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It can be hard to put depression and self-care together in the same sentence because when you are depressed, you usually don’t feel like doing much of anything, especially doing something that requires getting out of bed or off the couch. But self-care is so important. Self-care can be a fantastic way to help improve your mood, too.
Here are some self-care activities that help me with my own depression:
Hygiene can be something we put to the wayside when we are feeling depressed. Just the thought of taking a shower and all it entails can feel daunting. But just taking a shower can make you feel so much better when you are done with it. You feel fresh and clean almost like a new start. Something that can help is taking your shower at night. This way if it exhausts you, you can go straight to bed. Also, if you take it at night you don’t have to worry about styling your hair or putting on makeup so that will save you some time too.
Journaling is another great self-care tool. Pouring your feelings out on paper can be very cathartic. You can do it in many different ways. For example, you could just do a mind dump where you write down everything that pops into your mind with no real rhyme or reason. Or you can break your journal into sections: mood tracker, journal, dream log, sleep log, affirmations, mantras, self-care ideas, personal crisis plan etc. Whichever way you decide to set up your journal is right for you.
Meditation is a nice tool if you are feeling too depressed to do much of anything. You can download a meditation app and do it while lying in bed. There are many apps with guided meditations, just put in your earbuds and tune into the voice. It’s so relaxing.
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If you have some energy you could try exercising. Yoga is great for the mind and body. You don’t need any special equipment and can do it anywhere in your home or outside. You are probably already in comfy clothes so you are one step ahead of the game. There are many yoga videos on YouTube you can follow for beginners or if you have been practicing yoga for some time.
How about a nice relaxing bath? Add bubbles, a nice smelling candle, a good book, some soft music and you are all set for a half-hour of bliss. This could also be done right before bedtime. Sitting in a warm bath will relax you enough to help you fall asleep once you hit the sheets.
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Lastly, the easiest self-care tool of them all, going outside. Just the act of going out and sitting on your front steps for a few minutes to get some fresh air does wonders. Especially right now, with the crisp, autumn air. Really be mindful of it. Feel the wind on your face. Breathe the fresh air deep into your lungs. Notice the smell of the autumn leaves. You don’t need to stay out there very long, just stay for a few minutes but really take notice of the beauty around you.
These are just a handful of ideas for your self-care toolbox. Taking time to do one or two of these a day can really do wonders for improving your mood and help get you out of a funk. If it helps, schedule one or two into your day by adding them to your planner or calendar. Sometimes being held accountable to ourselves is just the push we need to make self-care a priority.
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