6 Small Acts of Self-Care When You’re Depressed

A guest blog post by Aizel Corine.

Depression is a serious illness that can affect anyone. And as society becomes more aware and supporting of people who suffer from mental illness, one important ally you should have when dealing with depression is yourself.

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Aside from seeking out treatment and listening to professionals, it’s good to recognize that making a good home for yourself in your mind is an important task. This may not always be easy, but a healthy mind is something you deserve to enjoy, too. Now more than ever is the time to be kind and gentle towards yourself, but if you’re a little lost on where to start, here are some small acts that can help:

1. Take a Warm Bath

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As Kay Carter shared here on the site, studies have shown that taking a warm bath can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Taking a dip in 40-degree Celsius water for around 10 minutes can boost your social and emotional functions, as it can be a safe space where you can simply unwind and let go of your worries. If you’d like to maximize the benefits of this self-care practice, then try adding soothing essential oils like lavender and chamomile to your bath.

2. Keep a Journal

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When you’re in a depressive state, your mind can feel like it’s home to a storm full of defeatist thoughts — and if you keep all the thoughts in, you will only strengthen its course. Writing down any destructive thoughts in a journal will not only help free your mind, but will also help you regain control of it. Journaling can help you understand what you are going through, as you’ll be able to recognize what is troubling you inside. This, in turn, will also help put things into perspective and bring about the sense of peace that your mind deserves.

3. Practice Meditation

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Depression can feel quite debilitating. However, taking a deep breath can help us find our footing again. It is well documented that a breathing-based meditation practice called Sudarshan Kriya yoga can help relieve severe depression. Furthermore, several studies have also found that deep breathing can combat stress, relax muscle tension, and develop self-awareness.

4. Listen to Music

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Do you have a favorite song that calms you down? A study published by the Cochrane Library has revealed that listening to music can be a form of therapy for treating depression. The authors found that music therapy reduces the symptoms of both depression and anxiety. After all, music helps you live in the moment and helps you remember that you are in control. Plus, it’s also a great way to shake off stress.

5. Be Patient with Yourself

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Although the road to recovery can be exciting, it’s important to remember that depression can still greatly affect the way you go about your day-to-day life. On bad days, even the smallest of tasks can seem insurmountable, a fact that is highlighted by Maryville University, who point out the complex connections between mental health and academic success. When the chemical imbalances in your brain affect your wellbeing, they also affect how well you are able to take on the everyday challenges. This is why you need to take a step back and provide yourself with as much patience as you can muster during your recovery process, so that you can deal with your depression at the right time and pace.

6. Take a Break from Technology

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With depression rates rising drastically in recent years, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Journal of Abnormal Psychology released a study showing a link between social media use and depression. The digital world we live in can be mentally distressing, as we spend so much time focusing on the lives of others that we end up forgetting about own. Detoxing from social media will help you recenter yourself and remember what truly matters in life, which is your health and wellbeing.