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5 Self-Care Tips for When Depression Hits

Depression can often make me have poor hygiene. When I go through a lull, the last thing I care about is my health and wellness. I want to stay in bed all day, pull the covers over my head, turn the light out and retreat from all responsibilities. And while I can’t fix the part of my brain that make me feel depressed, I have committed to forcing myself to do five easy self-care things. Doing these things helps keep me physically healthy and makes my bad days a little more manageable.

Here’s what I do:

1. Wash my face.

For me, it’s hard to find energy to do the simple things and it’s so much easier to say, “Forget it. It’s not that dirty.” Washing my face is refreshing and oddly enough, gives me the sense I can actually get through the day. Keeping my pores empty and clean is a small sense of accomplishment – and I need that!

2. Drink a tall glass of water.

It’s easy to skip meals and get dehydrated when I’m depressed. I don’t have the motivation to cook or go to the grocery store. Even if I’m having trouble with meals, I’ve committed to drinking a tall glass of water in the morning to quench my thirst and keep all of my organs happy. Studies show water actually reduces fatigue, flushes out toxins and improves mood — all things I desperately need in the throes of depression.

3. Shut my phone off for at least an hour.

For me, stress and anxiety can be greatly enhanced by the constant dinging of my phone. Can you do this? or Did you see this? constantly fill my text messages, inbox and Facebook. Shutting down for a little bit and enjoying a moment of peace can relieve tension and reduce some feelings of anxiety.

4. Do one thing around the house.

I can’t tackle my bedroom, laundry, raking and cleaning the bathroom all in one day, but I can pick up one article of clothing or sweep the floor. Doing something small, easy and fast that will make a noticeable difference in my home can make me feel good. For me, accomplishing something productive, even a small act, can help ward off some feelings of depression.

5. Force a smile.

Maybe it feels like I have nothing to smile about because my depression is so acute and severe. But I do have the ability to use my face muscles to force a smile. Even forced, a smile produces endorphins which elevate mood. I make it a practice to force a smile at least 10 times a day. And if it’s real, all the better!

With these five simple tasks, I have found myself better able to cope with my depression on the really rotten days when I physically can’t power through a to-do list or manage to get out of the house.

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Thinkstock photo via fizkes.