Reassigning Priorities During Depression
The relationship between stress and depression is well established so it stands to reason that reducing stress can only be helpful. Anyone who is prone to despondency needs to consider stress-reduction as a priority, although it can sometimes be difficult to assess where this should begin and what the parameters should be. For example, a quick and easy way to reduce stress may be to opt out of activities in order to slow the pace of things. Yet, opting out too much can become something of a problem for people with depression, especially where this leads to isolation.
Striking a balance is key to preventing despondency slipping into depression. Basically it can be as simple as increasing activities that allow for greater reduction in tension and anxiety, such as relaxation, exercise, meditation, listening to calming music, and reducing activities that lead to tensions and negative moods.
A known feature of depression is the sense of being overwhelmed by things to be done. People find it increasingly more difficult to know what to prioritize and what can be put to one side. It can add to the sense of guilt and failure that things aren't being done, or are being done poorly. If such a situation arises it's time to employ a strategy that will allow you to identify the real priorities and to reassign tasks in order of need.
Writing lists may seem a somewhat clunky or contrived way of going about the task, but when you feel overwhelmed it's actually a very good technique. Writing a list is a measured way of gathering thoughts and structuring them in a way that makes sense. Wherever possible, it's a good idea to enlist the help of someone trusted to help with these tasks. Look to see what can be crossed off the list or done less frequently.
Writing a list can help to organize your thoughts but what about day-to-day issues where decisions have to be made? One general rule is to try not to take on new commitments, and if they come your way, see if someone else can do them. Avoid spur of the moment promises or decisions that may in some way increase your workload. Where possible, say you need time to think things over. The balancing act here is to stay active, which is good for depression, but to try and reduce the pace. This, for example, might be a good time to sign off for a vacation. Even a few days away can help to collect your thoughts about how best to power down when you go back.