10 Self-Care Techniques That Helps With Depression Management

10 Self-Care Techniques That Helps With Depression Management
Source – Self Magazine

As someone who suffers from serious depression and generalised anxiety disorder, I feel like I’ve been on a never-ending journey to improve myself. For years, I had heard the word “self-care" casually hurled about, but it had always eluded me.


10 Self-Care Techniques That Helps With Depression Management

As someone who suffers from serious depression and generalised anxiety disorder, I feel like I’ve been on a never-ending journey to improve myself. For years, I had heard the word “self-care" casually hurled about, but it had always eluded me.

While I was aware that I needed — and want — to be more compassionate toward myself, I wasn’t sure how to get started. When I was suffering from serious despair or a crippling anxiety attack, the last thing I felt like doing was making substantial changes to my lifestyle. I wish someone had given me a how-to handbook on how to be nice to yourself because I didn’t know where to start.

I’ve finally established a set of effective self-care techniques that I employ on a daily basis after years of treatment, many hours of Google searches, and a lot of trying. And I’ve realised that self-care isn’t a bright insight or a single life-changing tip. Rather, it is a series of tiny decisions that build up to a healthy way of life.

Continue reading to discover about 10 ways I integrate self-care into my daily routine.

Source - Real Simple

I start from where I am

Self-care isn’t only about expensive spas and restful holidays. While I like getting massages and strolling along the beach, I have to start taking care of myself where I am most of the time – at home, in the vehicle, at work, or with family and friends. Mental illness is a part of my life, as irritating as it might be, therefore I wanted to create coping techniques that I could utilise throughout the day. Making this adjustment in perspective — from looking outside for self-care to also looking within — assisted me in developing skills and self-awareness that I can use to manage depression and anxiety in my daily life.

I stay in tune with my body

Mental illness affects more than just the mind: it also affects the body. Depression saps my energies. I’m weary and suffering from regular headaches. Anxiety, on the other hand, accelerates me. My heart is racing, I’m sweating profusely, and I’m filled with nearly unmanageable energy. Self-care for me begins with monitoring how I feel, both physically and emotionally. Paying more attention to what is going on in my body helps me understand what is going on in my head. If I start to feel a weight on my chest or a knot in my stomach, it’s a sign that I need to pay more attention to myself. Noticing signs early allows me to provide better treatment and frequently stops a brief episode of anxiety or despair from escalating into a full-fledged episode.

I breathe deeply, all day every day

My breathing gets quick and shallow as my anxiousness rises. I’m experiencing physical strain, particularly in my shoulders and jaw. Taking a series of deep breaths allows me to come to a halt and stand outside of my rushing thoughts. Inhaling and exhaling provide me with an emotional release while also benefiting me physically. Deep breathing promotes circulation, the release of endorphins, and the relaxation of muscles. I do breathwork throughout the day, not just when I’m feeling nervous or sad. I like deep breathing because I can do it anywhere – in the shower, in the vehicle, at my work, and even during a discussion. I can take a 10-second break no matter what I’m doing.

I am changing how I look at myself in the mirror

My breathing gets fast and shallow as my anxiety rises. I’m experiencing physical strain, particularly in my shoulders and jaw. Taking a series of deep breaths allows me to come to a halt and stand outside of my rushing thoughts. Inhaling and exhaling provide me with an emotional release while also benefiting me physically. Deep breathing promotes circulation, the release of endorphins, and the relaxation of muscles. I do breathwork throughout the day, not just when I’m feeling nervous or sad. I like deep breathing because I can do it anywhere – in the shower, in the vehicle, at my work, and even during a discussion. I can take a 10-second break no matter what I’m doing.

 I pay attention to how I talk to myself

A therapist once characterised the “negative tape" playing in my brain, and she couldn’t have said it better herself. For years, I was unaware of how much guilt, shame, and cognitive errors influenced how I spoke to myself. Throughout the day, I had an internal monologue telling me that I wasn’t likeable, that I didn’t do enough, and that I should have tried more — regardless of how well I did or how much I was appreciated. The first step in altering the way I spoke to myself was being aware of the problem. I became aware of how often I criticised myself or questioned my behaviour. I once kept track of how many times I criticised myself in a single day. Amy, you’re doing it again, I thought to myself. Remove yourself from the bad messages. Alter the channel. I realised I had a choice: I could tell myself something else. I’m currently working hard to replace negative messages with uplifting comments. I tell myself that I did a good job, that I am a nice friend, and, most importantly, that I am proud of myself.

