The months of November, December, January and February can be very difficult to get through with the holidays and the shortness of the days. As a result, depression can tend to set in at this time of year. So it is especially important to find ways to deal with depression, especially if those feelings have been caused by something such as a job loss, the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or another disheartening cause.
As someone who in recent years has suffered the loss of my mother, difficulty in establishing a steady career, and having to start over in a new place, I’m no stranger to facing depression. To cope with these feelings I’ve taken to a couple of methods that have helped me a great deal.
First, I’ve turned to creative endeavours, such as this column which has helped me to feel less alone. By reaching out to you through this column makes me feel connected to the world at large and by sharing my thoughts and ideas helps to make me feel that I have a purpose in the world. I’ve always believed one of the central causes of depression are those feelings of being alone and not mattering, so the more I’m able to feel that I matter in some way to the world the more I’ve found it’s helped me. Why not start a blog, it could be anonymous if you like!
The second thing I’ve used is giving myself things to do even if those things are silly or don’t have any important purpose. It can be something as simple as making up a list of errands to go do even if they are not something immediately necessary to be done. By giving myself things to do each day ensures that I have less time to think about all the things that went wrong in my life; introspection can be a good thing, but not when you’re depressed.
A third useful trick I’ve found is getting out amongst people. Whether it’s walking down the street, going to the mall, eating in a food court, the important thing is to just spend time around other people. Just hearing the murmur of other human beings acts as a reminder that on a macro level, I am part of a larger world and out there and amongst that world I may find new people I can connect with. By doing this I avoid staying in my apartment isolated and alone with the belief that I’ve been forgotten by the world.
Another useful idea that has helped is getting out amongst nature. It can be something as simple as walking by the water, strolling through a park, skiing down a hill, or observing some ducks by a pond. Too often I think we forget how much beauty there is in the world and no matter how bad things are that beauty will always be there. It’s just a matter of seeking it out.
As I mentioned before, one of the factors during these months is a lack of sunlight, however by taking something as simple as Vitamin D, some of that can be blunted. Being sunlight gives us Vitamin D, by taking a tablet each day with some of it in it may help lessen the depression you feel. However, make sure to check with your doctor if you’re on medication to ensure it won’t have an adverse effect.
Another thing I recommend to combat depression is to just talk to people. Talk to your friends, family, colleagues, and even new people you meet. If you’re comfortable go talk to a psychologist or a psychiatrist, however, the key is to just talk to people. The topic does not have to involve how you’re feeling or why you’re depressed. The important thing is to just connect to another human being, which in turn will help lessen those depressive thoughts.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Go out and even if it’s a little thing do something nice for you. Even if it’s just buying a new book, getting an ice cream cone, going to the gym, or going to a movie or a show, it’s the smaller things in life that make it worth living. After all if you’re not kind to yourself it’s unlikely that anyone else will be.