Ever wake up and feel like your energy is already spent for the day and that getting out of bed is going to require major effort? Maybe you’re feeling sluggish and with cloudy thinking or have low patience to be with others because you know they’ll ask for more than you feel you can energetically offer. Maybe you find yourself coping with comfort foods or binge watching Netflix more often. This may be how depression looks for you and as a Licensed Therapist who has treated many clients who experience Depression; I know that being depressed can feel isolating, exhausting, and inevitable. In support, I’m sharing 5 unconventional tips to help you improve your depression and energy right now. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have feel stuck any longer?
Make Up Your Mind
Did you know your mind has the power to produce thoughts that aren’t always true? When depression symptoms increase you may notice that your thoughts include a higher rate of negative thought cycles including anger, isolation, hopelessness, or worthlessness. When your mind increases negative thought patterns, it’s a best time to identify that you’re on the verge or in an active episode of depression.
Once you identify your experience of having depressed negative thoughts you have an opportunity to take action to shift those negative thought cycles to positive thought cycles. You can shift your negative thought cycles to positive thoughts by challenging the negative thoughts you experience with an intentional positive thought. For example if you ever think, “my family doesn’t care about me, what’s the use”, the alternative thought may be “I know my family loves me even though they show me differently than I would like”. Challenge your negative thoughts often in order to improve your depression experience. I know it may not be easy to believe your intentional positive thoughts at first but over time and with practice; thinking intentional and positive is a helpful tool to change how depression feels.
Schedule Your Phone Time
Yes, I know we all love our cell phones, laptops, Internet, and social media. And, what if being continually exposed to electronic devices throughout the day is making you more depressed? The more time you spend consuming media without having a structured schedule increases the probability of developing unhealthy coping behaviors for depression. Giving our screens too much attention can cost us the ability to concentrate, to maintain focus, to remember things clearly, to feel connected to ourselves, or to feel a sense of adequacy.
Scheduling your phone use not only helps you to avoid “ongoing phone in hand syndrome”, but gives your mind a sense of order to know when and how long you will be using your devices or using social media. Scheduling time for using your phone can increase productivity. Scheduling phone time also will help improve your symptoms of depression, and boost your energy.
Set Your Home & Work Intentions
Before you’re actively in the midst of your day at home or at work, a great tool to organize your mind and reduce depression and low energy is to set your intentions. If you’re at home or work consider setting your intention for the day to help being home or at work and interacting with others feel mindful. Before opening emails or jumping into work projects think about how you want to experience the day. Setting intentions can be as simple as stating or writing “today will be a day with positive interactions, more laughter, and productivity”. When we practice setting intentions our mindset has the support in place to become collaborative and flexible to experience energetic and emotional success.
Change Your Focus in Nature
It may not always be a sunny day outside but being outdoors is an amazing way to reset your depression or experience of low energy. Many great things happen when you make a habit of going outside routinely. You get access to open space, which allows you to practice mindful observation. Mindful observation is a tool to explore your environment using your 5 senses of hearing, touching, seeing, smelling, and tasting. To make this tip work for depression choose to focus your attention on observing the objects or interactions that you can appreciate, help you feel joy, or that you find interesting.
Going outdoors also has a great benefit of increasing access to sunlight and Vitamin D, which is known to ward off depression and balance mood. Additionally, being outside and away from your primary environment can help your mind to rest from negative thoughts and reset your energy.
Scale Your Mood Daily
Depression is something that occurs on a spectrum of stability to acute intensity. Therapists often ask their client’s to select a number between 1 and 10 in order to better understand the stability or intensity of client symptoms. You can do this practice for yourself as well. Consider locating your depression on a scale of 1 to 10 when you start your day or as needed. Assessing and seeing where your depression is scaled numerically daily helps for you to assign the right coping practice to match your needs intentionally. If you find that your symptoms are low, you have feedback that what your doing is working. If your depression is increasing continually, it’s also helpful feedback to retrace your steps to determine the root issue and to create a plan to reduce your symptoms.
Practicing any one of these tips may be helpful for depression and low energy relief, but practicing more than 1 will definitely give you a greater advantage. As hard as it may feel to tell yourself that you can do much to change how you feel, please know that you can. Depression management means proactive daily attendance. Taking action is the first step. Count reading this article as a good sign you’re already working on feeling better and still have some hope left. Improving your depression may take effort at first and with continued practice and using my 5 unconventional tips you can feel empowered may find eventually your depression management is easy and simple. Don’t give up.