Picture this. You start to wake up, groggily blinking until your eyelids are able to peel themselves apart long enough for your brain to reluctantly decide it’s time to leave dreamland. It’s another day, but like most days, you don’t feel like facing it. And in reality, it’s been a long time since you’ve been able to wake up with a smile on your face.
If you can relate, even just a little bit, I urge you to keep reading. The information below comes from personal experience—so don’t let me exposing myself go to waste. Instead, maybe take it as a sign that you are not alone.
8 Steps to Becoming the Boss over your Depression:
- Actually get out of bed. I know it sounds scary, but I promise you will be okay.
- Change your surroundings. Go out into the world beyond the walls of your bedroom.
- Start a gratitude journal. Focus on the small things you can be thankful for.
- Lose your comparative mindset. Don’t let other people control your happiness.
- Text that person you left “on read” a month ago. Self-care starts with caring about others first.
- Do something you’ve always been afraid to (within reason). This one is up to you!
- Set goals. Make a list of things you want to accomplish—and do it.
- Stop playing sad music. Replace negative things with positive ones.
Actually Get Out of Bed
This, my friends, is step one. Sometimes it can feel like getting out of bed is the biggest chore. I get it. But it’s only a feeling. When I would go through phases of rarely leaving the comfort of my bed and only stumbling out of it to feed myself, my coffee addiction or when I absolutely had to—it wasn’t helping me. But as soon as you can make this step, it opens doors that you probably didn’t know you had the strength to walk through. And don’t stop there. Clean your room, do some laundry, organize that pile of papers you’ve left untouched for weeks. Celebrate in your accomplishments no matter how small—after all, baby steps are still steps.
Change Your Surroundings
There’s a big, great, beautiful world outside the walls of your bedroom. Don’t miss it. Once your mind begins to start swimming out of the fog that kept you from experiencing it all, soak it in. Walk outside. Look at the trees. Watch as sunlight peaks through their branches casting a shadowy dance on the ground beneath them. No trees where you live? Take a vacation—it doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable. If you like oceans, go find one! Dig your toes into the sand and let the salty aroma of seawater tickle your nose. Not only will you start to notice the beauty found in the changes of your surroundings, but I guarantee you will also begin to see real positive changes in your mindset.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Now that you’ve begun to allow yourself to see colors again instead of letting the black cloud of depression cast its gloom over your life, consider starting a gratitude journal. Be deliberate about focusing on the small things you can be grateful for. There’s a lot of them. I’ll even help you start. The fact that you are reading this right now means that you were gifted with the ability to use your eyes to see: the gift of sight. Moreover, you probably had access to tools that helped you learn how to read. These are things to be thankful for. When you focus on the good things around you, the bad things tend to fade away.
Write that down.
Lose Your Comparative Mindset
If you thought the topic of social media was going to come up—you deserve a gold star. While I believe that the “comparison trap” has been around since the beginning of time, I also believe that it has never been an easier trap to fall into than it is now. Scrolling through social media platforms, it can become so easy to get caught up in what you don’thave versus what others do have (if it’s even true). Instead of being a fun place to share photos and life updates, it can be a breeding ground for jealousy. If you are nodding along and relating to this, I suggest taking one or more of the following actions:
- Take a social media break—I’ve personally never tried this for more than a day or two, but I think it would be very beneficial (so I’ve heard)
- Unfollow those who are toxic triggers for your mind (I recently unfollowed over 80 people/accounts for this very reason and am loving it!)
- Try celebrating the accomplishments and lives of those you follow—this is what I call #goals
Don’t let other people control your happiness.
Text that Person You Left “On Read” a Month Ago
Someone close to me used to always be on my case regarding my frequent habit of forgetting to text people back for weeks or sometimes even months after receiving a message from them. To me, it felt much too awkward to respond after such a long time had passed. So many times, I didn’t. Unsurprisingly, it caused many of my relationships with these people to become stale—or even disappear completely.
In all transparency, pushing people away was a side effect of depression that I hadn’t anticipated. Ironically though, I have discovered that healing and self-care starts with caring about others first. It takes a friend to be a friend. So no matter how awkward it is or how long it’s been, text that person back. Be a friend.
Do Something You’re Afraid to (Within Reason)
Sometimes you just have to do something a little “crazy” or out of your comfort-zone. Maybe you’ve never been on a rollercoaster before because you’re afraid of heights. Or maybe you’ve been too scared to say hello to that cute cashier at your local grocery store. For me, I had always wanted to play around with more unconventional colors in my hair—but was afraid of what others would say. So one day, I decided to put aside my fears and color my hair with temporary pink hair dye. While it was still only temporary, it brought me to a place that boosted my confidence and made me realize that life can actually be pretty fun when you let go of fear.
So ride that rollercoaster, say hello to that cashier, dye your hair pink. It’s things like this that keep life a little more interesting.
There is so much to look forward to and life is too short to spend living alone in the darkness. Do yourself a favor and set up a list of goals and things you want to accomplish. Check it every so often and see what happens.
You’ll be happy you did.
Stop Playing Sad Music
For goodness sake, stop playing sad music! This can only do more harm than good—no need to add more depressing thoughts to the fire. Instead, try listening to more upbeat tunes. Personally, I like listening to worship music to feed my soul. Try to practice replacing negative things with positive ones. Take care of yourself. Do a workout, try eating healthier foods, take a bubble bath—listen to what your body tells you it needs.
Lastly, don’t get upset when you still have bad days. Everyone does. But just remember—it’s up to you to decide if you’ll give the bad days power over your life or not.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Lauren Elisabeth Osterhoudt (author) from Fairfax, VA on February 13, 2020:
Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. It means so much coming from such a great writer like yourself.
Also--thank you for being my first follow. I am still trying to learn how to navigate myself on this vast platform. I appreciate all your comments! Thank you.
Val Karas from Canada on February 09, 2020:
Lauren -- Looking at your pretty smiling face on your Profile photo, I can't put that face and depression together -- but behind it must be a deep spirit capable of making that smile a part of your intimate reality.
I am also amazed at your style, your knowledge of human nature and mechanism of depression. It was a pleasure reading your hub, so please, go on, go creative and keep writing.
P.S./ Don't mind that "pretty" up there, I am 75, but I am not blind yet and not scared to give compliments.