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Strategies for Coping with Depression

Alleviate overwhelming difficult emotions and unwanted thoughts

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We all struggle with difficult emotions, but sometimes those emotions lead to unwanted thoughts and can be so overwhelming that we don’t know what to do or to whom to turn. In times like that it’s common to withdraw from family and friends and isolate. It takes courage to admit how you’re feeling, even if you’re only admitting it to yourself at first.  

In addition to reaching out for professional help when you’re feeling depressed, here are some strategies that may help alleviate your difficult emotions.

1. Establish a routine

  • Having a daily routine can help provide a sense of accomplishment and improve sleep, which contributes to good physical and mental health. 
  • Take small steps. Routines can be as simple as waking up, going to bed, and eating meals at the same time each day. Allocate time each day for exercising or walking outside. Incorporate getting dressed (or at least out of your pajamas) as part of your routine. 
  • Celebrate getting through each day. Remember that these steps set the groundwork for accomplishing larger goals. 

2. Remember your personal goals

  • Think about what you’d like to get done the next few months or years. If it’s easier, start with what you want to do in the next few weeks. 
  • Write your goals down in a journal or display it on your wall as a reminder of the things you’d like to accomplish.
  • A friend or a Ginger Coach can help hold you accountable.

3. Discover what self-care means for you

  • Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean bubble baths or other luxuries. Self-care is whatever works to energize and replenish you. It helps build resilience and prepares your body for coping with unwanted situations.
  • Try to be intentional in incorporating self-care into your daily routine. There are three basic forms of self-care: physical, mental, and social. 
  • Physical self-care could be eating healthy food, sitting down with a warm cup of calming tea, or taking an evening walk.
  • Mental self-care could be taking time to check things off your to-do list to give you peace of mind, starting a mini garden and tending to it daily, or meditation. 
  • Social self-care could be engaging with others at a level that is manageable to you, and knowing how to say no to social situations that make you uncomfortable.

4. Connect with friends and family

  • While being alone can sometimes feel comfortable, surrounding yourself with loved ones can help protect your mental health and be a resource you can draw upon in times of need. 
  • Plan an event, virtually or socially-distanced, where you can connect with others over an enjoyable activity and at a cadence that feels manageable to you.

5. Find a safe friend/adult to talk to about how you’re feeling. 

  • These thoughts can sometimes be strong and scary and it’s OK to reach out and tell someone else how you’re feeling.
  • **If a friend reaches out to you for support, make sure you let them know you hear them and it’s okay to feel that way. Then work together to find them the resources and support they need.**

Remember, Ginger Coaches are here to listen and help support you. You can also reach out to other behavioral health coaches, counselors, or therapists for support. Should you feel unsafe, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.