Coping with Depressive Episodes: 4 Effective Steps

Depression isn’t necessarily constant in a person’s life. In fact, depression has been known to come and go over time.

Those moments when you are struggling with depression are known as depressive episodes. Generally, they last at least two weeks and can have a variety of symptoms associated with it. These can include fatigue, irritability, interrupted sleep, and especially a loss of interest in things that you typically like to do.

When you are stuck in a depressive episode, it’s important to know effective steps to cope with it.

Step #1: Be Familiar with How Depression Affects You

The first step in coping with depressive episodes is knowing how you experience depression. Not everyone goes through an episode in the same way. For instance, some people lose weight when they’re depressed while others gain weight.

Additionally, there can be a variety of reasons why you slip into a depressive episode. Maybe it’s when you feel stressed over how you perform at work. Or when a specific situation makes you worry that others might not accept you.

Knowing why you experience depression and how it affects you can be very helpful when you do have a depressive episode. After all, knowledge is power, and it will help make the situation feel less scary and intimidating. Plus, you will have a better idea of what you need to do to cope.

Step #2: Practice Good Self-Care

Everyone seems to recommend “practice self-care” when you are depressed. But what exactly does that mean?

Self-care is what you do to treat yourself gently and kindly. When you are in a depressive episode you might not feel like thriving. However, self-care allows you to get through those low moments while doing as little damage as possible to your mental or physical health and maintaining a balance.

Some examples of self-care practices include:

  • Keeping up with personal hygiene such as brushing your teeth, showering, etc.
  • Eating healthy meals and ensuring you are getting enough to eat, but not overeat
  • Savoring moments of joy, such as letting the sun shine on your face
  • Laughing!
  • Exercising regularly
  • Keeping your living area clean and tidy
  • Laundry!
  • Getting a full 8-hours of uninterrupted sleep each night

One important note is that it’s critical to also practice these things when you are not in a depressive episode. That way, when those low moments do happen, you are more likely to follow through with these habits and routines. And that will help you maintain a feeling of balance and control.

Step #3: Be Kind to Yourself

When you feel depressed, you likely think you are unworthy of love. And you become way more critical of yourself. However, it’s important that you remember it’s your depression causing those thoughts. They don’t actually reflect reality.

When you are depressed, try to be as kind to yourself as possible. Think of how you would treat a beloved friend if they were in your situations, and treat yourself the same. Practice forgiveness and acknowledge that it’s okay to make mistakes. And remind yourself that there are people who do care about you and love you. You are worthy!

Step #4: Ask for Help

One of the big problems associated with depression is that many people think they have to face it alone. Or that nobody really understands what they are feeling. Yet, that’s not true!

A lot of people struggle with depression, as many research studies have shown. That’s why, when you are stuck in a depressive episode, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Even before the depression strikes, have a friend or family member established to whom you know you can reach out. Regardless if it’s day or night, having someone you trust to lean on is invaluable in these situations. It can make the difference between an episode being a shallow or a very deep hole.

Coping with depressive episodes can be hard. However, by following the aforementioned steps, you can better cope when they do occur. Additionally, talk to a therapist about what type of treatments can help you with your depression. I invite you to contact us for more information on our approach, 256-602-2146.

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