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  • Sara

How to Create a Routine to Manage your Depression

Some days, depression can make getting out of bed feel like an impossible task. If you feel this way, know that you are not alone, and there are ways to help yourself.

Sometimes there are triggers and other times a depressive episode can set in and you may not be 100% sure why it did. Subtle changes such as the outside temperature and other weather factors, added stress, lack of self-care and a poor diet can all bring on depressive episodes unexpectedly. This is why creating a solid routine that you work to perform everyday regardless of whether or not you’re feeling your best can help ease some of your symptoms during times in which you’re not.

Your daily routine to minimize symptoms of depression should start at bedtime. That’s right, just sleeping can help! Having an irregular sleep schedule can do more harm than many people realize. While some days it may not be possible, going to bed and waking up around the same time each day can help you get enough rest. This teaches the brain that you should be tired by a certain time, and you should be awake and ready to go at a specific hour.

People with depression often suffer from insomnia, so one of the best ways to ensure that you get enough sleep is to make sleep one of your top priorities. You might create a bedtime routine that involves dimming the lights an hour before you hit the pillow, taking a soothing bath, drinking lavender or chamomile tea or doing a low intensity workout. Over time, these things can help train the mind and body to begin slowing down in preparation for sleep.

After you get out of bed it is time to focus on what makes you feel good. If that’s making a delicious breakfast, taking a shower, or going to the gym – do those things! Start your day with something that makes you happy. Depending on what that is, you can decide what to do next. Even if it means adding an extra few minutes to your A.M. routine, it’s well-worth the extra effort.

If making breakfast isn’t your first priority in the morning, then it should definitely fit into your morning routine at some point. Eating a good breakfast and hydrating is crucial in the morning. When you wake up, your body has had several hours to digest food from the day prior and you haven’t been able to consume water. So, it’s lacking both, and being dehydrated and lacking nutrients can both fuel depression symptoms.

While breakfast may not seem like a big deal many studies show there is a strong link between your diet and mental health. It is important to fuel your body with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbs, and vitamins to give you enough energy. If remembering to eat or drink is difficult for you, try setting alarms on your phone to remind yourself or prep your meals ahead of time so if you have a busy day you can still find the time to eat.

After you’ve awoken from a set sleep schedule, fueled your body in some way, and completed something you enjoy, it is usually time to go about your day as you normally would. Just because you’ve been more mindful of self-care doesn’t mean that you would experience stressors throughout the day that could side-track you from your goals if you let them. You’ll just be better prepared to handle these stressors as they come so that this hopefully doesn’t happen.

When you get home after work or school or finish your duties for the day it is important to continue your routine before bed. Making sure you are eating a nutritious dinner and finding a way to decompress before turning in. ‌ You’ll want to also stop eating about 2-3 hours before bed, so your body has time to fully digest during the night. This is important for ensuring it delivers vital vitamins and minerals to all systems so you can maximize energy levels the following day.

If it’s hard to stick with this routine at first, that’s ok; the most important part is finding a way back if it gets off-track. Try journaling what you’ve accomplished each day and/or posting a list of anti-depression to do’s somewhere where it’s highly visible, so even when you’re not feeling motivated, you’ll have an easy reference point from which to start and end your day.

You should create a routine that doesn’t add stress to your life and gives you time for some proactive self-care. This looks different for everyone, so find what works for you. Prioritizing sleep, movement, fueling your body, and doing something you enjoy is key. Sometimes we forget that our health should be our top priority, not work, school, family etc., because without a healthy mind and body we can’t offer our optimal selves to these other responsibilities.


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