I created a ‘mindfulness moment’

When I was terribly unwell with depression and anxiety, mindfulness helped me create a place in which I could accept my sorrow while also finding peace and stability in the present. It was helpful for me to construct a “mindfulness moment" that I could repeat every day. Walking Winston, my dog, was the “moment" I created. I concentrated closely on what I was feeling as I put on his leash and began walking him down the block: the chirping of the birds, the sunshine flowing through the trees, the warmth of the air. I was engaged in the present moment for 10 minutes, and the stroll helped me reconnect with my inner power. Observing the natural beauty surrounding me gave me a feeling of calm. I still practise this “mindfulness moment" to this day. In fact, I eagerly await it every morning. I didn’t have to change my routine to be attentive; instead, I built it in.

I take personal ‘time-outs’ when I need them

Timeouts aren’t only for children. I’ve discovered that a similar technique can assist me (excluding resting on the bottom step at my mother’s home). When my anxiety or depression worsens, I feel a huge amount of pressure inside of me. For a long time, I stuffed that sensation down and ignored it in the hope that it would go away. Today, I exercise self-care by noticing my symptoms and giving myself a break. I sometimes need a small break, such as a brief trip outdoors or deep breathing in a secluded place. If I’m with a coworker, I simply remark, “I need to take a little break for myself and will be right back in five or ten minutes." I respect my own needs while talking openly with others around me. Taking these little pauses relieves the stress of my mental illness and allows me to assess what, if any, next measures I need to take to guarantee my well-being.

I give myself 10 minutes of fun

Depression can be very depressing. I’m tired and drained, and having fun is frequently the last thing on my mind. When I’m in good health, having fun comes naturally — I don’t have to make time for it. When I’m depressed, though, I make a concentrated effort to do one tiny pleasurable activity every day. It doesn’t have to be skipping through a field of daisies, just a moment that makes me happy. When I’m making dinner, I’ll turn on my favourite music and dance in the kitchen. I purchased an adult colouring book and like colouring in the illustrations while watching movies. If I’m feeling very tired, burning a lovely candle and sipping a cup of hot tea feels soothing. Making myself have fun sometimes seem forced, but I’m okay with that since I know it improves my spirits and keeps me going ahead on some level.

I developed a relaxing bedtime routine

For years, I’ve had trouble sleeping. Going without sleep raises my stress level and puts a burden on my mental wellness. I cease performing any stressful or work-related tasks by 8:00 p.m. because I have problems going asleep. I try not to have social obligations on work evenings since it makes it difficult to unwind afterwards. I sometimes perform a fast evening yoga practice (I’ve discovered some fantastic free youtube clips). I then make myself a nice cup of herbal tea and go upstairs to bed. I allow myself at least 30 minutes to read before I want to sleep, and I avoid using the internet or checking email. If my mind is racing, I have a notepad and jot down what I’m thinking. When I’m ready to sleep, I turn on my noise machine, which aids with my hibernation. While this technique requires self-control, the payoff of a good night’s sleep is well worth it.

I engage all of my senses

I’m prone to be engrossed in my own ideas and emotions. In therapy, I learned how to alter my concentration by using my senses of sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. Each of my five senses is significant since it stimulates various sections of my brain and influences my mood. The simple act of feeding my senses returns me to the present moment, making me feel safer and more grounded. I take a long, deep breath and gaze out the window at the beauty of the trees and sky. I listen to music, which may either relax or invigorate me depending on my mood. I experiment with various dishes to expose myself to new flavours and stimulate my sense of taste. I use touch to relax by touching my dog. When I’m doing the dishes, I pay attention to how the water and soap feel on my hands. I like to use essential oils to help me manage anxiety. I have a bottle of lavender oil in my handbag and when I start to feel anxious or uncomfortable, I bring it out and breathe in the scent 10 times.

Developing these ten actions of self-care has been a process that is still ongoing. The most difficult (and enjoyable) component of loving yourself is that it is a personal journey. I have to figure out what works best for me, and I’m still learning new methods to take care of myself – in therapy, through friends, in books, and online. Each of these tools serves as a reminder to me that I can live with mental illness and that I always have a choice in how I deal with my symptoms. Every time I choose self-care, I am reminded of two crucial truths: that I deserve to love myself and that I am, in fact, worth it.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/self-care-for-depression

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