With over three million U.S. cases per year, depression is an unfortunately common mental health disorder.
Depression notoriously elicits feelings of distress, worthlessness, extreme sadness—the list goes on and on.
One of the reasons that depression is so hard to treat is because, in order to combat it, you have to go against everything your depression is telling you to do. Oftentimes, it can seem like there’s no light at the end of the depression tunnel, which leads many to believe that there’s no way out.
The benefit, though, of so many diagnosable cases of depression, is the equal amount of psychological research that accompanies it. Research that has shed light on many unhealthy daily habits.
By acknowledging and understanding the habits that keep you hurting and depressed, you can learn how to appropriately combat them.
The Daily Habits That Keep You Depressed
Countering these seven daily habits can guide you out of depression and help you regain control over your life:
Staying isolated is one of the most tempting things to do when you’re depressed. Depression tricks your mind into believing that no activity is fun anymore, and hobbies that were once your favorite can seem excruciating.
In order to combat depression, it’s important to do the things that were once important to you. Hang out with friends and family members. Ask them to engage in your favorite activities with you. The more people you let in, the less room there is for depression.
2. Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
While there’s nothing wrong with spending a Saturday afternoon on the couch watching TV, these things can become dangerous daily habits if they’re something you’re doing all day every day.
It’s no secret that exercise boosts our endorphins, so getting out and moving your body can help tremendously in combatting depression. Going to the gym, however, shouldn’t feel like a chore. Exercise by doing activities you actually enjoy like taking a yoga class.
3. Staying Indoors
Making sure you don’t leave your house is another trap that depression can lure you into. It’s not only important to get out and do things, it’s important to do things that involve getting some vitamin D. Sunlight not only naturally boosts your mood, it also allows you to get in sync with your body’s automatic clock.
Doing little things like going for a walk around the block or laying out by the pool for 30 minutes can help drastically improve your mood. When you are inside, at least open your blinds or crack open a window so you can let the natural light seep in.
4. Getting an Indecent Amount of Sleep
Poor sleep and depression go hand in hand. People who struggle with depression often experience signs of either oversleeping or not getting enough sleep. Both of these can have a major impact on your mood.
In order to counter sleep issues, it’s important to set a good sleep routine. Go to bed around the same time every night. Turn off your electronics and all of your lights to avoid distractions. When you go to sleep, try mindful thinking and breathing so that you say goodnight to your anxieties as you say goodnight to your day.
5. Engaging in Negative Self-Talk
Our brains are very impressionable—you can probably remember more bad things that were said to you than good ones. Well, when we talk negatively to ourselves, our brain holds onto those thoughts as well.
Depression may tempt you into saying things like, “I’m worthless and unlovable.” While you might believe this at the time, still try to counter those thoughts with reasons why you’re not worthless or unlovable. If you’re unable to counter daily habits of indulging in bad thoughts, at least try to suppress them.
6. Faking It
Pretending like you’re okay when you’re really not can be very emotionally damaging. Not only will this invalidate your authentic feelings, but it also means you’re not allowing loved ones in.
Depression is not something you’re able to tackle alone. While it can feel vulnerable to share your deepest feelings, you’d be surprised by how many people are eager to help you or actually share your thoughts and emotions. Opening up to your friends and family members is a vital component in conquering depression.
7. Using Negative Coping Mechanisms
Drugs, alcohol, and self-harm are just a few of the many ways people seek to combat depression. Each of these provides ways to numb feelings, which may work in the short term, but will only provide damage in the long run.
When you numb the hurt, you also numb the happy. Making these negative coping mechanisms daily habits for too long can also lead to addiction. Then, when you finally get help for your depression, you will also have the added challenge of seeking treatment for an addiction.
The bottom line is, if depression is something you’re struggling with, remember that you are not alone. Contact me if you’re ready to seek help, combat the daily habits that keep you hurting and depressed, and get your life back on track.