(photography by Will D'Epagnier)
"Anyone can fight depression because the human spirit is a strong warrior."
As it nears winter, depression can rise for a number of reasons. The sun hides more and the nights become longer. Temperatures drop. Holidays can be complicated times. And as a result, depression or feelings of sadness increase. Some people experience these blues just during the late fall and/or winter seasons, which can be a part of seasonal affective disorder. For others, depression is already there, but the winter vibes will still affect it. It’s important to know that these cold, negative thoughts feelings do not have to stay with you for long.
Depression is an illness and it is highly advisable that one speaks to a doctor or mental health professional to best find a proper treatment plan. Everyone is different and everyone copes the best in their own way. This is not a definitive list of ways to help lift depression, but these are some techniques that can be useful. One will have to combine a number of components in order to find the optimal self-care routine. Fighting depression is a tough battle, but it is by no means impossible. Anyone can fight depression because the human spirit is a strong warrior.
Here are 7 simple ways to fight depression:
1. Talk to a friend. Verbally letting out the depressive thoughts can be extremely therapeutic because it distances the thoughts and feelings from yourself. If you feel as though you don’t have anyone to talk to, consider contacting a resource listed below.
2. Practice mindfulness. Observe wherever you are from the viewpoint of all five senses. For instance, take a shower and feel the warm water fall onto your hair, face, and body. Look at the water beads on your skin. Focus on your breath. Inhale slowly, exhale slowly. Notice what you are smelling. Feel your feet pressing against the ground. What do you hear?
3. Express through art. Write what is keeping you down, along with your thoughts and feelings. Create a painting. Write a song. This can help you remember that you have control over your emotions, not the other way around. You can turn the darkness of depression into something beautiful.
4. Treat yourself on a day outside. This can be hard when the depression in you wants to keep you in bed all day, but getting outside and breathing in fresh air can help you remember that life becomes new and changes every second. It can also help your mind focus onto other things. See a movie in theaters. Go to your favorite restaurant. Walk in a park. Visit a museum.
5. Do yoga. Another form of mindfulness, yoga will help your body and mind feel comforted, resilient, and strong. The exercise nature of it can help raise endorphins and switch your focus from your mind to your body. If you don’t know where to start or don’t have access to a class, search for videos on the internet “yoga for beginners” or even better, “yoga for depression.”
6. Surround yourself with positivity. Identify what you are grateful for in life and why it makes your life worth living. Spend time with a loved one who makes you feel happy. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Work on a project you’re passionate about–one that brings fulfillment.
7. Tell yourself that this feeling will pass. Say it out loud. When those dark thoughts come back around, say it again. This will pass. And believe in yourself when you say it. Why? Because it’s 100% true.
Possible resources for someone experiencing depression: