5 Things I Do Every Morning and Night to Ease My Depression
Maybe your energy level is low, and your anxiety is sky high. The idea of a good night’s sleep might feel like the impossible dream. When morning inevitably arrives, and it’s time to start another day, you may wonder — why bother?
Depression is personal. Only you know the depth of your symptoms and the extent of your struggle. Isolation can be a big part of the problem.
But there is hope. Regardless of how you feel at any given time, I believe a small change here and there can make a big difference. The best part is you can do these things yourself, and you can do them at your own pace.
Here are five things you can do in the morning and at night that I believe can help reduce symptoms of depression:
1. Make a routine.
Are you hit with negative thoughts as soon as you wake up? Do you often feel immobilized at the get-go? Allow yourself to switch into auto-mode. Focus on nothing more than a simple morning routine, and keep it uniform:
- Get out of bed
- Get dressed
- Make your bed
- Go to the kitchen for breakfast
By allowing your body to take over and practice a rote morning sequence, you are, in effect, toning down the confused jumble in your head. Before you know it, you have already performed important self-care and are in forward motion.
2. Eat nutritious foods.
However tempting it is to swallow your meds with a sip of water, grab some coffee and go, you must nourish your body. For some it may be helpful to think of food as supplemental medication.
Some studies have indicated a diet rich in nutrients alleviates depressive symptoms. Key protective elements appear to be iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Eating a healthy breakfast, in particular, is cited as a significant deterrent to the body’s release of stress hormones.
3. Be mindful of dental health.
I believe tooth pain and sensitivity can elicit anxiety and can compound depressive feelings. Maintain regular dental hygiene as part of both your morning and evening routine.
Focus on making the moments you brush and floss soothing and calm. The very act of brushing can be therapeutic if you mindfully practice it in peace.
4. Express gratitude.
I believe the perfect way to achieve peace — even for a moment — is to focus on things you are grateful for. So much of your struggle contains fear, negativity and darkness.
Consider consciously choosing to shine the light on a few blessings. Take the time to write them down. The physical act of sitting and journaling discourages distraction and is positively linked to an increase in mental health.
5. Incorporate exercise
Even a little exercise results in the release of feel-good hormones. If you are workout-reluctant or feel ambivalent about the whole thing, consider palliative stretches before bed. Deep muscle relaxation improves sleep quality and sets a tranquil tone to offset the characteristic hours of anxious mind-racing.
Does it surprise you to discover that many key elements for effective depression and anxiety management are based on self-care? Perhaps the best — and simplest — way to combat symptoms is to focus on restoring your body and allowing your mind to still.
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Thinkstock photo via Cofeee.