Tiny but meaningful steps you can take to navigate through the darkest moments of depression; helping you regain control and improve your mood.
It was a ridiculously glorious morning. The sun shining, the view from the window spectacular. The breeze just drifting… the temperature at that perfect spot where you didn’t need to worry about what clothes to wear.
If you could describe perfection, this felt like it.
Sam pulled the covers over his eyes. Wishing the perfection would just go away and leave him to sleep.
If you've ever experienced the crushing weight of a depressive episode, you’d know that it can be overwhelming, making even the simplest tasks seem impossible.
Despite the thought of depression as being about ‘sadness’ - instead some really common symptoms of depression centre around numbness and feeling unable to engage in everyday activities. Things like taking care of yourself by eating and sleeping, or staying in touch with those around you.
Depression can make everyday life feel like a mountain. Except you don’t have any hiking gear with you, and you’re really not appreciating the view. Instead, it’s just un-climbable and exhausting.
Honestly, shutting yourself off from the world feels like a pretty reasonable response to this - but is there anything that can help get you out of a depressive dip when you don’t have any energy?
In this article, we'll explore some tiny but meaningful steps you can take to navigate through the darkest moments of depression.
These small but impactful actions can help you regain control, improve your mood, and pave the way to recovery.
Even if you’ve realised at one point or another that you could do with some help, actually accessing that can feel daunting.
You might wonder how exactly can therapy help with depression?
If you’re wanting an extra helping hand, an online psychologist or telehealth therapist can walk you through some tough moments.
By providing you with space to explore your unique background and situation, it can support you with invaluable insight into how to navigate the waters ahead.
One simple thing
Sometimes it’s not anybody else’s expectations that you have to keep up with - it’s your own.
And if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at your own to-do list, then I’ll say it: sometimes that schedule needs to be thrown aside as you choose one simple thing.
Yes, literally one simple thing for your day. Even if that means only getting up to have a shower. Calling your mum. Maybe even making yourself a simple meal.
Instead of attempting to schedule one thing after another, be gentle with yourself - have a look through this list, and choose just one for your day.
Exercise and sunshine
Ok…. admit it, you were ready to skip over this point weren’t you?
Let’s be clear, as much as an all-out gym session replete with weight-lifting and full treadmill marathon would be great - that’s not what we’re talking about.
Actually, getting out your backdoor for a few minutes of sunshine and a wander around for a few minutes can be transformative where you also get the benefit of fresh air and some deep breaths.
Engaging in physical activity, even in small doses, can release endorphins - natural mood lifters.
When you’re feeling ready for the next step, then short walks, stretching, or yoga are gentle ways to get your body moving.
Reconnecting with yourself
When you have moments where you feel you can’t summon the strength to get out of bed, let alone face the day - then first take solace in some self-compassion.
Begin by acknowledging your emotions. Depression is real - your feelings are valid.
If you find yourself in patterns of harsh self-talk, then write down a simple note as if you were writing to a friend going through a tough time. When you read it, allow yourself the gift of kindness: receive those words by being a friend to yourself.
Depression often pulls you into the past or pushes you into worrying about the future. Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment. Try deep breathing exercises or guided meditation to calm your mind.
Keep a journal
Document your journey in a journal. Record your thoughts, emotions, and the progress you make, no matter how small. This can serve as a valuable tool for self-reflection and motivation.
Reflect on gratitude
Amidst the darkness, it's a sweet feeling to recognise something that you feel grateful for.
If you're not feeling it, you don't need to force it (We're definitely not about forced smiles and toxic positivity!).
But if you find one or two things that pop up when you reflect on what you're feeling grateful about, this practice can help shift your perspective and bring positivity into your life.
It doesn't mean this is easy by any means - using tools like these are not a metric for 'success' or 'failure'. Rather, this journey becomes more about how you can be gentle on yourself - no-one will tell you to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" - advice that's both foolish, and impossible.
Reach out for support
Lean on your social network
This is one clear area where your "intuition" to hole up by yourself away from the world is not really a correct or helpful one.
Reach out to friends and family, even if it's just for a short conversation. Sharing your feelings and experiences can help alleviate the burden and nourish that support system.
Seek professional help
Consulting a therapist or counsellor can provide you with effective strategies and support tailored to your needs.
Depression can feel like a formidable adversary, but it is possible to begin to regain control over your life by taking the smallest of steps.
Seek the experience and knowledge of a qualified psychologist, build a support network, and practice self-compassion along the way. You are not alone in this journey, and even some micro steps can lead to brighter days ahead.