Photo by Anthony Tran
The most common question I am asked on my Instagram is “I feel depressed… What do I do?”
As per the WHO, around 280 million people around the world struggle with depression. Feelings of prolonged sadness, isolation, lack of motivation and a deep sense of meaninglessness can make you feel helpless. It is ironic that the thing you least want to do (take care of yourself) is exactly what you need. A lot of self compassion, love and regard for your mind and body can work wonders.
- Try finding the smallest thing to look forward to This can be a cup of coffee, a flower you like, a colouring book, a cozy blanket, hugging a pet or even your favourite sweater. The idea is not to do something drastic, the idea is to find the smallest thing that help you feel grounded and may bring you joy.
- Break down your task(s) into small chunks or tasks that seem easier to achieve If you do not want to shower, washing your face is enough. If you do not want to wash your face, use baby wipes. If you do not want to make a sandwich, eat the ingredients separately but do not stay hungry. The idea is to do things in the simplest ways.
- Catch the sun
If it feels difficult to wake up early, look outside your window/ door/ balcony at any time of the day. If that does not seem doable, keep the lights on in your room/ house. Sunlight helps releases serotonin in your body, which helps boost mood and increases feelings of happiness.
- Send a text message to people you care about
If you find it hard to communicate with loved ones, send the same message to everyone you care about and people who care about you. Example- “Hi XYZ. I am struggling with feelings of …, … and do not feel like talking right now. If you can support me with …, I would be very grateful.” (This can be helping you with some chores/ food/ grocery/ replying to work emails, spending time in silence or anything else).
- Move your body
If a full fledged work out seems hard, try going for a short walk. If going to the gym seems like a task, try a 15 mins session at home. If setting up a yoga mat is not doable, stretch your body on the bed. If changing clothes is a problem, spot jog in your night suit for a few seconds. Physical exercise pumps up endorphins (also called the “feel good hormones”) in your body helping you take care of emotions.
- Seek professional help If physically seeking professional help does not seem possible- book an online appointment with a Psychologist/ Psychiatrist or request a trusted adult to help you do it. A mental health practitioner can help you identify the underlying causes of your distress. They can offer a safe, non judgmental, unbiased and empathetic space to listen to you, develop personalised coping techniques and actionable steps for you to alleviate your overall sense of well being.
Disclaimer: Do not self diagnose with any illness. If you are in crisis, reach out to the nearest hospital/ police station or mental health helplines. Download your free mental health safety plan NOW.