feelings or the importance of them can be a learned pattern from childhood if you were emotionally neglected.
If you don’t break the pattern of emotional neglect, you’re bound to keep falling into depression. Depression serves as a calling to pay attention to your inner world and heal any negative patterns you’ve been running on.
You break this pattern by accepting any emotion you feel and loving yourself through the experience unconditionally.
Being proactive means that when you recognize a bout of depression has come on, you adjust your plans so that your condition is taken into account.
Look at your schedule or to-do list and circle whatever is absolutely urgent. Reschedule or cross off whatever can wait so that you can put more time into self care.
If you can’t accept that self care is needed and you expect yourself to “do it all,” only to punish yourself when you can’t, you only worsen and prolong your depression.
Prioritizing and narrowing down your to-do list reduces overwhelm and helps ensure depression doesn’t mess with the most important responsibilities in your life. Encourage yourself to get these high-priority tasks done as soon as possible to keep overwhelm at bay.
If you get what’s urgent out the way and table the rest of your plans to focus on self care, it may feel like you’re losing valuable time or slowing down much-needed productivity. But you’re actually saving time and energy. Self care lessens the time and intensity of your depression. And, it can even trigger awareness and healing of old patterns that are bringing bouts depression on in the first place.
Depression is a feeling that can turn your mind into your own worst enemy, which is why you have to be your own best friend and give yourself some special self care treatment.
Have a plan in place ahead of time as your go-to routine when depression hits.
Just like it helps to be self-aware of your symptoms of depression, it also makes a world of a difference to be self-aware of the things that make you feel better when you’re depressed.
Having good habits in place for your response to depression is part of managing your emotions. When you can manage your emotional state, you’re in control of your vibrational frequency; and by extension, the vibrations of things and people you attract into your reality.
To get my official training on how to reprogram your responses to triggers and fully manage your emotional state, access it here: Reprogram Your Mind in 21 Days