How I Kick My Depression in the Butt

I have been some combination of depressed and anxious for as long as I can remember. I have been through years of therapy and prescribed multiple medications, but the emotional ups and downs still feel out of control. Oftentimes, I can’t even pinpoint why I feel so low and terrible, but I have found ways to pick myself up, even just a little bit, and regain some control of my mind. Here are a few simple things that have helped me pull myself out of a downward spiral:

Take time to appreciate the little things

 

Even if a day is complete and utter garbage, there are always little moments that are great. We usually ignore these positive things and get overwhelmed by the negativity around us. Taking a minute to ruminate on and appreciate the small, positive things in your day can turn your mood around. For me, these things include waking up with my cat cuddled up next to me or eating some amazing food. It also helps to give yourself credit for small things that you’ve done well, even if you’ve otherwise had a tough time.

Spend time with people who make you feel better

If you’re depressed, it’s far too easy to isolate yourself and avoid leaving your house and interacting with people. When I get invited to do things with my friends, a part of my brain tells me to make an excuse and spend the night alone at home. This has never made me feel any better, only worse. By forcing myself to go out and do things with the people I love, my mental health has improved. I get an incredible energy boost by surrounding myself with people who care about me and lift me up. If you’re feeling down, it’s a good idea to get out of bed and spend time with people who make you feel better.

Rekindle an old passion

We all have things that we’re passionate about and hobbies that we enjoy, but we often abandon them in favor of work and academics. When we only do the things that we have to do, and not the things that we want to do, we feel empty. There’s no reason for you not to pursue something you love in your free time. As a kid, I loved figure skating, but I quit in high school when it became too much. This year, I started again, and I love it more now than I did before. The feeling of making progress doing something that’s fun for me has been great for my mental health. Working towards something I care about and constantly improving at it did wonders for my self-esteem.

Be productive

Nobody likes running errands or doing chores, but putting things off and letting them pile up makes depression worse. Achieving small things and feeling like you’re making progress is great for your mood. For me, cleaning my room after putting it off for weeks improves my mood because I get a sense of accomplishment. The same thing goes for any other task, no matter how big or small, that I’ve ignoring. Knowing that you accomplished something and used your time wisely improves your mental state and self-esteem. Even if something isn’t enjoyable while you’re doing it, the payoff is always worth it.

Depression looks and feels different for everybody and can’t be cured easily, if at all, but there are things in your control that you can do to manage it. If you are struggling with mental illness, seek help from the University of Utah Counseling Center.

GIF sources: 1,2, 3, 4