This is for mild to moderate depression, not severe. That's where I am right now, and I've been running into things that keep me from doing things that will improve my mood - like housecleaning and washing my hair.
1. Don't look in the mirror! This is huge. Even if you're absolutely gorgeous - and how many of us are? - you won't like what you see. There will be circles under your eyes, your face may be sagging, your hair a disaster, your color poor, your skin lifeless. (In my case, it's all of the above.)
2. Don't get caught at the computer. Whether it's games, Facebook, YouTube, chat, whatever - stop before you start. I used to be addicted to the mindless egg hunt came on Facebook - what a TOTAL waste of time! I finally just deleted ALL my FB game apps, cold turkey. It was liberating. But now it's Pretty Good Solitaire that can hold me hostage for literally hours.
3. Don't pick a big task. "I'm going to get all the laundry done" is probably setting yourself up to fail. "I'm going to wash the towels" is better. You may or may not get them into the dryer today. That's okay. Do that tomorrow. Take them out the next day, fold them and put them away the day after - if that's the way it has to happen. Getting them washed and dried is the key. You can always pull stuff out of the dryer or the laundry basket as you need it.
4. Don't beat yourself up, but DO look at the things you want to beat yourself up about and see how hard they really are. A simple example: My computer calendar has been popping up telling me to water my houseplants. I snooze it, and snooze it, and snooze it again. After awhile I start kicking myself - why don't you just DO it? The reminder becomes a pain, then a mental blister. The solution is SO simple: DO it. Three minutes, tops.
5. Don't stay indoors. Obviously going outside isn't always possible - like now, for me. I'm extremely heat intolerant and it's 95 degrees outside. But all too often, when I've gotten mesmerized by solitaire and want to lie down, I hear my mind telling me, "Go outside! You know it will help!" and hear myself reply, "I don't care." Which leads me to...
6. Don't give in to "I don't care." At the very least, make sure you hear it. It's important to know your mind is saying it. That awareness is the first step toward resisting it. This might be the hardest and most important thing to stop doing. I confess I haven't succeeded very well, but at least I do hear the exchange happening.
All 6 of these items may not apply to you, and you may be able to think of others that do. But I'll wager there is a silent "I don't care" inside every depressed person. Every time it's said, there's a choice to be made. Try to make the healthy choice even once a week.
Published On: May 27, 2012
Living With6 Chronic Condition Guidelines to Live By
Facing the challenges5 Rules for Bipolar Relationships