Self-Care During Depression

Self-care, or looking after yourself, is any activity we intentionally do to take care of our mental, physical, or emotional well-being. From taking proper care of daily living needs (sleeping, eating and grooming), to engaging in healthy activities (exercise, reading, music), self-care is provided for you, by you, and is the key to living a balanced life.

While engaging in self-care may feel impossible when experiencing feelings of depression, it is actually more important than ever!

According to experts, engaging in a daily self-care routine decreases feelings of depression.

Studies have shown that self-care can actually form changes in the brain to foster recovery of
executive functioning skills, such as attention, decision making, and emotional control, leading to improvement in mood and positive feelings.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate small changes into your daily routine:

1. Start Small – Create small goals such as getting out of bed, opening the shades, or making yourself a cup of tea. Eventually, these small goals will lead to big changes.

2. Personal Hygiene – Sometimes taking care of our outward appearance can have a positive effect on our inner selves. In addition to maintaining good hygiene, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or putting on fresh clothes can also temporarily distract yourself from paying attention to negative thoughts, thus relieving symptoms of depression.

3. Exercise – Make it a priority to incorporate movement throughout the day, such as taking the stairs, going for a walk, or practicing yoga. The physical effects of exercise releases dopamine, reduces blood pressure, and decreases inflammation.

4. Nutrition – Incorporate a diet of whole, nutrient-rich foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, and B vitamins, which help minimize symptoms of depression. Foods that are straight from the earth, as opposed to processed food, can improve mood, provide energy, and increase motivation.

5. Stay connected – Finding time to connect with a family member, loved one, friends or a co-worker can foster feelings of belonging and support, which can strengthen our self-esteem and increase positive emotions.

Try to incorporate just one new self-care activity into your day, and see how it feels.