We should do certain things when we have depression, and then other things should be avoided. I will go through the 10 bad habits affecting your depression based on their effects on me.
My life lessons on depression are quite extensive as I have been at the mercy of depression on and off for the past twenty years. My hope is what I have experienced will help you in your journey to wellness.
I’m not one for lengthy speeches so lets crack on with ten things which could change your life.
The 10 Bad Habits Affecting Your Depression
1. Lack of Self Care
When I am depressed, my self-care can go out the window. The last thing I think about is looking after myself. However, I have to force myself to do this; you can read my article Self Care and Messy Hair, explaining more about my circumstances.
When we don’t look after ourselves, our confidence decreases, and thus, in turn, we can become more negative towards ourselves, which is why even the simplest of self-care routines is needed.
I also have a self-care sheet you can print off showing the basic care plan I follow. If you are more equipped mentally to handle your own care plan, then I advise you to do so as this one is the basic needs for those in an intense depressive episode.
During this pandemic, some of us have little choice, and it has been impossible to meet people; the lockdowns have taken their toll on everyone. There are still lockdowns going on globally at the time of writing, but there are also vaccines being given, so hopefully, the lockdowns will be over soon.
But, depression in and of itself is a very lonesome thing. You feel as though you are alienated from the world. But you need to be a part of the world. Human beings are social creatures. I used to say that I’m a loner, I like my own company, and I’ll be fine. But the truth be told, this was my depression talking, and it still talks this way sometimes.
If you find you are in lockdown, you need to video call people, look out the window, and people watch if your window faces a thoroughfare. Pop to the shop. I got into the habit of having deliveries all the time, reducing the number of people I interacted with. This is not healthy. You need to move out of your safety zone, even if it is to buy a loaf of bread.
If you are not in lockdown, the above still applies, and you need to meet with people physically out in the open, go for a walk or meet at a cafe for a slice of cake.
These things may seem like chores at first, but they are medicine.
You can still get your food delivered if you feel anxious but intersperse it with trips to the shop. The main thing is not to use it as an anti-social too.
3. Social Media
It can be good, or it can be downright horrid. Social media will help you feel connected, but more than an hour of it will not do you any good.
After a hiatus of about five years, I joined a couple of social media platforms, and I had no idea about the negativity that issued forth. And the sheer weight of people who are depressed. Even those who appear to have it all many are masking the emptiness social media can instil.
Some people will value their self-worth on the popularity of their tweet. This is harmful, and if you find yourself falling into this trap, you need to take a break from it. Yes, we all want to be popular, but at what cost?
I, for one, am not willing to pay that price; my mental wellbeing is too important. I stick to several tweets per day and comments to others, and then I leave it alone. If my posts are popular, great, if they disappear into a void, then so what. I am more than a few words on a screen, and so are you.
Which comes back to meeting people again. The people who care about you. If you do not have any family or friends, I’ve written an article about making friends through friendship apps. I know, I know it is online still, but the majority of everything is now.
We might not be able to escape being online but minimising it is a must. We are not created for this virtual world; we are meant to touch, see, feel, hear, smell and read body language. To notice the expression, we are not meant to be staring at a screen for interaction, but to embrace each other.
Online should be a starting point not the end point.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Reflecting on how things used to be or replaying negative events in your mind will prolong your depression.
You need to focus on the now, and there is no better formula for this than meditation or prayer. In my case, I do both.
It is essential you get out of your head and stop those thoughts and replace them with positive ones; sounds easy, doesn’t it but I know it is not, which is why I am a fan of guided meditations and subliminal messaging. I use all manner of apps on my phone for meditation, and my computer is loaded full of them. I have one for each mood I may be in.
[AF] I recommend the meditations and subliminal tools on Jonathan Parker’s website, you can visit him here.
[AF] And if you are looking for a more technical meditation. You won’t go far wrong with the outstanding Mind Place range of light and sound gadgets. They will help remove those negative thoughts. Visit Mind Place.
It takes time, but you will eventually wake up one morning and feel better than you did yesterday, and this will continue, improving a bit each day. But you will get there.
5. Ditch The News
There is nothing more depressing than the news; you have to watch and wait right to the end for the possibility of a nice story.
We are bombarded by news every day, 24hr news channels, social media, newspapers, even the morning tv programmes are filled with stories that create a sense of doom with the odd lightness of cooking thrown in.
