Think about what you can do and appreciate every small step you take to make yourself feel better.
Depression makes it extremely tough to look after yourself. In fact, it’s usually one of the first things to change about your usual routine. In my experience, it becomes difficult to eat regular meals, take care of personal hygiene, and find the energy to do the things I enjoy. Hopefully these self-care tips might make it a bit easier to navigate looking after yourself while experiencing depression.
Be kind to yourself
It sounds extremely obvious, but in my own experience of depression it can be tough to give yourself a break. If you only focus on what you can’t do, and make comparisons with your normal routine, it can make you feel worse.
Instead, think about what you can do and appreciate every small step you take to make yourself feel better.
By breaking it down into smaller tasks, I felt much less overwhelmed and able to get things done.
Change the language you use
One thing I found helpful was to stop saying, ‘I have to do this’ and start saying, ‘I want to do this.’
Using 'I have to' made the task feel much more daunting and unattainable, and I would inevitably feel worse if I ended up not doing what I set out to.
Changing my language to 'I want to' made it feel more manageable and I found I was more willing to do something.
Break tasks down
When I was depressed, I found my energy levels were much lower than normal. This made it difficult to do tasks that I normally would, such as cooking or doing washing.
I managed this by breaking it down into smaller tasks and spacing them out across the day so I didn’t feel as overwhelmed.
- Take my clothes out of the basket and sort them.
- Put them in the washing machine and start the wash.
- Take my clothes out and put them to one side.
- Set up the clothes drying rack.
- Hang the washed clothes on the drying rack.
- Once dry, take them off and fold.
- Put my clothes away into wardrobe/draws.
Sometimes I would space these tasks over a few days, sometimes it would be a week, and sometimes longer. By breaking it down into smaller tasks, I felt much less overwhelmed and able to get things done.
Depression tends to thrive on someone being isolated. It can be extremely useful to reach out and talk to someone.
Speak to someone
It’s very easy with depression to feel like you’re experiencing it alone, but depression tends to thrive on someone being isolated. It can be extremely useful to reach out and talk to someone about what you’re feeling.
In my experience, I struggled talking to someone about it in person and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing what I was going through with those around me. Instead, I used online help services like Shout. I really liked this because I found it easier to put into words how I was feeling.
Go somewhere different
I know it’s a very cliche thing to say, but going outside and getting some fresh air can really help. If you stay in the same environment, I found that I would get caught up in cycles of negative thinking that made me feel even worse.
It felt monumental at the time, but going outside and changing my environment really helped to give me a new perspective and encouraged more positive thinking.
You are definitely not alone.
Struggling with depression can be a really difficult and tumultuous time for anyone. When I was going through depression, I felt like I was alone in the way I was feeling and that no one else had experienced what I had, which is not the case at all.
It’s important to remember that there are so many charities and helplines that can offer advice and support, and that you are definitely not alone.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Free, short-term online counselling for young people aged 25 or under. Their website also provides lots of information and advice about mental health and wellbeing.
Email support is available via their online contact form.
They have a free 1-2-1 webchat service available during opening hours.
- Opening times:
- 4pm - 11pm, Monday - Friday