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Do the blues ever hit you hard enough that you feel frozen? You want to get out and move and practice all those amazing self-care tips you have read about. However, what do you when depression has its grip on you that you feel stuck? Lack of motivation and energy is often a depression symptom. It feels almost aimless to pull out self-care exercises when you literally do not have the motivation or energy to get moving.
On certain days, it gets so bad that even getting out of bed becomes difficult, and taking a shower or cooking a meal becomes unbearably draining. Let’s face it, those days will hit, but I can be better prepared for them by doing these few things now.
You really are a warrior, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment!
You do not have to get out of bed or outside the house. Have a glass or bottle of water near you and drink up, and by this I mean have a supply of water near your bedside, so on those tired, exhausted days, you can get hydrated from the comfort of your bed. Congratulate yourself for taking care of your body; even the smallest of sips can make a difference. We do not feel good when we are dehydrated, that coupled with depression is a combination of feeling even more sluggish and down.
You do not need to fill up the tub, throw in a bath bomb, light the candles, and all that jazz. Simply, take a shower and hop back into bed feeling fresh to take on tomorrow.
Sometimes, though we’re going through a really tough time, and walking over to the shower or bathtub can feel impossible. I suggest keeping a pack of wet wipes by your bed. When that bad day strikes, you can quickly wipe ourselves down without having to climb out of your bed. It may not be the best solution, but it beats not taking a shower at all!
Looking up a recipe to whip up when depressed is probably a mission in itself. However, you need to nourish your body. Not eating will make you feel dizzy and disoriented. It can make it harder to think. You may not be up to going to the kitchen to cook or doing anything that might be too involved. I know you can have loss of appetite, so simply grab a fruit. You do not have to go to the grocery store or cook.
Having something to munch on that’s within easy reach of your bed can help you from getting too hungry. It could be cereal bars, breakfast biscuits, or an assortment of your favorite fruits. If it’s a nonperishable snack, you can leave them there at your bedside for whenever a bad day strikes.
Perhaps reading an entire book may seem unreachable, but at least for me, when I am feeling depressed and cannot get out of bed, I have my phone handy and read an article or listen to a Ted Talk. It could be about something completely new or something I want to learn more about. If reading a book is too much, you can try an app such as Audible, or listen to a Podcast. It does not require you to do much but to listen.
On your better days, it might help for you to organize a library of podcasts you can save just for days like this. I have found Ted Talks about depression to be helpful, I may not practice what they preach now, but I can most certainly revisit those ideas when I feel better.
Some recommended links:
Overcoming depression | TED Talks
Mental Health Podcasts
Five Audiobooks That Saved My Sanity
Being stuck in bed can get very boring, and maybe you’re not in the mood to read, or have read too many books already. Having some mindless games to play can keep us occupied without having to think or use any energy. Distraction may not be the cure-all for depression, but sometimes it helps. It will help here to make sure you have a phone charger near you so you can reach it from between your covers in bed.
Depression and isolation go hand in hand and you may not be up to socializing when you are feeling down, but you can find a connection in the smallest of ways. Send a message to that person you trust and who supports you, even if it is just to check in or ask to follow up on that email or text.
Maybe you’re feeling so down that the idea of reaching out to anyone can be too intimidating. Pets are excellent companions and they stick it out with you without asking you to engage in conversation with them. They ask nothing of you and interacting with them can relieve some of that isolation or loneliness. Let your furry friend snuggle up with you on the couch or bed.
Of course, if you are not in the mood to connect with others, connect with yourself. Take a moment to cry it out, write it out, scream it out with the intention to heal and move forward.
At the end of the day recognize the small steps you took, which are actually pretty meaningful. Take it easy, depression can make you feel stuck and down, but you will feel better. Feeling down is only temporary and there is hope. These are only a few small steps you can take.
What I have found useful to get through those challenging day(s) is to surrender by doing small things that will get us through the next day. Most importantly, congratulate yourself for taking even the smallest of steps.
If you feel like harming yourself or others, it is important to speak to someone. We need you to tell your story and inspire other warriors. There is someone out there needing to hear how you pulled through, you could be their line of hope.
Stephanie Lomeli is a Painted Brain contributor and Social Work Intern from Cal State Long Beach.