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  • Writer's pictureCandice Alston

How To Start Self Care with Major Depression!

Updated: Jan 22

Since the pandemic media outlets everywhere have stressed the importance of practicing self care to maintain our mental health. But, watching Instagram reels of people opening blinds, drinking water, and doing yoga never seemed to resinate. That because with Major Depression self care looks a little different. If taking care of yourself has been a struggle in your battle against depression, then keep reading because this blog is for you!

What is Self Care?

Self-care is the practice or actions taken to maintain or improve your health. Self-care can be any little thing that does the following for you:

1) Makes you feel good

2) Brings calm.

3) Benefits your overall health

I’ll just go ahead and state the obvious…these must be healthy things. Self-care can be reading a book, journaling, a scent, watching a favorite comedian, boxing, dancing, bedtime routines, taking antidepressants, going to therapy, and the list goes on.

How will daily self-care help your depression?

Honestly, in the beginning of my journey I had no clue what self-care was or how I was supposed to do it. Seriously, how was breathing exercises and drinking water going to help stop the intrusive thoughts and hopelessness going on within me? Truth is …it doesn’t. That’s not what self-care is meant to do.

  • Self-Care is going to help you regulate your breathing when you’re hyperventilating from an anxiety attack or extremely upset.

  • Self-care Is going to help you add movement into your day, which will help reduce the depression fatigue that keeps you from doing so many things

  • Self-Care is going to help you feel proud and motivated because you will start accomplishing task like getting out of bed, taking showers, cleaning your spaces, and doing things with your children (even if its just coloring for 15 minutes … it matters).

  • Self-care is going to help you cope on days where depression is relentless.

  • Self-care is going to help you explore and adventure into new things which will bring enjoyment back to your life.

  • Self-care will help you to start prioritizing you.

  • Self-care is going to improve the quality of your life.

Did you know there are 7 types of Self Care?

Each type plays a role in depression management and recovery. Don’t freak out. No need to try and tackle them all at once. Consistent baby steps will be what leads to major impacts that last a lifetime when it comes to depression. Lets get familiar with these 7 types of self care!

  • Mental Self Care: This type of self-care focuses on thoughts and thinking processes. Talking to a therapist, journaling your thoughts, practicing mindfulness are all great ways to practice mental self-care. Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers if prescribed are an important part of mental self-care.

  • Emotional Self Care: This type of self-care focuses on dealing with your emotions in a healthy way. Being mindful of triggers, Setting in your emotions and allowing yourself to feel instead of avoiding, journaling about your emotions, finding activites that help bring positive emotions on bad days.

  • Physical Self Care: This type of self-care focuses on taking care of the physical body. Maintaining healthy eating habits, adding movement, Taking vitamins, and establishing healthy sleep and hygiene routines are all ways we should take care of our physical health. It’s also important to visit our doctor and dentist for annual and sick appointments.

  • Social Self Care: This type of self-care focus on your relationships with others. Being able to say “No,” setting boundaries, checking in with loved ones, and getting out the house are all apart of social self-care.

  • Environmental Self Care: Our spaces! This type of self-care focuses on creating healthy and safe environments for us. Cleaning, organizing, decorating, and removing dangerous objects are ways practice environmental self-care.

  • Recreational Self Care: Leisure time! This type of self-care focus on promoting relaxation, fun, and creativity. Enjoying a book, dancing, puzzles, going to an amusement park or bowling, painting, creating music, sports, and everything in between are all great ways to practice recreational self-care.

  • Spiritual Self Care: This type of self-care provides hope and give us strength knowing love God has for us. We practice spiritual self-care by listening to uplifting gospel music, reading the bible, praying, and fellowshipping with others.

How can you start practicing daily self-care now?

1) Start by setting aside 15 -30 minutes increments of uninterrupted time. It can be first thing in the morning, during lunch, or in the evening. It helps to find a time you can stick with daily.

2) Think of something you previously enjoyed. Puzzles, reading, etc. and start doing it for those15 - 30 minutes. Getting lost in a juicy paranormal novel was my mental escape. So, after work and before diving into the evening chaos of parenthood, I stole 30 minutes in a Wal Mart parking lot getting into a shift shaper romance!

3) Embrace the process of self care. Continue to explore new ways to practice self care. You'll also want to subscribe to our Sincerely Newsletter for tons of self-care ideas to keep you going!

Major depressive disorder makes it difficult to take care of ourselves. We often prioritize our responsibilities and others before ourselves. Not only is this unhealthy but its not a sustainable way to live. We must be intentional about self-care because this is how we cope and thrive with a mind that works against us. So, love on yourself, steal those moments just for you and do it unapologetically.

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