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7 Things I'm Doing to Fight Depression

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

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Things can get really, incredibly hard during life, and so often it feels like we’re drowning more than we are actually swimming. But it’s really important to tell ourselves over and over again, even if we don’t believe it, that we’ll be back on the shore soon. Our feet will touch the ground in just a bit or there’ll be a lifesaver on their way.

7 Things I'm Doing to Fight Depression

Sometimes there’s just no getting around the fact that today is a bad day. Nothing isn’t going to make it right no matter how hard you try, and anything anyone tries to say or do is only going to make matters 10 million times worse.

Those days suck. That’s for sure. But sometimes there are ways to make them fewer and fewer. To make them slowly disappear from our lives so that we can eventually enjoy that beautiful, warm, sunshine feeling of joy and happiness, that everyone else seems to have but we just can’t grasp ourselves.

Sounds like magic huh? Trust me, some days it kinda feels like it. Some days they’re perfect and my little fairy wand is in fine working order. Other days, the stupid thing has a flat battery and I can’t find any spares for the life of me. I’ve found though that by making some daily habits I can make the really bad days start getting less and less. It’s a pretty great feeling (until one of them decides to show it’s head!).

So I’d just like to share some of the daily habits that I’ve made, that I really feel have helped me slowly get rid of those horrid bad days.

1. Eating Healthy.

It sounds like a no brainer, something that our mum’s might have tried drilling into our heads since we were young but there’s a reason for it. If I forget to take my vitamins, or not have enough protein or vegetables for a day, sure – not a whole lot changes. If I keep doing it for a week? Even less, 3-4 days? There’s a huge change. I’m so moody and out of sorts, tired and lethargic that I just want to stay in bed for the rest of the day. But I have kids at home – I can’t do that! So my tired grumpy self gets even more tired and grumpy to the point where I’m snapping at my boys for little things and they respond with big innocent eyes that say “but it was ok to do that yesterday?” So seriously start eating some good food guys. There’s sound reasoning behind it!

2. Cut out Caffeine

I think this had the biggest impact on me when I was pregnant with number 3. Compare to the other two it was the pregnancy from hell. So many dramas right in the first trimester and what felt like the whole way through. But I had been told that I needed to stop having coffee and black tea completely as it can be one of the factors in making pre-eclampsia rear it’s head good and proper. Doctors often advise not to have coffee or tea when you’re pregnant just in case it gives bub some health issues later on, and I had listened to this with my first two, but by number 3 I was done with sound advice. I needed that extra adrenaline to just get through the day with a growing baby and two toddlers. So to be told “Nup, not till after baby’s born” was the very last thing I wanted to hear.

But in addition to not aggravating the pre-eclampsia, once the detox period of my beloved caffeine had finished, my mind felt a lot clearer as well. I woke up to a lemon water in the morning instead and found that it not only gave me lasting energy throughout the day, but also cleared up my skin, helped my pregnancy reflux, and I actually slept a lot better at night. Which when you’re a mum is a big thing!

You don’t have to swap that awesome elixir out for the lemon water straight away though, just maybe try an herbal tea instead? Or even just regular water. You’re going to feel like rubbish for a week or so, but after that things really start looking up!

3. Be Picky About Your Friends

Yeah, a bit of a weird one…but I’ve found that since I became a mum my friends that I had been really close with slowly began to lose touch. It still makes me sad to think about, but at the same time I’m grateful for the lessons and the memories.

Lessons, you say? What lessons? Well, there was a time where all that mattered was the number of friends that I had. And it was kind of a big number. But you know that saying “quality not quantity”? Yeah, it applies here too. Especially here! Now that I’m a mum I’ve got maybe 5 good friends. Yep, just 5. These are the people that I can go to and talk about anything with, and I know that they’ll have my back. In saying that, since that my eldest has started school now it's great talking to the other mums. It makes me feel a lot more human, and a lot less of a failure.

