Do you know how to beat depression? It’s not getting around laziness or temporarily feeling bad. Depression is a medical illness that strikes everyone with clear symptoms of irritable mood, sleeping problems, lack of interest, low self-worth, and low energy. While there are medical treatments out there, antidepressants don’t work for everyone, and in fact, some say that depression treatments can actually do more harm than good.
So how can you motivate yourself to get out of depression without medication? We’ve got some ideas to get you out of a slump without any antidepressants necessary.
1. Find Ways to Be of Service to Others
In some cases, it’s not about us or even how we feel. It may be that we want to be a part of something greater that gives us a new meaning. It doesn’t have to be a big service commitment, but it should be something that inspires you to wake up and seek out new goals.
2. Picture the Successful You
While we’re not saying that money can buy happiness, it’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on the side of the street.
What does the “celebrity” you look like? Many celebrities have spoken out recently about their own trials with depression, and while not everything can be cured with money, there are many who say that money can buy you more time to do the things you love to do. Since a lot of celebrities struggled early on with poverty, they were eventually able to achieve a higher net worth and find happiness in their success.
Being more successful isn’t always about your net worth. It could be that you own a business or that you started a family. Whatever success looks like to you, why not map it out with a vision board or just write down your goals? You can use it to help you build workable goals.
3. Create Workable Goals for Yourself
Most people set unrealistic goals because they can’t stop thinking about the “perfect” life due to depression. When this happens, you just need a more realistic formula to help you find goals that will lead to results. You can build on these goals to create even bigger results as you work through depression. While this is a longer road than using medication, it’s actually more beneficial because you teach your brain that you can do things again, that you do have interests, and that you can achieve success.
To create workable goals, you should be able to see how easy it is to accomplish them. For some, it’s creating a morning routine that they’ve neglected because of depression. This might be getting up at a certain time, eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and getting dressed in your favorite outfit. These are controllable, manageable, and realistic goals for someone who is struggling to get out of bed.
Here is the method:
- Set a goal that doesn’t depend on anyone else. You fully control the outcome.
- Pick a goal that is manageable and doesn’t overwhelm you. For example, you want to lose 100 pounds in three months, but that requires extremely unhealthy expectations. You should instead pick a small goal like losing 5 pounds or replacing soft drinks with water.
- Choose goals that are realistic for you. Perhaps you’re not being honest about what really matters to you. These goals should make you happy and excited to move forward.
- Measure the results. You know whether or not you are achieving your goals, so you should be able to measure the success clearly.
Instead of looking at goals as “all or nothing,” you should adopt an attitude of what you learned from it. Depression only grows stronger when you call yourself a failure or belittle yourself over something as simple as your own ambition. Life is a learning experience, so be gentle with yourself as you move through these goals. You can only focus on what makes you happy and allows you to move forward.
4. Focus on the Present and Give Yourself a Break
Beating depression isn’t an overnight fix. In fact, many people have to work hard every day not to give in to the temptation of calling yourself a failure and giving up. Instead, you should plan activities that you like every day, even if it is only for 30 minutes. You also want to be mindful of what you are doing and how you are speaking to yourself. The first step to ending the depression is getting rid of self-judgment and being your own best friend. You will get through this if you are able to spot self-doubt and second-guessing for what it is: holding yourself back!
5. Get Healthy Physically
It’s something that always gets thrown in with depression wellness plans, but it’s true. Exercise helps you release anxiety, stress, and dopamine. Studies have shown that physical activity can improve your mood greatly, and the truth is you don’t have to spend an hour walking or cycling on a stationary bike to get it. In fact, just a few minutes a day can help you create healthy habits. For example, what if you decided to jump rope in the morning after breakfast? Perhaps you switched out french fries for a salad, or maybe you start to drink water with every meal. Baby steps are often the best way to go if exercise feels daunting to you.
If you want to feel really good and see changes in your appearance, experts say that moderate exercise five times a week of 30 minutes or more will increase your energy levels, boost your mood, and help you lose weight.
Depression offers a chance to self-reflect, but too much self-reflection just leads to judgment, doubts, regrets, and self-loathing. It’s time to stop these behaviors that won’t help you achieve success. Believe it or not, part of beating depression is knowing that on the other side, there is a version of you that is already living happily and enjoying every day to the fullest extent. This is because depression teaches you that this is unattainable, and yet there it is in your mind every day to torment you with how good things can be.
What if you woke up and that’s just how it was? People start over and reinvent themselves several times throughout their lives. If you need any inspiration, just look at David Bowie before he was famous. He never gave up despite many setbacks at the beginning of his life.