(3 Steps) What to do when You're Feeling Depressed.
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
I have dealt with on and off depression since I was a teenager. I thought I was unhappy because I didn’t weigh a certain amount or because the “boys” I liked didn’t like me, but in reality, I wasn’t happy because I didn’t like myself.
During our middle school and teenage years, there is a lot to process and deal with, and if we don’t have stability in our family life or receive emotional, mental, and spiritual support, it can be a whole lot harder. We go through so much during those years, most of which we keep to ourselves, which is why many of us experienced anxiety and depression and continue to today.
When I turned 22, I reach what I call my rock bottom. I was unhappy, working a job I didn’t enjoy, binge eating, and found myself in relationships that didn’t serve me or make me feel good about myself.
All I wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep.
In the last decade, I have found myself on a completely different path. I have spent much of my time uncovering what is beneath my sadness, depression, and low self-esteem. I have realized a lot about myself and found ways to not only cope with on and off depression, but to truly heal in a way I never thought possible.
This doesn’t mean I don’t get depressed from time to time, because I do, but I don’t stay in it as long as I used to.
I would love to share some of my tips and tricks that I have used throughout the years and continue to practice today, in hopes that it may help you on your own path.
Before I share these tips, I will preface it with this: As you know, when you are in it and feeling down, taking these steps aren’t necessarily easy or doable. I get it.
The trick then, is to start to practice these tools when you feel your depression or sadness come on. I know it doesn’t sound fun, but that’s okay. DO it anyway!
Steps to take when you feel depressed, unhappy, confused, etc.
This changed the game for me. If it weren’t for my journal, I would not be where I am today.
When we write and get what’s in our head out on paper, we suddenly feel better. Try it. The next time you feel a mood coming on, grab your journal and write.
It does not matter what you write, but that you sit down and write. Try for three pages. If you want more guidance on this, check out my self-guided journaling experience.
2.). Talk to friends/mentor/coach/etc.
I will admit, this one is hard for me. It is scary to talk to someone when we are in the heat of our own shit storm, which is why so many of us resist doing it. However, I had something happened to me a few weeks ago and found it so helpful. I was having a really hard day and feeling down about myself, when my friend called. I glanced at my phone as it began to ring and debated whether or not I wanted to answer her call.
(Note: Make sure the person you choose to talk to is someone you love, trust, and feel safe with.)
I reluctantly answered it. And boy, was I glad I did. Sharing how I felt, as vulnerable as it was, helped me feel 100% better.
I know it’s hard for us to be vulnerable and share our feelings with our friends or family, but when we do, we realize that we can get through it, we matter, and we are enough.
If talking to a friend feels hard, start with your journal or seek out a coach. The more we practice sharing our feelings the easier it will be and the better we will feel.
3.). Love, Acceptance, & Surrender.
This may seem counter intuitive, but from what I have experienced with myself and clients, when we are IN IT and feeling down, a lot of the time we are also beating ourselves up for feeling that way. As you know, this just makes us feel worse. Instead, I like to offer you another approach:
Here is a good mantra to use and practice when you feel swept away by fear, loss, confusion, etc.:
“Dear God, The Universe, Spirit, please take over. Please take this burden off of my shoulders. It no longer belongs to me; it’s now yours. Please show me the way. Remind me of my worth and value. Let me see me how you see me.”
4.). Get outside/Exercise
This is a no brainer. When we are overthinking or overwhelmed by our thoughts and feelings, getting outside is one of the best and (free) resources we can use.
Go take a walk.
Sit by a tree.
Go to the ocean.
Emerge yourself in nature.
Here is one of my favorite poems that could provide you with comfort:
“Lost” by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
— David Wagoner
If you have any questions or comments, please share below. I would love to hear from you.