Living and dealing with depression can be very lonely and it can often feel like there are limited options for help. Therapy and counselling can be expensive, so we've put together 10 ways you can battle depression from the comfort of your own home without spending lots of money.
Find 10 or 20 minutes each day where you can sit quietly by yourself and meditate. There are lots of guided meditation apps or videos you can follow which can help immensely. Removing yourself from negative situations and thoughts and replacing them with positive feelings will improve your mindset and can be your 10 minute island of calm each day. For ideas on how to fit meditation into your work day, read our article.
2. Learn how to talk to yourself.
Challenge your negative thoughts and give yourself affirmations. This can feel awkward at first, but with practice, it really starts to make a difference. Remember that a lot of the time, the way you talk to or about yourself is not how you would talk about a friend of family member. Remember that you are your own best friend, and only think about yourself in a way you would think about a good friend.
3. Vigorous exercise.
The famed "runner's high" is a real thing and it feels amazing. If you are having a particularly bad day or you have not left the house or even your bed in a while, drag yourself out for a run. It will feel awful at first and getting up to go will be tough, but once you get going you'll instantly feel better due to the endorphins.
If you can't manage a run, a brisk walk is just as good, especially if it's uphill. If you are limited on time, try our 5 minute punch bag workout to let some stress and anger out, or our 10 minute tabata workout to just exhaust yourself and take your mind off the negative thoughts or help you feel something at all. We also have a 20 minute home workout you can easily do at home if you don't fancy going outside.
A lot of the time, you'll find once you articulate your negative thoughts, they don't seem so bad. We've all had that moment when we vent to a friend and find ourselves saying "hmm it doesn't sound as bad when you say it out loud." Don't let your negative feelings manifest in your head, get them out onto a piece of paper. Write about how you're feeling, what's happened to you today, what your goals are, what you'd love to achieve. It will rationalise your thoughts and can be very useful to look back on.
5. Feel your feelings.
It can be easy to get stuck in your head and learning how/when to cry/feel angry is very healing. Find music or a film that makes you cry and let the feelings flow out, it's extremely therapeutic and cathartic.
6. Find a hobby
Picking up a hobby and finding something to focus your attention on can be a great distraction and give you something to focus on now and to set goals for the future. Try taking up a new sport or perhaps teach yourself to play a musical instrument. There are lots of resources online to help and it will give you a focus for each day.
We have a beginner's guide to skipping if you'd like an active hobby, or for something more adventurous you could try gym rings. Sundried ambassador Emma's main hobby is hula hooping which can be great fun, or perhaps something slow like yoga might be more your thing. Anything to take your mind off the negative thoughts and give you a distraction can help dramatically.
7. Face your fears
But in small, manageable doses. It can easy easy to retract into yourself and stop doing everyday activities when your depression is particularly bad. Going to the shops or even just going out into a busy place can be all it takes to raise your heart rate for the day and give you a sense of achievement once you've done it.
8. Surround yourself with positivity
Supportive people and inspirational music can make a big difference to your mindset. Don't allow negative thoughts to take over and instead fill your world with warmth and happiness. If you can, try getting a pet, as stroking a cat or dog is proven to alleviate the symptoms of depression and improve your mental health. If that's not possible, watching videos of pets online can be just as good.
9. Avoid mindless/compulsive activities
We've all heard of 'eating your feelings' and sometimes it can be all too tempting to watch endless hours of mindless TV while eating junk food. However, this will definitely make you feel worse in the long run as the additives and chemicals in the food will affect your hormones. As hard as it can be, try to stick to a healthy diet and limit TV to a couple of episodes at a time before you move onto something else, like your new hobby.
10. Take a Vitamin D supplement
In the winter especially, the effects of depression can be heightened. With very limited sunlight it's possible for those metaphorical dark days to become real ones, so boost your energy levels and mood with a Vitamin D supplement. It's proven that taking a Vitamin D supplement can improve your mental health, so research one that suits your needs and your budget and take it daily.