Switch your TV off, turn off your social media, don’t read a newspaper, and you will find the world still carries on, but you can be at a distance from it. As an observer from afar rather than a partaker in the latest headline. It would help if you had a barrier, and that is the off switch.
Bad news grips people, and nothing sells more than bad news. It is designed that way. Otherwise, they would start with the good stories first. They want you to react.
You control the information going into your head, choose the good stuff, and the same goes for when you are watching a movie or a series. While you have depression, avoid the horror and gruesome things, or upsetting true-life accounts, they will pull negativity in. Choose light-hearted and comedic shows; they say laughter is the best medicine.
6. Don’t Just Lie There
I’m going to say the word, exercise.
Before I had learned my life lessons, I would have hidden under the duvet rather than take any form of exercise. But that was my problem; I wasn’t releasing the feel-good endorphins you get when you move your body.
I won’t dwell on this subject for too long; all you need to know is that moving that body every day will make you feel better, feel more confident, feel energised and above all, feel less depressed. It is not instant, but it will start to take effect in a couple of weeks.
7. Avoiding Sunlight
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression, and I would advise you to get your levels checked out with a blood test. Your doctor will prescribe the vitamin if your levels are low. It could be your depression is due to a lack of this vital vitamin.
We get vitamin d from the sun, and with our lifestyles spent mainly indoors, it is little wonder many people are deficient—especially those who work nights and sleep during the day. Also, depression can turn your body clock upside down; read my article on light therapy. You may be sleeping throughout the day and awake at night.
Ensure you get outside when the sun is shining, we store vitamin d in our fat, and what we gain in the summer we use in the winter. Make sure you get outside.
Another fault of depression is perfection; it tells you nothing is right unless such and such is perfect. My life won’t be happy unless I have so and so, or I’ll be happy when I look like this or have that. All of these things will lead to depression lasting longer.
Who you are now is enough. You do not need to reach for the stars; they will always be there just as they have for eternity. On the other hand, you need to focus closer to home, and that is on getting yourself better. Thoughts about your past self and who you were and thoughts about your future self will stop you from focusing on the healing process.
Once again, I refer to the meditation and prayer section. I have 35 mini prayers to help focus your mind, and if you are a Christian like me, then I hope you will make use of them. If you are not, then I will refer you to my article Replaying the Moment, where I have provided the raisin technique for living in the moment.
9. Sleeping Too Much or Too Little
I have the problem of sleeping too little, and at the time of writing, my current sleep pattern is one night sleep the next night awake until the following night. I’m not sure why this has been happening for the past six months, but I have become used to it now.
However, it is not healthy, and I am trying my hardest to counteract it. Some nights I am successful, and these are wonderful nights. I am introducing all manner of new things into my life to get a good night’s sleep and there is advice in my article about sleep which you can read.
If you find you are sleeping too much or your sleeping pattern is out of kilter with the way it should be. I suggest you start from scratch and plan your sleep from the moment you wake up; this is what I have to do.
Getting the right sleep is of paramount importance to reduce the effects of depression. If you do one thing from all the suggestions, it would be to get your sleeping pattern sorted out.
10. Avoiding Therapy
Some people will avoid therapy with gusto, and others will embrace it. For those of you who fall into the former camp, might I suggest one therapy beneficial to many? Counselling. It is used by a wide range of people, not just those who are depressed.
If you cannot afford to see a weekly counsellor face to face, some online counsellors are less expensive and do an equally good job.
[AF] You can search online or choose the one I recommend, which is called Calmerry; they offer online support as and when you need it. You can visit their website here. Meaning you can experience therapy in your own home and surroundings you feel comfortable with.
Counselling will help you ease your depression, and I would also suggest journaling as another way of expressing yourself. You can write all your negative thoughts down, tear the piece of paper out, and scrunch it up and chuck it in the bin. It is quite cathartic.
There you have 10 bad habits affecting your depression. You don’t have to rectify them all simultaneously; that would be too much, but just working on one every couple of weeks will see an improvement.
If your depression becomes deeper and more difficult to handle, please speak to your medical practitioner. They may need to adjust your medication or place you on medication if you are not currently on anything.
I hope this article has been of use to you and if you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
Peace & Blessings