A kind of painful lesson I did learn a while ago was that people can come into your life portraying a friend, and they’ll keep that portrayal up for a good while. But it can always turn out to be just a mirage. Something that you wanted to see but wasn’t actually there. It definitely hurts, there’s no getting around that, and a lot of people can get really paranoid about this sort of thing, but it’s still something to remember when you’re meeting someone new. And then on the flip side - just imagine if you never opened yourself up to the possibility of a new friend, yes there might be some hurt but you also might miss out on meeting a beautiful soul.

4. Exercise

Getting your body moving is a good thing. It might feel horrid at the time, but afterwards you’ll be grateful. After baby 3 I’v started up my Yoga again (well, what I call yoga haha!). I’m taking it a bit more seriously this year. My aim is to turn my little daily habit into becoming a fully qualified Yoga Instructor. It’s a strange thing to want, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to at the same time.

So just start with something little; 5 minutes of stretching; a 10 minute walk; or 10 minutes of actual exercise. My yoga session started out as less than 5 minutes to begin with. I’m now up to 15-20minutes. It’s just by taking things easy and then slowly increasing them when you feel like you’re ready for it.

5. Dress Yourself Up

I’ve often felt that how I dress myself in the morning is an outlook on my entire day to come. I might wake up cranky and out of sorts but I know that after I’ve had a quick shower, put on some decent looking clothes and “put on my face”, I’m feeling a bit more ready to tackle the day. I might not go anywhere and most days I don’t, but at least I know that if I had to, I’m dressed and ready for it (just please let the dress code be yoga pants!).

6. No More Drama

When I was growing up I loved watching the crime shows. Bones, Castle, Criminal Minds, CSI, Forensic Investigators – you name it, I’m pretty sure I watched it! It wasn’t until I was in the middle of whoop whoop with my nannying job that I actually stopped watching them. And boy, what a turn around it was. I’ve found that any sort of movie or TV show with a high amount of drama or depressing murder scenes in it really affects my mood. My nemesis at the moment is my box series of Friends. As soon as I get a black mood on, in goes that first disk and I don’t stop until I’ve seen the last one. But the whole time while I’m watching it I’m so grumpy at myself and everyone around me that I just can’t control it.

I’ve found that having stupid comedies is fine. I watch Big Bang Theory a lot more now. Sure it’s on repeat too, and there’s drama involved but it doesn’t seem to get me down the way that Friends does. It’s interesting what can trigger the depression for some people, but for others it’s something completely different. So I’d like to ask you to find some sort of comedy that you can play over and over instead of the drama we get sucked into so easily. There’s enough drama in our real lives at the moment, no need to add in the fake stuff too!

7. Take it easy.

This is my mantra. I’ve been saying it for as long as I can remember and it encompasses so many things. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed I just need to stop and do something meaningless. Gardening used to bug the hell out of me, but now it’s the most soothing, calming thing, and I try to fit in every day where possible.

I think the biggest thing that I’m still learning about being a mum, and becoming my own person again, is forgiving myself. It’s the hardest thing, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll get there. There are so many days where I don’t feel I play enough with my kids, or where I’ve forgotten to take my vitamins and eat good food. Where I’ve forgotten to do some exercise, and where I’ve succumbed and put that first Friends disk on. Some days I beat myself up so badly mentally I’m surprised there aren’t physical bruises showing. But once everything calms down I have to remind myself again that I am enough. I am me and there’s no one else like me in the entire world.

And when I think about that, like properly think about it deeply and meaningfully, it’s pretty darn amazing you know?

Things can get really, incredibly hard during life, and so often it feels like we’re drowning more than we are actually swimming. But it’s really important to tell ourselves over and over again, even if we don’t believe it, that we’ll be back on the shore soon. Our feet will touch the ground in just a bit or there’ll be a lifesaver on their way.

Depression is different for everyone, and we all cope in so many different ways. I hope that some of the ways that I cope with it can help you, and if you’d like to share some of the ways you cope with your depression it would be so great to hear.

Take it easy lovelies,

Ellen x