Most of us have days that are great, when we feel as though we are on top of the world and can accomplish anything.
Then, there are the days where life is not so great, and we are filled with sadness, remorse, guilt, anger, or a plethora of other negative emotions. When these negative thoughts begin to consume us, we can easily fall into depression or feelings of anxiety.
Many of us know someone who is taking medication for anxiety or depression. Medical attention may be necessary in some cases, as depression and anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts. It may be difficult to get out of a negative slump, but certain habits of self-care can also help to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you struggle with anxiety and/or depression, here are some tips to getting yourself on the road to a happier life:
- Exercise – Studies have found that exercise is highly beneficial in combatting depression. Exercise raises the endorphin levels and helps the brain to rewire itself in positive ways. Find a style of exercise that suits your lifestyle. You can try yoga, running, biking, going to a gym, swimming, walking, hiking, etc. Getting the body moving in any manner is beneficial.
- Nature – Spend time outdoors. Natural sunlight increases Vitamin D levels in our bodies. Sitting in the sun, going to the park, or being near a natural body of water can bring you back to peace and serenity.
- Diet – When we are feeling anxious or depressed, we may eat out of nervousness or emotions. Or, we may skip meals and not eat at all. Be mindful of what you put into your body. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes will do a world of good not only for your physical body, but also for your mentality.
- Lists– Sometimes life can become overwhelming, and we wonder how we will get everything done. This can throw us into a state of anxiety or depression. Keeping a daily “to do” list will help to prioritize the necessities. Crossing things off the list as we go through our day gives a sense of accomplishment.
- Meditate – People often get scared of this word, or think that they do not know how to meditate. Meditation comes in many forms. It can be as simple as spending five to ten minutes a day just listening to your breath. Give yourself some time daily to be quiet and listen within. This can take place anywhere: on your lunch break, first thing in the morning, before you retire for the evening, in your car, etc. Most questions that we have about our life can be answered if we take the time to listen to the quiet voice within.
- Fun – Life is not all about work and responsibilities. Make time to do things you love.
- Sleep – it may be difficult to get the proper amount of rest when we are feeling anxious or depressed. Or the opposite may be true; all we want to do when we are depressed is sleep. Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on emotions. Getting too much sleep may leave us feeling groggy all day. Try to get on a sleep schedule, going to bed the same time every night and waking the same time every morning.
- Positive thinking – It is not always easy to think positive when we feel as though our world is falling apart. Becoming aware of our thinking, and negating each negative thought with a positive one, takes mindfulness and practice. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of our thinking patterns. Taking medications will not change our thinking pattern. Asking yourself why you are having a particular thought and trying to find acceptance of difficult situations will bring some peace. For instance, if you were betrayed by someone you love, remind yourself that you cannot control other people’s behavior. People will be who they are. Look at all of the other people in your life who are wonderful and who support you.
- Water – Water is vital to life. Make sure to keep hydrated, as that will help cleanse impurities and ward off headaches. A rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2—that’s how many ounces of water you need daily.
These methods of self-care dealing with depression and anxiety can be used without or alongside medications. If you are in recovery from addiction, depression and anxiety can lead to relapse. Talk with your doctor or therapist about the best way to move forward.